Expand your color awareness. Green is not the only color option for leaves, but all those shades of green make a good backdrop for the red trees and shrubs dotting the landscape. Japanese maples, red Norway maples, ornamental plums, and copper beeches are really having their day right now, contrasting sharply. Smaller shrubs like barberries make the same loud statement, only down lower.

Deal with the mosquitoes. If you haven’t already done this, get out there and start emptying things after every rain, and I mean every rain. Three days and an ounce of water is all it takes for those bloodsuckers to reproduce.

Visit someone else’s garden. Sure, YouTube is great, but there’s really nothing like going out and seeing up-close-and-personal what other people have done in their gardens. Of course you don’t have to go to such ridiculous lengths as I have, hopping on an airplane to visit gardens in New Orleans; closer to home will show you plants that will survive in your own backyard or garden. Always carry plastic bags with you when you visit, as gardeners tend to be very friendly people and might offer to give you a cutting or a slip or even let you dig up a small piece of something you like.

Watch for baby toads. If you live anywhere near a body of water, keep an eye out for baby toads. Adults headed to the water to breed in March and April, so the resulting offspring should be headed by the thousands in the opposite direction any day now. Although these tiny creatures eat stuff so small you can’t even see it, they will grow along with their appetites, and they keep the bug population in our gardens remarkably low.

Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (phsonline.org) and winner of the AHS Great American Gardener Jane L. Taylor award.