The phrase “April showers bring May flowers” has never seemed to ring so true as this year. After a roller coaster spring that started late due to February’s bitter cold, then raced ahead during a warm, pleasant March, only to grind to a halt with a cool, wet April, it’s finally time to enjoy blue skies and great weather for planting just about anything. As you spend time outside this month, here are a few tips and plants you might want to make space for in your planters and flowerbeds.

First, whether you’re starting with an empty backyard in a new home or making work of replanting existing flowerbeds this spring, trees are the backbone of any landscape. One tree I’ve fallen in love with is ‘Celestial Shadow’ dogwood. This dogwood provides three seasons of interest, beginning in spring with green leaves edged with wide yellow margins. After the leaves emerge, bright white flowers take center stage in late spring. Throughout summer, enjoy the brilliant color of the variegated leaves, and watch the yellow edges gradually change to fluorescent pink in autumn before dropping. Topping out at around twenty feet tall and fifteen feet wide, this tree is truly a showstopper!

Second, if the structure of your garden is complete, or you simply don’t have room for a tree, perennials are great fillers for gardens. This spring, as you replace plants that died this winter, check out ‘Mahogany Monster’ heuchera. This impressive new variety of coral bells has huge mahogany-red leaves, each growing up to six inches wide—nearly twice the size of many other heuchera varieties. The plant itself can grow to as much as eighteen inches tall and three feet wide and thrives in full sun to full shade.

Third, no yard is complete without annuals—even the most floriferous perennial can’t compete with the flower power annuals offer. As you fill your pots with flowers for summer, don’t miss out on the Superbells Punch Series calibrachoa from Proven Winners. Each of the colors in this collection has a pattern with a distinct dark center to each bloom, creating a dramatic contrast with the brighter colors around the edge of the bloom. Two of my favorites are ‘Pomegranate Punch,’ with a rich red coloration, and the new ‘Tangerine Punch,’ which boasts tangerine-orange flowers with a burnt-orange center. With self-deadheading flowers that bloom until autumn frost, calibrachoa are a no-brainer for any planter in sun or partial shade.

If interesting flower patterns are your thing, have you checked out ‘Pink Sky’ petunia yet? With hot pink flowers that show off a pattern of white speckles, spots and blotches, ‘Pink Sky’ produces ever-changing blooms that are sure to catch the eye. Plant in hanging baskets or in the ground and let the trailing, spreading growth habit fill up your garden with no deadheading needed.

Finally, as you plant your garden, pots and landscape this spring, be sure to use the right soil for the job. A high-quality potting soil like Black Gold is essential for happy flowers in containers. For most applications, we recommend Black Gold Natural & Organic mix; or, if you could use help keeping up with watering, choose Black Gold Moisture Supreme, which has coconut coir added to help hold moisture and reduce the need to water as frequently. For in-ground plantings, potting soil or compost can be used as an amendment for existing soil to help improve drainage in clay soils or retain moisture in sandy ground.

This time of year, it’s simply a delight to be outside and watch things grow. Enjoy planting, nurturing, and watching your new garden treasures thrive!