Annuals, perennials, bulbs, tubers ... Richa Pant in Lucknow educates you on nature's abundant variety.

Gardening requires imagination, planning and hard work. But it is enjoyable work... a labour of love. Each hour of effort you invest in your garden will reward you, your family, and your neighbours with countless hours of enjoyment. Every year your plants and flowers will be bigger and more beautiful. Let's look at the different categories of plants you can choose:

Trees and shrubs
Trees are used for shade and fruit, and as screens and backgrounds. Flowering shrubs provide long-lasting, beautiful blooms - to brighten your landscape. They live for many years.

Examples: Azaleas, cosmos, Japanese maple, lilacs, poplar trees, rhododendrons, roses.

Bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers
Bulbs are underground storage organs of perennials like daffodils and tulips. Tubers are flat underground stems storing food/plant energy, e.g. dahlias. Corms are underground stems producing new roots, leaves and flowers each growing season. Rhizomes are modified plant-stems growing horizontally beneath the soil, e.g. irises.

Examples: Daffodils, dahlias, easter lilies, grape hyacinth, iris, narcissus, tulips.

They add beauty to your indoors.

Examples: African violets, aloe vera, boston fern, cactus, dieffenbachia, palms, rubber plant, spider plants.

Plants can be slotted into many other categories too such as bonsai, herbs, bromeliads, fragrant, cacti, etc.

Perennial plants
These are non-woody plants living for more than a year. They usually produce one or more flower crops each year, which last a week, a month, or longer.

Examples: Chrysanthemum, geraniums, hibiscus, jasmine, lavender, poinsettia, primrose, rosemary.

Vining Plants.
These are climbers.

Examples: Ivy, Morning Glories, Passion Flower.

Annual plants
These have a life cycle of only one year, beginning with the germination of the seed. Then the plant blooms, producing the next generation of seed, after which it dies. Annuals are excellent to create a splash of summer colour in the garden, or for annual baskets.

Examples: Asters, carnations, coleus, morning glory, pansies, violets.

- The writer is a freelancer based in India.