The Gardener's May Calendar


I'm a bit late in posting this month's garden chores because I was away on the Garden Bloggers Fling, which was hosted this year in Austin, Texas. This yearly get together of garden bloggers and garden company representatives (often heads!) showcases the best gardens the area has to offer. This year was the tenth anniversary of the event, which was celebrated where it began, in Austin. Not only is this event a great way to meet other garden bloggers and learn about new products, the garden tours offer a plethora of ideas that can be incorporated in your own garden. (There are so many creative gardeners who open their properties up for us to see!)

Anyway, excuses excuses. I came home after five days away from the garden and was surprised by how much had changed. The trees had leafed out. The cherry tree and tulips were blooming. My pea seeds sprouted and look healthy in my Eco Garden System. The garden does not wait for the gardener. Here are some tasks on my list for this month.


  • Be careful with trimming. Make sure you are not cutting off branches with bird nests when you prune (think evergreens), such as hummingbird nests (as shown in this photo shared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Facebook).

  • I smash the stems of lilacs to make them 

    last longer in the vase.
  • Start seeds! I start warm season flowers like zinnias, tithonia, calendula, cosmos and marigolds now. Flowering vines, such as morning glories or sweet peas, should be submerged in water overnight). It's time to harden off the seedlings that have been growing indoors. Take your time with this and keep seedlings in the shade as they get used to life outdoors. 
  • Invasive plants: Be on the lookout for invasive plants in your garden before they take hold. For me, that means I need to watch for garlic mustardEuropean celandine and wineberries. Usually they pop up around my compost pile, situated in the back corner of my property. Here is a resource for invasive plants in the Northeast region of the U.S.
  • 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.
  • Fertilizer: It's time to fertilize fruit trees and roses. You can continue to add compost to refresh containers (as long as the soil isn't very old) and around perennials. 
  • Enjoy the blooms: Cut your flowers and bring them indoors. When I was a kid, my grandfather would cut his lilacs for Mother's Day and put them in vases for my mother to take home. Now whenever I see them in bloom, I think of him and her and that lovely Mother's Day tradition. Click here to read the trick from keeping them from wilting.
  • Vegetable and herbs: Puzzled over what to grow this year? Check out these suggestions from some of my #gardenchat friends!
  • Remember the pollinators! Here are some plants that I grow just to keep the workhorses of my garden happy
  • Hummingbirds: Lure them to your garden by setting up feeders and offering plants they like. For options read this story I wrote with suggested plants from one of my local plant nurseries. For food in the feeders, I boil 4 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar together, then let it cool before I put it outside. Make sure you are good about changing the solution so it doesn't grow black mold and poison the hummingbirds. AND LEAVE THE RED FOOD DYE OUT!
  • Pest control: If you have ant problems, try using diatomaceous earth. When the bugs walk through it, it gets stuck to them and causes them to dehydrate and die. It's way safer than baited ant traps. Be sure to apply it on a day without a lot of wind since you shouldn't breathe it in.
  • Get kids involved: With summer vacation rapidly approaching, make gardening a staycation choice for younger children. Read more about the benefits here.
  • Plant dahlias, cannas and caladium tubers if you haven't already done so.

  • Divide large clumps of trillium to get more plants. Here's how I did it.
  • 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.
  • Make a list of gardens to visit! Here are some places I have visited in the past.

Onward!

I garden in Central Connecticut and garden in Zone 6b.

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