ECHINOPS (GLOBE THISTLE) PHOTO CREDIT: JEREMY McCORMACK
The Globe Thistle is not a spring bloomer but it’s spherical, starburst-like shape reminds me of “The Big Bang”, which is a great way to describe the month of May. Everything seems to burst out of the ground. I am fascinated year after year when I see the perennials I planted in years past wiggling their way out of the soil. It’s kind of magical.
Most gardeners are filled with enthusiasm during the month of May, which is a good thing because there’s a lot to do. If you haven’t yet applied your two inches of Triple Mix to the garden bed, then refer back to the THE APRIL GARDEN post for instructions. To recap: the mixture of peat moss, compost and top-soil will add important nutrients to your garden and help your plants to thrive in the coming months.
Towards the end of May, when the plants are established and the soil has warmed up, top-dress the Triple Mix with about two to three inches of a finely ground softwood bark mulch. (Don’t over mulch though, or you might kill the plants!) Mulching helps retain moisture in the soil during the drier summer months, and also cuts down on weeding. In the winter it does double duty, serving as insulation for the root systems of your various plants. Mulch: it does a garden good and it smells delicious too!
A reminder to all of you who planted new garden beds last fall: the first summer after planting new shrubs and perennials, it is very important to keep their soil environments moist. Remember, the overall health of a plant is compromised if the roots are permitted to dry out. Therefore, if the roots of your new plants aren’t yet well established, they will not respond well to prolonged dry spells. For new plants during their first summer, I suggest you give them a good soak at least every 3-4 days. (But always check the moisture of the soil first to avoid inadvertently drowning your plants!) For plants situated under an overhang or tree, extra watering is especially important. If this is difficult for you due to time constraints, it is worthwhile to consider installing a watering system, or hiring someone—perhaps a responsible teenager in the neighbourhood—to take care of the watering for you. For those who are enjoying their second summer with perennials, keep an eye on them: although established, they are still sensitive to prolonged drought.
Fertilizing is the key to an abundant garden. If you’ve been diligent about applying Triple Mix, compost, and mulch, you’ll likely get a good show of colour. However, some plants, particularly those with the potential to bloom for longer periods, can benefit from a little extra assistance. There’s no deficit of products on the market! Visit your favourite garden centre, tell them what you have (e.g., shrubs, perennials, annuals, evergreens, etc.) and they will be able to suggest the best products for you, and how to apply them.
May is a serious month for lawn care, fellow gardeners. Have you heard? Pesticides have been banned in Ontario. This means it is even more important to keep your lawn healthy by fertilizing, aerating, topdressing, and over seeding. And, for Pete’s sake, don’t let your dandelions go to seed! Not only for the beauty of your lawn, but more importantly, to keep the peace with your neighbours!
Check in with us once a month between March and October for tips on how to care for your garden. And remember, Design for Conscious Living® is a full-service interior and exterior design company. We can help you with everything from decorative flower pots to the design and installation of your dream garden.