Written By: Mark Larose from Garden State Growers “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”……Charles Dickens Quoting such a famous author may seem an odd way to begin a blog on gardening, but as the weather is finally changing, I do believe that we are ready for the Best Of Times for Spring 2014. By now your clean up should be complete and if you haven’t put out your garden gnomes, and birdbaths, make some time this weekend. Your soil should be prepped as detailed in my earlier blogs, and planting should be done according to the zone you live in and what you want to see growing this season. The month of May is upon us and the words for the season are color, color, color! First, let me suggest looking around for color planters and pots that can accentuate your garden or balcony. There are a variety of shapes and sizes to choose from. Now, what to put into them? Since it’s been colder, later in the season, I’m going with some Siberian Blue Grass, Clematis, and Purple Sensation, which is one of the Spring blooming ornamental onions. Snapdragons and Iris are a good tag along also. Including some vegetables or even strawberries can make your garden productive and beautiful at the same time. Remember that it’s your garden. There are no rules for your design, as it’s only limited to your own creativity. Also, lavender is very poplar this year and will add some wonderful scents to your garden on those warm days filled with gentle breezes. Ahhhhh……. Speaking of popular plants, have you considered, dare I say, critter prevention? Deer, rabbits and chipmunks are only a few of the potential problems. If you are a first season gardener, find out which of these potentially destructive animals live in your neighborhood and be proactive. Fences and repellents can help, but choosing plants and flowers that are less tasty is also an option. Doing your homework now can help with future enjoyment of your garden, and less frustrations. Lastly, have you chosen your ground cover? So many people seem to overlook the beauty and need for these hardy plants. Myrtle, ivy and pachysandra are great choices. I’ve seen a few gardens where some folks even used saxifraga as a filler plant, in place of some ground cover. Think outside of the box! Remember that gardening is a wonderful family tradition for many. If you have children, consider including them in this seasons planting. Remember to take pictures of your garden for Facebook and show it off to your friends. Either way, have fun. Happy Gardening!