As I grow comfortably into my 30's, I have discovered the bitchin' world of flowers and gardening. It's a manly thing, and every man should know how. Let's hit the basics.

First off, every man should know how to grow flowers. Not only is it a really easy hobby that pays off greater than the effort put in, it can really go a long way in stress relief. Let's start off with some simple basics.

If you've already got some flower beds in the yard, let's look at a simple new season rehab.

Rake up last years mulch so you can get down to the nitty gritty.

Now is the time to lay down some of that landscape barrier. Not only will it keep weeds from growing, it's the cheapest and most effective way to keep grasses from growing up in your pretty landscape. You'll want to overlap each layer by a few inches to ensure proper coverage, but it's cheap. A hundred foot roll should run less than $10. Also, cut around existing plants while you lay it down, that way you won't short yourself at the end of the row.

After you finish laying down your barrier, go ahead and start spreading out your mulch. If your mulch is matted, or has something growing on it, making it clump together, throw it away. You don't want to promote a growing fungus into your pretty garden. If you need to, add new mulch to fill in what you take out. I tend to always add mulch near the front of the bed to make the flowers pop.

Start laying out your plants of choice to see how the bed will roll. This is the step most people skip, and then wonder later why their flower bed is all wonky and off-centered.

Now that that's taken care of, let the hard work begin. You'll want to clear away the mulch where you want to plant your flowers. Instead of cutting a circlular hole in your weed barrier, cut an 'X' in it and fold the tabs under. That way you'll still have barrier to block growth next year if you don't have anything to plant in that hole.

When you dig your hole, dig it deeper than the roots need, then fill it back in until the topsoil just peeks up from the dirt around it. This will allow an easier place for those roots to take hold and grow. Do the same thing around the edge too. Some say it reduces stress on the plants, but who really knows.

Next, you'll want to fill that mulch back in around your plants. It's pretty important that you move the leaves out of the way so you can make double sure you're getting mulch completely around the stem, covering every bit of that topsoil in the process. Mulch doesn't just look good, it acts as a barrier helping to keep moisture in the soil.

Now that that's all done, kick back and relax. Don't worry if your flower beds look a little bare, they're going to grow... and with a little fertilizer/feeder every one or two weeks, they'll grow big.