Get Free Help Preparing Your Taxes From AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location

Introducing RealPad

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

Celebrate Black Life, History, and Culture!



You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation



Renew for 3 and attend Life at 50+ for free



Life at 50+ - Discover. Engage. Enjoy.





Life at 50+ - Register for the Digital Experience



Happy African American couple







AARP Auto Buying Program



AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy






Military and Veterans Discount




New Book

Dating After 50: How to get back in the game

Dating After 50 For Dummies

Contests and

AARP’s Superstar
2015 Contest

Sing for a chance to win $5,000! Enter AARP’s Superstar 2015 Contest!
See official rules


Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.


Home & Community Webinars

Family & Caregiving Webinars

Popular Articles



AARP Games - Play Now!

Poll: Are You a Real Techie?

Tips to Help Your Garden Grow

And save you time and money

As your spring bulbs bloom, mark their location on a sketch or plan of the garden, so you don't plant annuals or new perennials on top of them. While you're scouting, look for areas you can redesign for low maintenance. Consider planting shrubs, ground covers or ornamental grasses to cut down on lawns and flower borders.

"It's very easy to mix and match plants — perennials, small shrubs and fast-spreading annuals for a full effect that not only shades out many weeds, but also makes everything look cottagelike," says Felder Rushing, author of the forthcoming Slow Gardening: A No-Stress Philosophy for All Senses and Seasons.

Sharpen and prune

Some plants — ornamental grasses, roses, spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia and lilacs — need pruning in the spring. Cut out all dead, diseased and damaged limbs, says Cayleb Long, curator of the annual and perennial borders at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. But don't overdo. "You don't have to prune everything into tight. meatballs or gumdrop shapes," says Rushing. "Allow some shrubs to grow out into their natural shape." 

Before you wield the clippers, sharpen your tools: You won't have to make multiple cuts on a branch, and you'll get fewer blisters and backaches, says Nardozzi. The most basic sharpening tool is an 8-inch-long flat file available at any hardware store for about $8 to $10. Look for one with a handle to make using the file easier, and consider wearing goggles and gloves to avoid flying bits of metal. And don't forget lawnmower maintenance. "The best thing you can do for your lawn is to get the blades of your lawnmower serviced," says Myers. "Mowing will be easier, the lawn will look nicer and you'll use less gas."

A planting we will go

Plant perennials now so they'll be established by summer, and need less watering. If you want to skip the step of starting your annual and vegetable seeds indoors — and the accompanying financial outlay for peat pots, trays and lights — you can sow them directly into the ground at about the same time you would transplant the seedlings that matured in your basement. Wait until after there's no danger of night frost that can wreak havoc on the seeds even if the days are warm, which can be any time between mid-February and mid-June, depending on where you live. Sow in staggered rows and space the seeds as the packet suggests, so the plants can grow into a denser cover, keeping weeds down. Before you plant, check weather forecasts for the coming week to avoid a surprise frost. Nor are windy days ideal for planting: The seeds may scatter. 

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

membership ancestry

Members save 30% on  a one-year subscription to

Grocery Coupon Center

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by

Member Benefits Discounts Angie's List

Members can save 25% to 45% on their Angie's List membership.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.