Mid-May Gardening Chores

Somehow I am halfway through the month again and my to-do list for the garden is constantly increasing. I'll leave the specific chores for my garden out, but here's a guideline to keep in mind for the rest of May. (Are we having fun yet?)

Cut off dead flowers from bulbs but do not
remove the leaves until they wither away.
Invasives
Be on the lookout for invasive plants in your garden before they take hold. For me, that means I need to watch for garlic mustard and wineberries. Usually both pop up around my compost pile, situated in the back corner of my property (behind my fence is untended land).

Cleanup
Are you still trimming perennials? If not, good job, because I am! I noticed my hydrangeas and butterfly bushes did not fair well over the winter with a lot of dead wood. To check that it is really dead, my garden center has advised me to scratch the stems and see if it is green underneath. If not, cut it off.

Bulbs
Trim off spent blossoms so the bulbs do not waste time in producing seeds. Do not remove the leaves - this is the plant's source of energy for next year. Even though they become unsightly, leave them in place until they wither away.

Seeds
I start warm season flowers like zinnias, tithonia, calendula, cosmos and marigolds now. Flowering vines such as morning glories can also be started.

It's time to harden off the seedlings that have been growing indoors. For me, this means New Guinea impatiens, wax begonias, geraniums, tomatoes, peppers and coleus.

Fertilizer
It's time to fertilize fruit trees and roses now.

Hummingbirds
Lure them to your garden by setting up feeders and offering plants they like. I boil 4 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar together, then let it cool before I put it outside. Flowers like salvias, calibroachia - basically anything trumpet-shaped - will also attract them to your garden.

Mulch
Order it in bulk! Who wants to drive home bags of mulch anyway? It's usually cheaper when you have it delivered. And stay away from the dyed colored mulch. That is so not earth-friendly.

Onward!


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