Gardening At Home This Week

Now is the perfect time to plant tomatoes.

Harmony hydrangea is coming into bloom as well as the other oakleaf types

Early May is peak gardening time for me. It’s my second season of flowering, as many of my late spring shrubs and perennials are coming into bloom. Walking around my garden I have to focus on the beauty of the plants coming into flower, not just all the work that needs to be done. My harmony, snowflake and oakleaf hydrangeas are ready to put on a show, and the daylilies, blue salvia and baptisia are all showing a bit of color.
As for what I have to do, the list is very long. First, I want to finish planting my vegetable garden as soon as possible. My tomatoes in pots are beginning to grow. Half of the tomatoes are planted in the garden, and I plan to add a few more this week. Pole beans, squash transplants, okra seed (soaked for 30 minutes in boiling water poured over them) and transplants of cucumbers need to be added to the garden, and I secured a few zinnia seedlings from my son and planted them, too. I have some Envy zinnias I am growing from seeds that are not quite ready to transplant. I noticed today that many of the mass flower outlets have lowered their price on some plants, but beware. They may not be the best buys in the metro area, as many of the locally owned garden centers oftentimes have lower prices. With the anticipation of rain later this week, I am planning to put my first application of fertilizer on my zoysia lawn (this is a bit late but still okay), after I give it a good cutting with the mower set at its regular height. All of my daffodil foliage is now yellowing, and I need to dig and divide the masses that had weak blooms this spring. Once I divide the clumps, I replant back at the height they came out of the ground. Do not cut off the dying foliage, but let it die back totally before removing. And finally, I am fertilizing all the plants, both shrubs and perennials, that have finished blooming. I use 15-0-15 at the rate of 1/3 cup around established perennials and 1/2 to one cup around my shrubs depending on their size.
If I have time there is always grooming and cutting off spent blooms, but I will be lucky to get the above list done. Happy gardening.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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