Outdoor work spaces don't need to be dull. I set my proteges to work giving my potting shed and surrounding area a makeover.

In this fairly shady spot, they created groupings of container plants and hanging baskets to brighten the area and relieve the boredom of the work space and tool storage. The sizes of the pots vary and so do the contents.

On an old kitchen table, the plants they used included dracaena, red begonias, coral impatiens, sweet potato vine, bloodleaf and golden creeping Jenny. The emphasis is on interesting foliage combinations. Pots of succulents fill the half-open drawers of the table.

The plants decorating the potting shed itself include spider plants, bloodleaf, red begonias and creeping Jenny. Once again, the leaves are just as important as the flowers.

I'm proud of their design and planting skills. Their work illustrates that every nook and cranny of an outdoor space can be transformed with container plantings.

In the garden, where things are happening so fast, two of the standouts include the bluebells and bridal veil spirea.

If you've visited England in the spring, you may have seen the carpets of bluebells carpeting woodland areas. We can grow bluebells too, although the Spanish bluebells perform better here. They are nearly identical. Plant the bulbs in the fall in a shady area. They thrive and multiply indefinitely.

Residents of older neighborhoods are enjoying the stunning show of bridal veil spirea. This old-fashioned shrub produces so many tiny white flowers in May that the leaves are almost completely obscured. Bridal veil looks best if you don't prune it so that you get the full, billowing effect.