Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Posted By: in Gardening

Well now, this is a rather nice start to May!  My farmers tan is off to a stunning beginning, the evening smells like BBQ and Lilac tree (nicer that it sounds) and I can hear engine revving sounds coming from the weeds in my back garden.  May is a busy month, take time to enjoy the explosion of green…and pink…and blue…and purple and….

Purple Iris

Trees and Shrubs

You can plant new with success but most likely too late to to much moving.  With the wonderful heat and sun, you need to think about a watering program for your newer additions.  Now is a good time to add mulch around the base of your trees and shrubs to hold down weeds, keep in moisture, reduce competition and prevent weedwhacker damage.  You can also fertilize trees and shrubs as needed.

Garden beds, Perennials and Grasses ­

Scotts MulchTopdress with manure, compost, mulch to cut down on weeding, retain moisture and add to soil structure.  Remember, when you add mulch to garden beds, leave a bit of distance between it and smaller perennials and new shrubs.  As your mulch breaks down, it draws nitrogen from the soil to do so.

Add fertilizer with nitrogen to replace what your mulch uses to avoid stunting the growth of smaller shrubs and perennials.  If you have decorative perennial grasses…you can use a tablespoon or two of slow release lawn food depending on the size of the grass.  Remove spent flower heads of bulbs but leave the leaves to absorb nutrients for next years bloom.  Trim up heathers after they are finished blooming.

Towards mid month, or when the plants get to be about 8-10 inches in height pinch back Sedum and Chrysanthemums.  You will end up with a fuller, bushier plant and prevent flop.

Oh, yes…this is also the heady season of weed growth.  It seems like new ones pop up the minute you walk away from the garden.  Don’t be too caught up with perfection.  In the words of Dory of ‘Finding Nemo’…”Just keep swimming”…or weeding.


Fertilize, topdress, overseed.  Mulching your lawn clippings with reduce your need for water by about 75%.  When we get in to the long hot dry days of summer (and we will), a handy method of watering the lawn if you chose to do so is to use a rinsed out tuna can, place on the lawn and water until you have ½ to 1 inch of water in the can.

Cedar Hanging BasketAnnual, planters and Hanging Baskets

Now is the best selection of basket stuffers and annuals.  Time to plant up your pots.

If we do get some unseasonably cold or extremely soggy weather (I don’t want to think about it actually) , cover your annuals with a bit of remay/crop cover, you can purchase in rolls and reuse,  or bring up under the overhang of your house.

Otherwise, keep watered, deadhead as needed and enjoy.  Experiment.  Have fun with it.

Veggies and flowers from seedRadish Seeds

Lots of time still to plant seeds for flowers or vegetables.  Once the ground really begins to warm up you can think about planting your warm season seeds like beans and corn and sunflowers.  The hardier veggies and seeds you can direct sow.

Handy tip:  No family can eat and entire package worth of seeded radish, with quick growing veggies like radish, lettuce and even corn, think about successive plantings…like every two weeks.

That way you won’t have the radish glut of 2013.

House plants

Now is a great time to fertilize, divide and even repot many of your houseplants.  I have a couple here that are staring at me right now…accusingly.  With a suspicious eye kept on the weather, you can begin to move a few outsite…keeping an eye on night time lows and be prepared to move back inside or at least to a covered porch.

I could go on and on but that will keep you for a month…or so.  Enjoy, soak up some vitamin D, apply sunscreen, keep hydrated and go frolick outside J.

Cheers, Laurelle

Laurelle Olfdord-Down

Laurelle Olfdord-Down

Laurelle is a certified horticulturalist and Landscape designer. She is currently an up and coming apple guru, growing over 120 cultivars which explains her passion for edible garden design. Laurelle works part time for Art’s Nursery. You can also interact with her through Art’s monthly newsletter, our blog and our gardening channel on YouTube.

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