April Showers Really Do Bring May Flowers

Writer: Carrie Petty

Oh May, your glorious month. Time to get busy! If April is the time when the garden is emerging from sleep, then May is the time in the garden when she has had two full cups of coffee and ready for high gear, time to bloom!

Where to begin. Let’s talk lawns first. Make sure that mower blade is sharp people, and do not ever mow when it is wet. This is the first step to preventing diseased lawns. Also, to prevent moles set out multiple traps along the moles trail. An old American Indian trick — it is said that the moles move to the surface on a warm, sunny day at high noon. You can get them with a garden spade if you have the constitution to do so. I call the hubby for that trick.

If you did not get your crabgrass preventative down in April, do it as soon as possible. And make sure you cut your lawn to the highest setting on the mower, this way you are shading out weed seeds in the soil and will have a much healthier lawn. The taller the blade, the deeper the root!

Now, when it comes to general gardening chores for the month of May, first things first, stretch. Before you head out for a full Saturday worth of mulching and gardening chores, make sure you give the old body a good stretch and warm up a bit. Your back will thank me in the morning. At the age of 54, I have settled for one of those seat thingies that you can flip over and kneel on too. It has saved my gardeners back from strain.

Visit all your local gardening centers and pick up something new. I suggest every year adding a new tree or bush to the landscape and at least a couple of new perennials to the flower garden. Always, always, try new veritable varieties. So many cool ones come out each year. If you have not tried Purple Kohlrabi, then you need to.

When planting any newly purchased pot grown specimen, a good tip is to scrape off the top half inch of soil out of the pot and toss it in the trash, not the compost bin! This is where the weed seeds reside. Taking that soil off the top of the pot will help prevent the introduction of new weeds in your garden. Particularly, the hard to eradicate Thistle-It is a monster.

Many Indiana landscapes now have Hostas peeking up through the soil, their tall green spikes curled into a cone format, this is the perfect time to divide them and make more plants. Place your spade two inches away from the growth and dig down deep, tip your spade back to unearth the root ball to loosen. Do this all the way around the plant base and pull the entire thing out of the ground. Then divide each green spire into a new plant, making sure you capture a good rootstock as you go. This is the easiest and cheapest way to increase the size of one’s garden. This is the very act of ‘gardening’ itself! If you do this, I give you permission to call yourself a gardener. Bravo!

Dividing Daffodil bulbs is a great chore to do now, and your garden will reemerge in the spring with a fresh facelift of yellow blooms. Just dig up a clump of foliage left behind after the blooms fade, and pull apart the bulbs with your hands. Again, be sure to capture a good rootstock with each bulb if you can. If not, they will survive. Replant one-by-one in a new hole elsewhere about six inches deep. This is also a great time to use a granulated fertilizer on your Tulips and bulbs to strengthen their roots for next year’s bloom.

Gardening is always about looking forward!. It is the most optimistic duty. So get going my friends. And as always, I hope I have helped you “Grow a More Beautiful Life!” Cheers.

May Garden Chores

  • Plant a garden if you don’t have one!
  • Mow, feed, water your lawn
  • Edge and mulch landscape beds
  • Feed roses
  • Place supports around floppy perennials
  • May 15 last frost date
  • Transplant seedlings into the ground
  • Fill urns and flower containers full of annuals
  • Divide Hostas and perennial flowers

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