When the straw mulch around shrubs turns gray, or when you turn it over and the stringy, white mycelium are everywhere, it's long overdue for a replacement. Rake the mulch out of the bed, chop it up, and add it to the compost with lots of grass clippings. Replace with a fresh layer of pinestraw.
Stop Camellia Dieback
If whole limbs of sasanqua camellias have turned brown, the leaves hanging on and turning tan, they probably have a syndrome called dieback. To rejuvenate your camellia, prune the affected limbs and fertilize two or three times this year to encourage new growth. If more than half the plant is dead, replace it.
Check in the mulch near your Oregon grape plants (Mahonia) to find seedlings to transplant. Cut a circle around the baby grape plants with a shovel and lift the plant out, holding the rootball on the blade of the shovel to keep the plant as intact as possible. Replant immediately.
Make a Tepee Trellis
Cut long poles of bamboo, strip them of leaves, and use three to make a trellis for pole beans, cucumbers, or even climbing roses. Make a sharply slanted cut on the bottom of the pole so it goes into the ground easily and lash the three poles together with nylon cord at the top.
Getting Ready to Plant
There's a great old story about a farmer who took off his pants to sit in the soil each spring. If his bare buttocks could sit comfortably, it was time to plant. Wait until the night temperatures are above 60oF. The soil should then be warm enough to transplant tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. This way you can keep your pants on.