May / June, 2018
Well folks, this has been an incredibly busy May, as you can imagine. Spring finally arrived, and a bit of summer came along for the ride. Then the monsoons descended upon us, and we’re off and running. My weeds are quite happy, and keeping up is tough. If you are still waiting for your landscape contractor to complete your spring cleanup, you are not alone. All contractors are having a tough time right now, and doing the best they can. Just keep reminding them that you are still waiting for their arrival.
Everything is lush and green, and there is something new blooming every week. What an incredible year for the Azaleas. They’ve just been outstanding. A week ago, Eleagnus pungens / Thorny Eleagnus was in bloom. You can barely see the flowers, but when you walk by, their delicate fragrance is unmistakably delightful. This week, Magnolia grandiflora / Southern Magnolia started to bloom, along with many of the Rhododendron.
Unfortunately, a number of my plants were unable to survive this past winter. Among the hardest hit were Acanthus mollis, Bletilla striata, Edgeworthia chrysantha / Paper Bush, and Lagerstroemia indica / Crepe Myrtle. Have you lost any plants? If so, please share that information with me. When we had those warm days in the middle of winter, the resulting stress was just too much to handle.
Enjoy these warm summer days, but try to remember how difficult this is for our plants. If the weather suddenly turns warm, the plants will be experiencing stress and will need more water. A good rule of thumb is a 20 degree change in temperature is significant enough to cause stress. During the growing season, try to give your plants water 3x/week if at all possible. Just do the best you can. Remember a long, slow, steady soak is much better than a quick burst.
Now, is the perfect time to divide and spread out many of the perennials. Frequently, it’s as easy as placing the shovel where you want to cut the plant, and dig straight down. The mother plant stays put, and the baby plant will be given a new home. Rule of Thumb…do not change the depth of the root mass, and soak immediately after planting to remove the unwanted air pockets.
DO…spread Holly-Tone within the drip edge of all your BROADLEAF EVERGREENS, and other acid-loving plants. It’s not too late.
DO…spread Plant-Tone within the drip edge of all other plants, but I usually limit myself to a liberal broadcast among all of my PERENNIALS. It’s not too late.
DO lay out protective rings of DIATOMACEOUS EARTH to protect large leaved perennials from slugs. Hopefully, I’ll get around to these chores soon.
ANNUALS…Now you can buy your annuals. Try something different this year. Experiment. You can always change it later. Feeding your plants once a week can make a huge difference in the performance. Miracle Gro, Peter’s Plant Food or Jack’s Classic Plant Food are options. If you use a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote, then you may only need to apply 1x/month or less.
SPRING FLOWERING PLANTS…Your Helleborus should be dead headed to minimize the number of volunteer seedlings. Many of their seed pods are plump and ready to explode. Spring flowering bulbs will benefit if you remove the spent flowers and allow the foliage to remain until it turns brown.
GARDEN TOURS…Do you enjoy visiting private gardens? May and June is the best time to see most Maryland gardens. The Horticultural Society of Maryland has its annual tour on Sunday, June 3, 2018, 10am – 4pm. Tour Northern Baltimore County. Go to www.mdhorticulture.org for further information. This event is a fundraiser for the Horticultural Society of Maryland.
POISON IVY…Poison Ivy has leafed out, and it is everywhere. At least now we have a fighting chance to avoid it. Please take precautions when in the vicinity of this irritating plant. I will be circulating my Poison Ivy Primer shortly.