May, Flowering Season Offers Wide Range of Plant Materials that Bloom!

Hard to believe it is already mid May and we are well into another flowering season.  Every season is a march through our wide range of plant material that blooms at different temperatures and different day lengths.  The peonies, iris, clematis and roses are all putting on their annual show of flowers while the azaleas and others wind down their color displays for another year.  The weather varies yearly so these flower displays can change by one to three weeks from year to year but the flower show follows pretty much the same order annually.  This gives us the chance to select and plant shrubs, trees, and perennials that will stage their flower performances at different times in our home gardens.  Watch your neighborhood to notice when plants bloom and watch which plants you like and then add them to your yard in similar light conditions.  Many of these plants blooming now are heirlooms or family treasures passed from generation to generation.  Often you will hear someone talk about iris, day lilies, peonies, roses, snowball bushes, lilacs or crape myrtles that were special to their mother, grandmother and grandfather or even earlier generations.  How cool it is to have one or more living family plant treasures you can divide and share or take cuttings and share from generation to generation.

Those that planted their tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and colorful flowering annuals a few weeks ago are already starting to enjoy significant flower shows or may have the first harvest just starting to appear.  If you have been busy and haven’t done your planting yet, you still have time to get a good crop and to enjoy a great harvest of flowers or fruit.  We are only one month into this growing season for warm weather crops and have about six months left for this season.  Most of the greenhouses and garden centers are still growing fresh crops and have a great selection.  You can still plant warm season veggies like tomatoes and peppers in flower beds, gardens or container gardens and get a good harvest this year.  You can still select and plant warm season annuals like geraniums, penta, petunias, marigolds, begonias, impatiens, periwinkle, zinnias and dozens of others and get a great display of color for months to come.  Plant in flower beds, flower boxes, hanging baskets or decorative containers to brighten up your yard and your life.  Although you can plant all the way into the fall, the quicker you plant these warm season crops the quicker they will grow, the more established they will be when we get into our really hot and stressful summer weather.  It also gives you longer to enjoy your plants before we get a killing freeze sometime in November.

If you haven’t planted yet, time is passing and you are missing the chance to liven up your yard. The old timers always said the best time to plant was yesterday but today is the next best choice!  If you have already done some planting there is still plenty of time to tackle another project like a new flowerbed, updating an old flowerbed or landscape or adding some container gardens to your front porch or your patio.

This is the season for planting, watering, mulching and watering again.  After you have your plants planted and watered in, please consider mulching then with a 2” to 3” layer of bark, compost or hulls to reduce weed competition, reduce watering, keep the soil cooler and reduce soil surface evaporation and to raise happier plants.  Use cottonseed hulls, pecan hulls, cocoa hulls or a wide variety of shredded or chopped barks like pine, cedar, cypress, oak or fir.  Mulching is one the best gardening practices we can use to improve gardening success with new or established plantings.

Don’t forget to water after you make new plantings; after you mulch your plantings and as needed based on rain, temperatures and drying winds that confront your new plantings.

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