The National Gardening Association has declared April as National Garden Month.

“It’s a great time to add new plants to your landscape,” says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings. “It’s not too late to add trees and shrubs to your landscape. And roses and flowering perennials can be planted during the spring months with good results.”

Gardeners also can add warm-season bedding plants to the landscape or in containers or planter boxes to enhance patios and outdoor living areas.

A new or renovated lawn can be sodded in the spring, he says.

“You can sow seed for a new lawn or a lawn renovation in mid-to-late spring,” says Owings.

Shrubs make up the main background plants for most home landscapes. Many home gardeners plant shrubs during spring because that is when most of us think about gardening, and that is when garden centers have the best availability.

When selecting shrubs recommended for Louisiana, choosing a good-quality plant, following proper planting procedures and providing recommended follow-up care will lead to success, Owings says.

For landscape color, plant warm-season flowers or add perennial flowers that establish well when planted in early to mid spring.

A well-designed landscape most often contains both deciduous and evergreen plants, and seasonal change is accented by using both types.

“You can create or renew a landscape with a variety of plants, employing contrasting plant forms, textures and colors,” Owings says.

Beautiful landscaping increases the value of your home by as much as 20 percent, according to some estimates, he says.

You asked

I was out of town for six days and upon return all of my impatiens in pots are stripped of leaves with wilting stalks. Any idea what happened? Should I replace them with something else? Do you think the soil in the pots should be replaced? Karen

This could have been caused by root rot due to all the rain on April 1. It is also possible this was caused by a disease called impatiens downy mildew. I would not plant impatiens back in the pots. I would switch to other shade-loving bedding plants, such as Kauai torenia, caladiums or the many different kinds of begonias available now. Make sure the pot drainage holes are open and be sure you are using a potting mix that drains well. — LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill

Got a gardening question? Write to GardenNews@agcenter.lsu.edu.