Perennial: A plant that dies down, endures the winter and grows back bigger than ever in the spring. They can be planted at any time during the growing season. (i.e. Salvia, Black Eye Susan)
Annual: A plant that lives and dies in one growing season and must be replanted every year. (i.e. Impatiens, Petunias)
Biennial: A plant that takes two years to complete its life cycle, then dies. (i.e. Foxglove, Hollyhock)
Deciduous Shrubs: Shrubs that lose all of their leaves for part of the year.
Evergreen Shrubs: Green foliage is persistent year round, evergreen shrubs are either broadleaf or needle. An example of broadleaf would be Boxwood an example of needle would be a Yew.
Cold Hardiness Zone: Hardiness refers to the ability of a plant to survive winters in a particular area. The USDA has separated the United States into 11 distinct zones ("USDA Hardiness Zones"), and the New England states contain regions in zones 3 to 7. Always select plants rated hardy for your zone. Areas placed in a higher USDA Hardiness Zone experience warmer average winter temperatures, though this says nothing about summer temperatures. Click here to go to the USDA interactive map.
Full sun: At least 6 full hours of direct sunlight. Many sun lovers enjoy more than 6 hours per day, but need regular water to endure the heat. (i.e. Coreopsis, Dianthus)
Partial Sun / Partial Shade: These 2 terms are often used interchangeably to mean 3 - 6 hours of sun each day, preferably in the morning and early afternoon. However if a plant is listed as Partial Sun, greater emphasis is put on its receiving the minimal sun requirements. If a plant is listed as Partial Shade, the plant will need some relief from the intense late afternoon sun, either from shade provided by a nearby tree or planting it on the east side of a building. (i.e. Ladyís mantle, Jacobís ladder)
Full Shade: Less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day, with filtered sunlight during the rest of the day. Full shade does not mean no sun. There aren't many plants, except mushrooms, that can survive in the dark. (i.e. Hosta, Fern)
Compost: An organic material rich in humus that is formed by decomposed plant material and other organic matter and is effective as a soil conditioner.
Mulch: A material that is applied to the soil surface to discourage weed growth, help retain moisture in the soil and maintain uniform root temperature, some materials used as mulch include, manure, bark and pine needles.