In case you haven't heard, today is national Leave the Office Early day. Not sure who cooks these things up, but I'm all for it. And it's going to be a beautiful day for it, too: 85 degrees with low humidity. Unfortunately, I have an end-of-day meeting to attend, but I'm giving you a hall pass to bolt out of work and get into the garden.

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It's not too late to plant annuals, vegetables and perennials, so stop at the nursery on the way home if you haven't already. Maybe tackle some poison ivy or get cracking on that compost pile you've been meaning to start. Check out the links below for some helpful how-tos. Then spend some time watering, weeding and, naturally, admiring your handiwork, maybe from a bench in the shade while holding an icy cold mojito with freshly plucked mint leaves.

7 ways to get your garden off to a good start | How to attract birds to your yard | How to plant containers | How to make compost |