A garden without flowers is not much of a garden. You can get a lot of colors without spending much money. But as usual, you need to get the basics right if you want to enjoy your flowers.
Flowers can be divided into annuals and perennials. Annuals only last one season while perennials survive for several years, in some cases even for decades.
So why would anyone plant annuals? After all, next year you have to start all over again. Annuals give you a lot of colors for the money. They are tough and go from seed to full-grown plant very quickly. Note that some annuals are perennial in some regions. But they don’t survive the winter in colder regions.
Obviously, your location determines what annuals you can use. Summers in the south are too hot for many cool-season annuals and northern summers may not be warm enough for warm-weather annuals.
You can buy annuals as seeds or nursery starts. Seeds are cheaper and you can get large quantities cheap. It is easier to buy nursery starts but also they need a fair bit of attention in the beginning. Most annuals are low maintenance plants but you should still check their preferences to give them best prospects.
Fertilizer will help but is seldom necessary. Note that if you have poor soil, you can cheat and plant the annuals in containers. Annuals only have one big drawback, next year you have to start all over again.
Perennials are a better long-term solution than annuals. Most perennials require a little bit more maintenance than annuals but you don’t need to start from scratch every year. Good perennials last for years so you should plan a little bit more than when dealing with annuals. Also bear in mind that while many annuals bloom all summer long, most perennials only bloom for a week or two.
While annuals are often grown from seeds, perennials are often clones that produce no useful seeds. Perennials can be most of the year but you should avoid planting them when it is very cold or very hot. Spring and fall are the safest times for planting perennials.
Roses are amongst the most popular flowers and although they require a fair bit of maintenance, they are worth the extra hassle. Just make sure that you buy roses that are suitable for your climate. Also make sure that the roses have plenty of space, if everything goes well they grow a lot.
Bulbs are a good solution if you want flowers with magnificent colors. Although bulbs require more than just planting them and then forgetting them, they need very little maintenance. They also provide some of the earliest flowers. When buying bulbs, try always to buy high quality bulbs, poor bulbs often give poor results.
One problem with bulbs grown in containers is that they seldom survive the blooming cycle. You need a large container so that the bulbs can go through their dormancy and remain in good health.