Watering can

That quaint metal object you thought good only for holding silk flowers needs to be taken down from its decorative shelf. The watering can is now one of your most efficient allies in the fight to save your plants during drought, able to deliver a reviving gulp of water to plants in greatest need.

Before modern irrigation systems for watering lawns and gardens, even centuries before the basic garden hose was attached to an outdoor faucet, the watering can was the main water-distribution system.

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Every gardener had one, or something like it, to water plants and crops during dry spells. Don't forget to check the shed or garage; you might find the old watering can you haven't used in years.

Rosemary's use

We are creatures of preconceived ideas. One of the most common is that food gardens must be separate areas of tidy rows and conventional crops. Sadly, that image doesn't fit into many urban backyards. When it comes to gardening, you are only limited by your imagination.

One solution is to choose useful ornamentals over decorative plants. A good example of this mindset is rosemary. This culinary herb is a beautiful drought-resistant shrub that makes a lovely small hedge or groundcover. It offers delightful blue flowers in the spring that draw bees with nectar. The foliage is legendary, used in many kitchen recipes, but it can also be steeped into a potent tea.

Spring wreath

A grapevine is an excellent base for a wreath for any season.

You generally want some of the grapevine to show, so you rarely need tons of items to attach to it. Buy a few greens or flowers, a focal piece and another item or two of interest and you're done. A spring wreath can be made in any color you like and with whatever spring icons or theme you want.

Start by trimming down the stems of the small flowers and greens you are going to add. Determine the location of the flowers and greenery and weave them into the grapevine wreath. This will hold the stems in place nicely.

Online resource

If you need a refresher course on basic home maintenance, go to HGTV.com's new "Spring Projects Made Easy" Web package. You'll find a downloadable form listing basic spring home-maintenance tasks, including checking gutters, roofs, exterior paint and air conditioners.

The package includes videos demonstrating how to clean windows and screens and how to clean the deck. You'll also find stories on how to build a fire pit, how to start a butterfly garden and other springlike backyard projects.

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