May is truly a frenzy of flowers is it not! And a turbine of tasks! We finally got some much needed rain this past week and it’s making planting that much easier.
I recently learned that the wild varieties of native plants like bergamot, coneflowers, milkweed and such tend to disappear in 3 to 4 years and therefore need to be replanted regularly. While I’d always known that the wild varieties are what attract the native pollinators, I was not aware that they need to be replaced so often. Plants and pollinators have co-evolved so all those fancier, more colorful new varieties of plants one finds these days are not recognized by their pollinators and hence, do not serve the purpose at all. The wild plants do not look as splashy but they’re the ones we must include in our gardens. So that’s what I’m re-planting in the meadow – I’d noticed a reduction of some of the plants last year and had wondered what had happened. Very glad to have been enlightened to correct the deficiency.
Here is the list of garden chores for this month –
Things To Do In May:
- Weed regularly if you want to keep the thugs in check.
- Put stakes in place so as plants grow it’ll be easy to secure them.
- Deadhead spent blooms for a neat look. Some plants will reward you with a second wave of blooms. Of course, if you want to collect seeds, do not deadhead.
- Water as necessary. Add a splash of compost tea to fertilize – about every 2-3 weeks.
- Plant in summer vegetables, summer bulbs and tubers and, annuals.
- Keep bird baths filled with clean water. Use safe, organic mosquito ‘dunks’ to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. The same goes for fountains.
- Start mowing lawns but do the right thing by keeping the mower blade high at about four inches. Leave clippings in place to replenish the soil.
- Make sure all beds, shrubs and trees are mulched to retain moisture and keep weeds from proliferating.
- To take care of weeds in areas that are paved or bricked, pour boiling hot water over them. The weeds will be killed and no chemicals were used! (It’s how I dispose off water used to cook pasta, boil eggs etc.,)
- Stay vigilant for pests or disease. The earlier you catch a problem, the easier it is to treat them. Always employ organic methods. Be judicious.
- Stir the compost heap regularly. Keep adding in kitchen and garden waste.
- Take time every day to simply enjoy the garden.
- Visit other gardens through the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program. You will be vastly instructed and inspired. Www.gardenconservancy.org
It’s now a mad dash to get the garden ready for my Open Day. Hope you’re coming!
(c) 2023 Shobha Vanchiswar
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