Get the biggest bang for your buck. Know what to look for when buying flowers and vegetables by checking the growing conditions in your garden. Then, choose plants with the most stems. Annual flowers and vegetables may have more than one seedling per pot. You can separate these carefully before planting. If they're too pot-bound, with roots about to burst from the container, plant as is, then snip and discard any shoots that are crowded in. Perennials, on the other hand, are a bit more forgiving. Even if they're pot-bound, you can divide enough shoots to give you two plants for the price of one.

Refresh perennials by dividing them every three to four years. The earlier in spring you do this, the easier it is for the plants to recover. First, dig up each plant with a pointed shovel, going deep and wide enough to get plenty of roots and shoots. Once the plant is out of the ground, divide it into two or more clumps. Use your hands if the root mass is loose, and a shovel or pickax if dense and thick. To replant, dig a hole four to six inches deeper and 12 inches wider than the root mass. Add a handful of organic fertilizer to the hole and cover with an inch or two of soil to avoid burning the roots. Center the plant in the hole. Add soil around and on top of the roots, firming the soil as you go. See to it that the perennial's crown (where the stems come out of the ground) is even with the ground around it when you are finished. Water thoroughly.

Deadhead spent bulb flowers. This garden task allows bulb leaves to store food for next year's flowers at the same time the leaves are turning yellow. To deadhead properly, cut off the flower and its swollen base (the ovary where seeds develop). Permit the leaves to remain until they turn yellow and wither, and then cut everything to the ground.

Patricia Schrieber is director of education for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) (www.phsonline.org), and co-owner of Valentine Gardens (www.valentine-gardens.com).