If you are a true novice when it comes to gardening, here are a few basic terms to get familiar with this fall.
Plant Hardiness Zones: There are nine zones in Canada ranging from the harshest “0” to the mildest “8” and each zone is further subdivided into “a” and “b”. Plants are labeled based on their hardiness zones 0 through 8. When selecting your plants, choose those that fall within the planting zone for your area or slightly colder. For example, in zone 6, plants ranging from zones 4 to 6 are able to survive over the winter months however, a zone 8 plant may not be hardy enough to withstand the colder temperatures.
Growing season: In temperate places, where summers are warm and winters cold, the growing season is based on the average number of days between spring’s last frost and autumn’s first severe frost.
Annuals: These are wonderfully versatile plants that come in a wide range of colours and varieties. They can make a dramatic impact in your garden, adding splashes of colour where you want it. Annuals live for one growing season, typically spring through summer.
Biennials: These are flowering plants with a life cycle of two years. Under extreme climate conditions they may be considered annuals.
Perennials: A plant that lives more than two years. Most perennials have a one to two month blooming period, but their greenery will stay alive through the growing season.
Hardy perennials: These plants live several years and winter won’t kill them! Examples of very hardy perennials include Basket of Gold, Monkshood, Bleeding Heart and Veronica.
Bulbs: An onion-shaped portion of some plants that is planted underground. During the growing season its leaves and flower buds grow above ground.
Evergreens: Trees and plants that don’t lose their leaves during the winter. Evergreens add interest and structure to the garden year round. They can also be used to mask hard to remove, undesired items on your property, like chainlink fences.
Shrubs: Woody plants, similar to, but smaller than trees. Just like evergreens, shrubs bring interest and structure to the garden.