As people spend more time in their yards the following tips should help with gardening, landscaping and more this spring and summer:

Grow a garden, save money

It's not too late to plant a veggie garden. Even if you don't have a lot of space, you can still grow crops in one easy to assemble permanent planter boxes made from pavers.

You can start tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, cucumbers, melons, herbs and "Fat Boy" okra - our special variety. Also, we have B2 potting soil, tools and everything you need to "reap what you sow!"

Color your landscape

Blooming shrubs and trees are an amazing addition to home landscapes. Your yard is a living, changing environment and blooming plants refresh and brighten the area as the seasons change.

Color in your landscape adds drama, interest, and excites the senses and emotions. Color combinations can evoke tranquility or excitement, or bring to mind your favorite painting or a scene from your favorite vacation.

And because you can choose plants to bloom at varying times of the year, you can alter your landscape scenery many times throughout the year, simply by your initial choice of plant material.

Concentrate your color choices on colors you love and love seeing in combination. And don't forget that the foliage is a color, too.

The Palo Verde is a tree that has lots of character with a green trunk and yellow flowers. Around that tree, you could combine colors by using blooming shrubs like the Ruellia that blooms purple or "Dallas Red" Lantana.

Another choice is Chaparral Sage, which is spectacularly purple or Spanish Lavender that also blooms purple with silvery green foliage that would contrast strikingly with the bright green trunk of the Palo Brea tree.

Good design also uses a blend of textures, size, scale and color to make an attractive flow to the landscape.

Microclimate important to blooming

Be sure to pay attention to practical considerations as well, not forgetting that the plants will have to live in the area they're being planted in. I often refer to this as choosing the right plant for the existing microclimate.

In the example of the Palo Brea, the microclimate is likely one of partial sun because the tree will need to be planted in full sun but has a open canopy that filters the sun so the under-story or mid-story plants (plants that live under the canopy of the tree) will actually have lower light, UV and temperature.

Trees, shrubs that bloom

Many homeowners want to know what plants bloom when and what microclimates they are suited for to help them choose material for their planter beds.

We have developed a guide to do just this. The Blooming Shrubs and Trees Guide can be accessed This guide will assist in choosing the right plant for the actual microclimate so it will bloom in the correct time of the year.

If a plant does not have enough light, it will affect the blooming. This is a partial list of plants that bloom throughout summer and that also do well in our arid climate. Be aware that some of these plants may also bloom at another time of year as well. For example, a rose bush will bloom in spring and fall.

Some shrubs that bloom in April and throughout summer include: Arizona Yellow Bells, Ruellia, Salvia, Cape Honeysuckle, Lantana, Red Yucca, Lavender, Sage, Hibiscus, shrub variety Bougainvillea, Sapphire Showers, Lavender Star Flower, Oleander, Orange Jubilee, Bird of Paradise, Turk's Cap, Pomegranate and Roses.

Some trees that bloom throughout summer include: Acacias, Palo Blanco, Orchid Tree, Palo Verde, Desert Willow, Jacaranda, Feather Bush, Texas Ebony, Mesquites, Yellow Oleander, Pink Trumpet Tree and Chaste Tree.

So, dine on the food you've grown amidst the beauty of your blooming shrubs and trees. Choose colors and flavors you love and enjoy your outdoor living. For more information, call (602) 437-0700 or visit

• Gary and Sharon Petterson own Gardener's World and Gardener's Eden Landscaping in Phoenix, 3401 E. Baseline Road. Reach them at (602) 437-0700. For the nursery, call (602) 437-2233 or visit, and for landscaping, visit

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