It's getting closer to "spring" so there is soooo much to do before perennials wake from their winter slumber and it is time for the beautiful annuals.
Perennials are plants that return every year....annuals are just what it says...annual. You have to plant them every year. Over the years I filled my beds with perennials (hostas, liriope, vinca minor) and have plant most of my annual flowers into pots and containers.
But before they wake or I can plant, there is much to be done! This year I put compost in the beds. Many people don't realize that most cities actually sell or give away compost. It pays HUGE to check with your city and see if they provide compost soil. I bought a truck load for $20 just for showing proof that I am a resident. That is MAJOR cheap compared to buying it by the bag. I try to put compost in my beds about every other year...just to enrich the soil.
I also buy all my mulch in bulk, by the trailer or truck load. Today I paid $25 a yard for mulch. (A pickup will hold 1-2 yards)
Now here is where I will give gardening advise...skip the pretty red or black mulches. Years ago my impatiens would grow to 2-3' tall...absolutely beautiful. About 6 years ago they really started struggling and I started having trouble with "crown rot" on my beloved hostas. After a little research I found that many gardeners were pointing the finger at the "dyed" mulches that are so popular. Seems it MAY have an adverse affect on the soil, which in turn affects the smaller annual plants and possibly the tender perennials like hostas. So now I stick to straight up natural cedar mulch. To each his own, but honestly, I'm not taking any chances. And since I witnessed a significant problem with my plants since I started using red mulch, I decided not to risk it again.
It is still too early to put tender annuals in the ground, but it is NOT too early to start preparing your beds! Get busy!
And don't forget...pots and containers are a great way to add a little color to your yard, big or small, without a lot of work or maintenance!