Spring officially arrived when the Vernal Equinox took place on March 20. Have you been out weeding and planting in your garden?

My azaleas bloomed and looked just magnificent. I am going to look into the new encore azaleas that bloom more than once a year.

Azaleas are hearty enough that they do fine at my house, some other plants don't. I just planted some canna lily bulbs, which I hope will bloom this season. My hibiscus plants look wan, I hope they will bloom. Beautiful flowers require fertilizer and good soil, both can be purchased at a nursery.

Most flowering plants, petunias, poppies, begonias, roses and so on, need to be "deadheaded." Deadheading is the process of cutting or pinching off the dead flower just above a nice, green leaf, so that the plant doesn't begin to make seeds. Once the plant makes seeds, the blooms will stop. By deadheading a plant you will prolong the flowering process and have beautiful flowers to make your garden gorgeous.

Do you love vegetables? We can grow many vegetables in our area. If you don't want to plant them in the ground, plant them in pots and containers. Plants in containers can be easier to weed, fertilize and pick when ripe.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, snap beans, carrots, radishes, different varieties of squash, chard, lettuce, cilantro, bell peppers, onions, egg plant and many others will do very well in containers.

Make sure your pot or container is large enough for soil and your plants, and allows for drainage.

Make sure that there are holes in the bottom of your pots. Put a coffee filter or piece of screen over the drainage holes in your pot to keep in your soil. Add some small gravel to help with drainage, then fill with good potting soil and plant your seeds or plants adding more soil if necessary.

You want your soil to be about an inch from the top of your container and cover the roots. Make sure you buy a quality potting soil such as Miracle-Gro.

Keep the plants watered, as containers dry out more quickly than plants in the ground. Don't over water. Fertilization is also required. Use the correct fertilizer, or ask at the garden nursery if you are unsure what to use.

Enjoy your home-grown vegetables.

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.