May is iris and peony time throughout our section. The real work has already been done on these two and the results indicate just how thorough we were. The main thing now is to provide plenty of water through the flowering season, to produce top quality bloom.
photo credit: Donnaphoto
Each iris plant should have a feeding of one cupful of balanced fertilizer but it should be kept well away from the plant. It will be wise to note the ones that should be divided after flowering and perhaps prepare the soil for planting in new locations.
Peonies are subject to aphid infestation and many times this is first noticed by the presence of ants. These ants live on the honey dew secretions from the aphids and quite often there are “farms” of aphids that are milked” regularly by ants. Aphids cause a blasting of the buds quickly on peonies. Regular spraying with a contact spray will control these critters.
Throughout our section roses are giving their first lush crop of blooms. The annual rose shows are usually staged beginning the second week in May.
In the garden the chief chores are regular spraying at ten day intervals with products to control blackspot, spraying to control aphids, watering. feeding and light pruning to control blooming and habit of growth.
Rock garden plants respond beautifully to feeding and watering this month. Divide and transplant violets and allow a spacing of about ten inches. As the perennials come into flower, keep the faded blooms cut back to encourage new growth and a second crop of flowers. Pinch the early set chrysanthemums is one of the highly recommended plant branching ideas, and feed lightly.
For those of you who enjoy gourds, May is the month to plant. These plants are among the novelty group and are most interesting. Be constantly on the alert for weeds… most of these have an uncanny way of getting established very early.
Investigate the new herbicides for control of weeds by chemical sprays; many hours of hard work can be saved by using them. Read and follow the directions carefully. There is still time to replant water lilies and other aquatic plants. And why not plant a few herbs for both seasoning and unusual foliage for arranging?