Getting some sun

Hydrangeas need to be in regular sunlight, though plants will wilt if they are in full sun all day. Eastern exposure is best. A good time to transplant is before growth begins in late winter or early spring.

Give the shrub enough space to mature. A big-leaf hydrangea could grow to be about 4 feet high and 6 feet wide. Prune after it flowers. Buds are formed on the previous season's growth. The plant likes moist, well-drained soil high in organic material.

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Lawn time

You don't have to grow golf-course-type turf to keep your patch of property green. Practice safe turf-grass management. Skip steps that create nutrient or pesticide runoff. Mow once a week, using the most environmentally friendly mower you are comfortable with - manual reel type, electric, gas rotary.

Two-cycle mowers that mix gas and oil are the worst polluters. Manually remove actively growing weeds when you see them. Clover makes a handsome lawn, and bees are drawn to it when in flower, but they are beneficial pollinators.

Milk and moss

Buttermilk will encourage moss to grow. Yogurt and manure tea are recommended. Key ingredients for success are misting; a moist, acidic, well-drained site with some shade protection; and a type of moss that likes the site.

There has been so much moisture this growing season that there are verdant expanses of moss. Spraying buttermilk onto moss is the preferred method of application. Dilute it enough to pass easily through sprayer nozzle. Daily misting is recommended for establishment.

Space saver

How do you squeeze a lot of garden out of a small space? And more, a space with a seriously steep slope? Make every inch count. Dana Anderson has been tucking perennials, annuals and roses into window boxes, terraced pots and a tiny patio in Newport Beach, Calif., for more than 28 years.

The front of the property starts with a trim and tidy courtyard garden with topiary shrubs and vines. It's an easy-care entry that complements the English cottage style of the home.

Around back, a narrow patio terraced in two levels is where the Andersons entertain. Instead of one large table, Dana sets a series of bistro tables to accommodate her friends and family.

Then comes the garden proper - all up hill, all packed with roses and perennials that are this floral designer's favorites - hellebores, forget-me-nots, small English daisies and "Bella Portugal" an old-Pasadena rose.

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