The weather this month has gone back and forth — cool to warm and then back to cool.

As for the wind, all I can say is, “wow.” It’s shaping up to be an early spring, it seems. And that means it’s time for planning, prepping and planting.

My perennials are coming back to life and I’m already thinking about adding new species to my landscaping. But before getting too excited about planting, you have to plan.

Look at your flower beds and pay attention to plants and their conditions. How many need pruning or pulling up? Do you recognize what plants you have? Do you remember if any plants were crowded last summer? Is there a sufficient number of evergreen plants for year-round interest? Are there empty spots with no signs of life? Answering these questions will help you plan for the upcoming growing season.

Prepping is the foundation to a successful growing season. If you loosen the soil, add organic material such as compost, and clear out dead material and leaves from the base of perennials trying to come up, you’ll increase your chances of having a healthy and vibrant landscape.

Label plants as they come up so you can remember what you have.

Planting is one of the last things you will do to finalize your beds.

Finding hardy, healthy specimens is important. Plant nurseries are getting in their spring inventory so be patient and wait to find the plants that will work for your property.

Native plants are the best for long-term success. Read labels to know which varieties will fit in the space you have allotted.

Predetermine what colors you are looking for as well as height, width and water requirements.

Watch for local garden club plant sales and you will be helping these nonprofit groups financially support their causes.

They also provide informational classes and instruction and have knowledgeable volunteers on hand.

The Bell County Master Gardeners will have a plant sale from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 23 at the Bell County Extension office, 1605 N. Main St. in Belton. The sale is guaranteed to have a variety of native and adapted plants, just right for this area. There will be shrubs, trees, low-growing perennials, vegetables, roses and herbs, as well as instructional classes for the whole family. For more, go to

Let’s get to planning, prepping and planting.

Darla Menking is a certified Bell County Texas Master Gardener and a Texas Master Naturalist. Email her at

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