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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Want to get your garden growing but you don't know the difference between an annual and a perennial?

Susie Bachman of Bachman's stopped by KARE 11 News @ 4 to showcase some new and cool garden plants and products for this summer.

Susie says annuals are by definition plants whose life cycles only last one year from seed to bloom to seed. Annuals, usually offered for sale in four or six packs, are valued for the color they bring to the garden via blooms. Be sure to select annuals that are appropriate for the amount of sun or shade your garden receives.

The five annuals that Susie showcased are: Begonia, Whopper, a wax begonia with a large, beautiful flower; a Calibrachoa, Pomegranate Punch, which features a fabulous pomegranate color flower with a dark purple center; Calibrachoa, Lemon Slice, which spotlights a lemon yellow and white striped flowers, as well as Petunia, Cha-Ching Cherry, with cherry reddish-pink flower with a yellow star.

Susie also discussed Sunpatiens, which are resistant to downy mildew and are similar to New Guinea impatiens. They can take the sun or light shade, just as the name indicates.

In contrast to annuals, perennials return year after year, growing in size and stature until they reach their full maturity. Perennials can be grown from seed or cuttings. Many perennials can be divided to produce new plants.

Some of the new varieties include Coral Bell, Zipper, whose bright colored ruffled leaves are orange in spring and fall, but amber during the summer. They have good heat and humidity tolerance and will grow 8 to 12 inches.

Another perennial that is always popular are Hostas and this summer's new variety is Cool as a Cucumber. This is a showy cascading clump of green and white variegated foliage that forms a graceful, arching mound.

Another perennial is the Bleeding Heart, Valentine – a new color from an old favorite. Both the stems and the flowers are deeper red than the old-fashioned bleeding heart.

One other new perennial variety is the Panicum Northwind, which is the perennial plant of the year. This features wide blue-green foliage, which makes a strong vertical presence in the garden. It is a vigorous grower that is topped with attractive narrow plumes in September.

Susie also talked about two new varieties of shrubs – the Blomstruck Hydrangea and Strawberry Sundae Hydrangea. The Bloomstruck Hydrangea is a macrophyllia hydrangea with intense rose-pink, violet or blue flower heads that are held upright on striking red-purple stems. The shrub has glossy dark green leaves with red petioles and red veins. The Strawberry Sundae Hydrangea is a paniculata hydrangea. It is a compact hydrangea similar to Vanilla Strawberry with the exception of being smaller in stature. The flowers emerge creamy white, change to pink and finally to strawberry red.

Susie also pointed out two environmentally friendly gardening items – Neptune's Harvest organic fish fertilizer (responsibility harvested) and Purple Cow Activated Compost, an all-plant based compost made in Wisconsin.

Happy Gardening!

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