Here are Nancy Reichert-Sisson's tips for everything from controlling weeds to keeping critters at bay:

Mulch heavily. "To control weeds, I mulch everything heavily in spring with ground leaves from the previous fall. When those break down, I add cedar mulch on the spots that aren't covered by the plant foliage," said Reichert-Sisson. "Also, I pull every weed I see as soon as I spot it, so I never have to spend a whole morning weeding."

Rely on foliage for shade. "Since I have so much shade, I use foliage for color. My favorites for foliage are heucheras, which are available now with yellow, purple and pink leaves and myriad shades of green. Japanese painted fern also has great variegated leaves. Hostas come in leaves from dark green to almost white."

Divide to conquer. "The best way to fill up a garden on a budget is by separating and transplanting what you already have. I've had great luck with coneflowers, daylilies, helenium, heliopsis, meadow rue, lamium, coreopsis, bergenia and, of course, hostas."

Keep critters under control. "Because I have so many hostas, slugs are always a problem. I use an organic product called Sluggo to keep them under control. The deer would eat all the hostas if I didn't use a combination of Liquid Fence and hot sauce. I'm not sure which one chases them off."

Bill Ward