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Peonies, begonias and lilies, oh my!

Flowers add so much variety to the landscape, and come in so many beautiful colors, it is sometimes hard to decide what to grow.

Do you want annuals or perennials? A particular color scheme or a patchwork of color? Too many choices, too little time; yet there's always room for one more!

Peonies are one of our best flowering herbaceous perennials. They typically come in red, maroon, pink, white, coral and yellow, and grow three- to four-feet tall with a round shape and lustrous, dark green foliage.

Their flowers are large and fragrant, often blooming in late May or early June.

Peonies do best in full sun but will tolerate some light shade. Tree peonies prefer light shade and a protected location. All types of peonies prefer rich, loamy, well-drained soil, but will tolerate and bloom in a wide range of soil types.

Peonies live for many years in the landscape and for optimal flowering should be placed in a permanent location. If you have a relatively shady spot, you can still have the beauty of begonias.

Tuberous begonias are a tender perennial that are popular for their beautiful flowers that come in a variety of colors and forms. Red, orange, yellow, white, salmon and pink blooms may be single or double and may be plain, ruffled or toothed. Their petals may have margins, crests or blotches of contrasting color.

They bloom throughout the summer, thriving in shady spots where few other plants with showy flowers can grow. They are often used as container plants on patios and porches, in hanging baskets, and as bedding plants.

Choose a site for tuberous begonias that is somewhat protected from wind, where the soil is well-drained, and plants will be shaded during most of the day. Early morning and late afternoon sun will not harm them, but they need good indirect or dappled light at other times.

Lilies are an easy-to-grow, colorful addition to your garden, flowering from mid-June through mid-September. These hardy bulbs require only minimal care and will grow into an attractive group of flowering stems.

True lilies have stiff stems with narrow strap-like leaves all along them. Flowers are large and showy, and may be bowl-shaped, trumpet-shaped, or bell-shaped with petals curled back.

Lilies offer gardeners a great variety in flower form and color, grow best in well-drained soil and need a minimum of eight hours of sun each day to bloom well.