Keep your bed of flowers from becoming a bed of weeds by topping the garden with a layer of mulch and by weeding it often. Finely shredded organic matter is one of the best mulches for flower beds. Other good choices include shredded pine bark, wood chips, pine straw, and cocoa bean hulls (which smell of cocoa but could poison dogs if they eat the hulls). Spread a 1-3-inch-deep layer of mulch over the bed. Keep it a few inches away from plant stems. Hand weeding sounds worse than it really is. Dedicate yourself to 10 minutes of weeding two or three times a week. You'll be amazed at the large area you can cover in such a short time. If you control weeds early in the season, you'll have little trouble by midsummer.