If that potted lavender, geranium, bougainvillea or similar tender plant that you're overwintering inside has sent out spindly new shoots, keep trimming it back until the increased sunlight can support sturdier growth.
If you keep any kind of gardening journal, dig it out now and refresh your memory about what worked and what didn't work last year. Read notes you took at garden visits and gardening workshops to give you ideas of plants and techniques you may want to try this year. If you don't have a gardening journal, just designate a small notebook as a place to collect your thoughts and wish lists. I simply have a folder for each year that I tuck notes in during the year, (such as ideas for next year's vegetable garden, and what varieties I want to try), as well as plant lists, receipts (to know what I bought), and maps of what I planted and where.
If you want to have the best selection of plants ready to go into the ground when you're ready to plant, place plant orders early. The selection dwindles the longer you wait, especially for new and unusual varieties. Some very tiny seeds such as begonias need to be sown in winter. Others, such as the new All-America winning coneflower PowWow Wild Berry, need to be sown the end of January in order to bloom the first year from seed.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally known horticulturist, author, gardening consultant, and garden coach (CharlieNardozzi.com). Distribution of this release is made possible by New England Grows--a conference providing education for industry professionals and support for Extension's outreach efforts in ornamental horticulture.