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Plant Definitions

A perennial plant lives from year to year sometimes known as herbaceous perennials. These are non woody plants that have soft green foliage dying back into the ground and laying dormant.  During winter they store their energy in their roots then emerge in spring with fresh lush green foliage. Each of these plants get bigger year on year and have a specific flowering period.  They build their energy throughout the year to store in the roots for over wintering, unlike annual plants that bloom continually throughout summer then die. Some perennial plants are short lived such as Lupins and Digitalis these freely sow seed creating new plants if left, others such as Rudbeckia, Echinacea, and Leucanthemum have roots that spread out and need to be divided every three years to ensure the plants stay in good condition and blooming well also creating new plants. The plants soon become established and are reasonably low maintenance if they have been planted to fill a bed or border they will suppress weeds, however weeding does have to be done until the beds fill out, feeding with a slow release fertiliser in spring is also recommend.

A shrub has several woody stems and remains above ground level during winter they are dormant during winter and start to burst in to life as the weather starts to warm up in early spring. They can be large or small and bring not only structure and a frame work to a garden they can offer year round interest, colour, scent, beautiful flowers, colourful foliage and fruits they also give shelter and a valuable food source to a wide range of wildlife the back bone of a garden.

Evergreen shrubs retain their leaves during winter providing year round interest. Deciduous shrubs loose their leaves over winter many provide interesting autumn colour.

Semi - evergreen shrubs will keep their leaves during winter but if the temperature does drop they will loose their leaves.

Container grown shrubs can be planted any time of the year although spring through to autumn is ideal as the ground is warm, bare root shrubs are available from late October when the plants are dormant and are usually excellent value for money if planting hedges or large areas. Always ensure that the ground isn't frozen or waterlogged at the time of planting. Many shrubs are low maintenance however they do require a certain amount of pruning to keep the plant healthy and productive and to keep their shape feeding with a general purpose feed in late winter is also recommended.

Sub Shrubs
A sub shrub is a small low growing woody shrub that has soft herbaceous foliage that dies back over winter. Many Herbs are classed as sub shrubs as are plants such as Lavenders and Helianthemum these plants should be lightly pruned in spring or after flowering making sure only the foliage is trimmed and the woody stems are not cut down.

Biennial Plants
A biennial plant will take up to two years to complete its growing cycle growing and producing flowers. During the first year the plants grow roots and leaves before going dormant over winter then produce flowers during the second year followed by seed.

An Annual plant completes it life in one season.  They are grown from seed producing an abundance of flowers before they die. These plants are useful for instant colour, summer and winter bedding displays and filling gaps in borders in between shrubs and perennials.

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"What is a perennial? where is the best place to grow a shrub? Explanations of a variety of plants and seed. "