Tips from Alice Menge:

• For spring, think small: “I love spring bulbs, but planting them under a large maple with a root system like a loofah is not a task I want to do each year. So I rely on Siberian squill, crocus and very early narcissus that will bloom before the maple fully leafs out.”

• Cut and mate: “If I’m looking for plants to fill a specific spot, I’ll sometimes take along cuttings or blossoms from neighboring plants so that I can see how the textures or blossom color will work with the new plants I purchase.”

It’s not the heat, it’s … : “It seems to me that our climate has become more humid, and some plants that did well in my garden a decade or two ago no longer work. So I took out a dwarf blue spruce and Winnipeg Parks shrub rose because they don’t do well in high humidity.”

• Stay in your zone: “I like the Black Beauty elderberry because it gives me the texture of a Japanese maple without the concerns for hardiness.”

• Try alternatives to mulch in shady spaces: “Mulch doesn’t work well in the shade garden because it harbors slugs, and we have an overabundance of earthworms in that section that ingest the mulch almost as fast as I put it down. So I under-plant the hostas and shrubs with moneywort and violets.”

Bill ward