Joel in the Garden: Color is arriving

      Watch Joel in the Garden on KMTR NewsSource16 at 6 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Thursdays

      EUGENE, OreWith even more daylight and average temps in the 60s, it's a good time of year to start dressing up your yard. But backyard doesn't have to mean back-breaking.

      Some of the first color of the season is returning to Roland and Luba Jillings' backyard in west Eugene. "Absolutely. It gives you hope and a promise," Jillings said.

      The Jillings combine beauty and bounty in their sprawling terrace. In their raised beds are strawberries and room for vegetables. "It's easier to deal with when you're taking care of it during the summer time," Jillings said. "You don't bend that much."

      Around the rest of the yard, you'll find pruned raspberries, blueberries and rosebushes. "It's like the old saying, 'spare the rod, spoil the child', it's the same with roses. Spare the pruners and you've spoiled the rose," Roland said.

      Watering may not be a chief concern just yet, but it will be within the next few months. And what Jillings has installed is a series of soaker hoses snaking throughout his entire flower bed, along with drip lines feeding each larger perennial, such as his rosebushes. "Specific plants need a little bit more water than that, so then you run in parallel with the drip lines," Roldand said.

      The hose system will save the Jillings hours' worth of watering time every week. While the Jillings yard is looking pristine, the yard behind KMTR leaves a bit to be desired. So I'm adding a few pansies for a splash of color. "Those are the ones you get the biggest bang for your buck. Something that'll bloom from spring through fall. And it adds a lot of color to the area," Stuart Leaton said. Leaton is the general manager at Gray's Garden Center in Eugene.

      It's also not too late to plant a few potted blueberries. Since they grow best in acidic soil, you can add a mixture of compost and sawdust to the soil. "The bloom cycle really is all about the same. When they do cross pollinate, it gives you a little sweeter berry. It gives you more variety to choose from," Leaton said.

      A sweeter reward that will come later. But there's still time to get a few in the ground.