Now that the weather prognosticating woodchuck has issued his verdict on winter, we can all calm down and use the extra couple of weeks to contemplate our summer garden plans and projects.

Sprucing up patio or garden furniture might be on that list. And, right on cue, we’ve got a perky, cheerful Pantone Color of the Year to consider. How about a fresh coat of paint in very peri, a perfect combination of blue and purple. This is going to be a color which we can expect to see a lot of this year — both inside our homes and outside in our gardens. Here’s what Pantone has to say about very peri:

“Displaying a carefree confidence and a daring curiosity that animates our creative spirit, inquisitive and intriguing Pantone very peri helps us to embrace this altered landscape of possibilities, opening us up to a new vision as we rewrite our lives. Rekindling gratitude for some of the qualities that blue represents complemented by a new perspective that resonates today, very peri places the future ahead in a new light.

The color you’ll be seeing a lot of in 2022 is Very Peri, the PANTONE Color of the Year. Add a generous dose of Very Peri to your sunny garden with this hardy rose of Sharon, “Blue Chiffon.”

“We are living in transformative times…very peri is a symbol of the global zeitgeist of the moment and the transition we are going through. As we emerge from an intense period of isolation, our notions and standards are changing, and our physical and digital lives have merged in new ways. Very peri illustrates the fusion of modern life and how color trends in the digital world are being manifested in the physical world and vice versa.”

We can also expect to see outdoor accents in this perky color, as well as bedding plants like to help spread the cheer the very peri represents. It is the perfect color to accentuate and stand out from a range of green foliage hues.

After our predicted extended winter wanes, many will be ready to enjoy their outdoor spaces. While travel to far-off places may be on hold for some in these times, a few touches of the “tropics” can help transport us there without leaving home. Consider colorful caladiums and big-leaved elephant-ear tubers to grow in containers. An in-ground planting of rose of sharon is a hardy approach to jungle-like non-stop blooms that resemble tender hibiscus. Rose of sharon is hardy in this zone and there is even a double-flowered variety, “blue chiffon” that can add a touch of very peri to any sunny garden.

In the meantime, while we wait for the season to change, think about bringing the outdoors inside with a fragrant herb garden in a bright window, or forcing branches of flowering shrubs like forsythia or pussy willow for early blooms. Consider inexpensive grow lights for houseplants in previously dark corners, or hang a planter with a houseplant in front of a window.

Many are already looking at their outdoor spaces as havens for wildlife. Exchanging invasive plants like multiflora rose or barberry (‘Berberis’) or burning bush (‘Euonymus alatus’ or ‘winged euonymus alatus’) or Japanese honeysuckle (‘Lonicera japonica’) for native plants and shrubs can extend the welcome to wildlife in many ways. Native plants provide both appropriate foods and cover for birds and other wildlife — which in turn add to the color and life in any garden.

Make a plan, keep a notebook to record ideas, accomplishments and on-going projects. Now is a great time to get that garden journal started as we order and start seeds for the vegetable and ornamental gardens. It is where we can provide detailed layouts of those perennials, shrubs and trees already on site and make preparations for additions. Once the season arrives we will be caught up in tasks, but getting a plan formulated now will serve us well in the weeks to come.

Lynette L. Walther is the GardenComm Gold medal winner for writing and a five-time recipient of the GardenComm Silver Medal of Achievement, the National Garden Bureau’s Exemplary Journalism Award. She is a member of GardenComm and her gardens are in Camden.