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The garden in May


Heat waves in May can accelerate the growth and flowering of many perennials and deciduous shrubs. As a result, there are several choice specimens overlapping in their flowering time and many of the early spring flowers will have have already passed. The most worrisome thing is whether anything will be left for June!

My early garden had a beautiful blue and purple hue from Grape Hyacinth (Muscari sp.), Forget-me-knots (Myosotis sp.), dwarf Iris and Violets (Viola sp.). The white violets are especially stunning.

There is a wonderful ‘green' garden developing in the front which includes Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum), variegated Hosta, Bleeding heart (Dicentra sp.), Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum sp.)and Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum). All of these are framing the winning display of Epimedium. This lovely plant resists all invasion and always comes through with delicate yellow blossoms arching over nodding leaves.

In my woodland garden, I have a Pulmonaria to rival all others. It is a perfect bouquet of pink and blue with spotted foliage. Prior to that, there was a clump of snowdrops, followed by bluebells. I have yet to see any signs of last years Columbine which should have seeded itself.

The woodland garden looks quite different this year than last. It seems to be a transitory area where plants come and go. Plants emerge and then retreat to the safety of the soil or drift to another area. Plants that have this short time of appearance and transitory nature are called ephemeral. Lately I've been planting native plants to see if they thrive in the habitat I'm calling a woodland. Every so often I remove undesirable or invasive plants, but otherwise I try to leave it alone like a natural woodland.

Summer weeds such as lambs quarters and crabgrass are germinating like mad because they don't mind it dry and they need the heat. Crabgrass will have a strangle hold unless you move quickly.

After burning off the dead grass from our meadow this spring, we discovered that there are few, if any perennial plants covering the soil Everything in this 1000 square foot area is going to develop from seed! This was by no means the original plan. The perennial grasses we planted (Creeping Red Fescue and Sheep's Fescue) were overwhelmed by the annual grasses. There are billions upon billions of undesirable seeds of meadow fescue, millet (from a previous year's intentional seeding) and crabgrass. Converting it to something we want will be a daunting task.

We purchased some seed for the meadow and rain was in the forecast, so at the end of a long hot day I proceeded to seed the meadow with our new mix. The soil was blanketed with seedlings. I've never seen crabgrass so dense. I then realized I could use the situation to our advantage by eliminating the competition by raking out the seedlings and preparing a seed bed at the same time. I did the best I could, given the situation. We did get rain, so we'll see what happens.

The invasive nature of many plants is starting to rear its ugly head. Creeping Bellflower is tenaciously re-appearing everywhere. I dreamt the other night that I was deep in the ground and came upon a Bellflower root that was the size of a 5 storey building. It must be really bothering me!

Gardeners often invite trouble with the plants we introduce. We planted Japanese Lantern a few years ago, pre-warned of its invasive nature, and we have so far been able to keep it in check. The Bamboo I plant adjacent to it will be set to do battle against it.

There are thousands of opportunities for the gardening days ahead. I'm hoping for many successful planned and chance combinations that are awarded to the experimental gardener.


© Daisy Moore, 2000.



Other spring garden tips:

(click on the tip you want to read)


Designing Gardens

Fertilizing the Garden
Ready for Spring
Starting Seeds Indoors
Pruning Trees and Shrubs
Dormant Spraying
Planning the Vegetable Garden
Planting Early Vegetables
Early Season Care of Perennial Beds
Plants for an Early Spring Show
Cut Flowers for the Home Garden
Growing the Perfect Potato
Lawn Care in Early Spring.....GRUB DAMAGE!
Spring Lawn Care
The Garden in May
Gardening with Native Plants
Sources of Native Plants
Shade Gardening
Planting Gladiolus and Other Summer Flowering Bulbs
Weed Control
Thatch in Lawns
Weeds or Wildflowers
Improving Your Soil
Marvellous Mulch
Selecting and Planting Shrubs
Planting Trees and Shrubs
Window Box Gardening
Growing Tomatoes
Fertilizing the Vegetable Garden



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© Daisy Moore 2005