Friday, May 1, 2009

To Do List for May

May's To Do List might not seem so long considering all we have to do in the garden, but just the entry "Weed" says enough! Here is what I plan to do in my garden in May.

1) Weed*Weed*Weed* Need I say more?

2) Divide and move perennials as necessary. Some perennials which can be divided this time of year include: Hostas, Daylillies, Brown Eyes, Coneflowers, Moss Phlox, Shastas, Bee Balm, Ornamental grasses, Irises (after bloom preferably), Daffodils and other already bloomed bulbs. Most any plant can be moved now, but peonies in particular prefer to be moved in the fall. Keep in mind that any plant you move now may require extra babying this summer in terms of watering.

3) Lay out soaker hoses for summer watering. If you prefer, install a drip irrigation system now while it is still fairly cool and not needed. I use soaker hoses for all gardens.

4) Move all houseplants outside if you haven't already. Divide and repot wintered over ferns and repot potbound houseplants like: philodendrons, pothos and spider plants.

5) Take cuttings of perennials to increase your stock of plants. Some plants I start from cuttings include: Salvias, Russian sage, Chrysanthemums, Helenium, Veronica, Sedums, Cleyera, Agastache, asters.

6) Trim back perennials to keep them bushy. I trim: Chrysanthemums, Helianthus, Helenium, Russian Sage, Eupatoriums, and Sedums.

7) Apply mulch if needed. Fluff existing mulch and be sure to uncover emerging perennials. Some of my hostas are emerging late and I am having a hard time finding them, so be diligent.

8) Move seedlings that have sprouted up. Such seedlings can include: Cleomes, Feverfew, Alyssum, Eupatoriums, Cosmos, Pulmonaria, hellebores, santolina.

9) Hand prune shrubs for bushiness and fullness. Shrubs to prune include: Privet, Photinias, Nandinas, Yews, Cleyera, Silverberry, and roses. Remember pruning stimulates growth so prune to a bud where you wish growth to come from.

10) Shape your young trees. I hand trim J. Maples, Crepe Myrtles, and Crabapples to remove suckers and direct growth in the manner I wish. Many larger trees such as oaks and maples may have alot of sucker growth along the trunk due to the stress they suffered the last few years, you will want to prune them out. I have been busy with this in my garden. The twiggy growth is not welcomed and I prefer clean trunks up to about 15-20 feet.

11) Deadhead perennials. Some perennials I always try (try being the imperative word) to deadhead include: irises, tulips, daffys, and peonies. I leave self seeders like hellebores, Jacobs ladder and the salvias.

12) Continue feeding hummingbirds. Ensure your birdbaths are clean and full.

13) Plant all warm season vegetables and seeds. Tomatoes, eggplants and peppers should all be in the ground by now. I will be planting seeds of cucumbers, gourds, corn, zucchini, and beans as soon as some cool weather crops move out of the beds. May is the month these can all be planted. You may wish to succession plant later as well. Be sure to plant corn in a block form for better pollination. I always try to plant right after a rain and near when a rain is coming.

14) Now is NOT the time to fertilize or overseed cool season grasses. You would just be wasting your money. If you grow warm season grasses, by all means give it a dose of recommended fertilizer. I grow cool season grasses and am done with all maintenance except mowing until the fall. Mow your grass frequently and to the recommended height. This is vital to a healthy cool or warm season lawn. Leaving the clippings on the lawn should be all the nitrogen your cool season lawn requires at this time of the year.

15) Plant all warm season bulbs and tender plants (such as Pineapple sage and brugmansias). Dahlias should be planted and staked at the time of planting. Peonies will also need to be staked and gladiolus are now emerging from their winter hibernation, stake them as well.

16) One more important thing I am adding to the list this year is to limit your plantings of big things until the fall. If you can't resist and have to purchase shrubs or trees at this time, be prepared to water them to help them get through the summer. The last few summers have been brutal on newly planted shrubs and trees. I am keeping mine in pots until the fall. I will still have to water but watering pots will be so much easier.

Remember, these are things I do in my Zone 6/7 garden here in Tennessee and it may be different in yours. What are you doing this month?

in the garden....

It is so fun looking back at all the old comments from last year. I hope the folks on here enjoy it as much as I do! It is like a picture frozen in time to me and takes me back. Was it only last year??

I had posted a friend's wisteria on here last year, I should've reposted an updated picture of the arbor as I do have some from this year, but instead posted a pic of an azalea in my garden. I enjoy them so much.

My oldest son's birthday is Sunday. I want to wish him a Happy Birthday a bit early.


  1. Lovely wisteria! My in-laws have it growing all over their house. The late frost hurt it, but it's still gorgeous. May is so lovely in England. Happy May Day!

  2. Sarah the wisteria will take over! But it is lovely. I am going to have to check out John's blog and I agree with the British press-very vocal and progressive I guess.

  3. Tina, Again thanks for a good list to add to my file! Some I have done and others to do.

    We have a wisteria and honeysuckle growing up a old dead tree. The wisteria has been there for about nine years and has never bloomed, but the dead tree has to come down. Someone is to come today and talk to us about taking it down. With our luck the thing will decide to bloom before he gets around to cutting it down.

    Speaking of irrigation system. My husband and friend are to start installing one for me today. I have always used soaker hoses and may still use some.

    Another busy day, finishing the mulching and planting some seed. Have a great day and enjoy this beautiful weather.

  4. Nina, when they are finished with the irrigation system, send them down here to install one for me! LOL. Saint bought me a tri-pod watering unit. I cannot wait to try it out but prefer 1 inch per week of Mother Natures rainfall instead...

    Tina, How do you suggest I stake my peony? They are about to bloom and I know they will fall over the minute they open up...

    Expecting a full day in the garden and yard today. Weed killing, grass seed spreading in bare spots, working on walkway in garden and building a small retaining wall...

    I have been absent from the garden for 4 days so I am full of energy, just hope the back holds out...

  5. Tina, forgot to say, while sitting in waiting room on apt yesterday, I had one of my Birds and Blooms-Extra magazines with me. It had a nice article on the Luna Moth! It said just about everything you said in your posting! I was like, well I already know all of this info... LOL how ironic!

  6. Skeeter- We have lots of peonies up here. My Mimi has some in her yard to. I think she use to use tomato things around them to help them from falling, but I would think using a bamboo stake with ribbon would work better and not take away from the huge bloom. You know get on big enough to put far in and still reach the top of the stem for support???

  7. Hey Nina, Wisteria is so temperamental. It needs to not be fertilized or only with no nitrogen, sometimes it takes age for them to bloom, and if those two things fail, you should root prune it. This one is in full sun and somewhat limited so I think that may be why it does so well. I have two trees which need to come out too.

    Skeeter, I use the concrete reinforcing wire in my cage post. You can't even see the cages now and the whole peony stays up. I like cages best bust Christine is right, it can take away from looks but is so much easier on maintenance. I like maintenance free.

    Christine, I didn't know Mimi had a peony or two in her yard. Great. What color? I am always collecting peonies for some crazy reason. My hydrangea I got from there 4 yrs ago as a cutting is doing the best of all my hydrangeas this year. So nice to have plants from family. Have a nice today at work!

  8. Glad I peek in here one more time before I hit the yard! Thanks for the advice on the peony’s. Since I have some bamboo lying around, I think I will go with Christinelynn's method. Thanks! Now off I go with a chilly start...

  9. Good morning all and I hope everyone has a good day, esp in the garden.

    Hi Sarah!! Good to see you here again. Spring is here and Forsythias are in full bloom and the Daffy's are showing their pretty faces and the tulips are ready to also. We had rain for 3 days and with all the snow this past winter it is causing some problems but mostly up in the "county" and they have it pretty bad in Fort Kent and other parts on the St John River. The water under the Brunswick - Topsham bridge is very high. I love that spot when it is high. It rushes so fast and creates many patterns. Mother Nature's furry can be a sight to behold! I bet England is gorgeous now as from what I have seen over there the flowers do not compare to ours, even the trees and grass seemed to be so lush, at least I felt that way both times I was across the big puddle.

    Tina I have only 3 peonies and 2 are pink and 1 white. Since they have not been tended to much they do not do a lot. You musta seen them as they have been there for over 25 years as they were one of the first things I put in. They are between the honeysuckle and the Forsythia you put on the lawn when you did the deck.

    Happy May Day to all! Does anyone do a May Pole or basket?

  10. Mom-Mimi answered you on the colors. They are right beside the driveway on the right. They are all in a row.

    Skeeter-Glad that I could help!

  11. Hi all -busy day doing yard work --had red beauty out and the trusty push mower. The wind was GREAT --no sweeping and cleaning up trimmings today:0) Mother Nature helped me out:) Took sidekick out to get some shorts and t-shirts today --he really doesn't like to shop --but hopefully these will give him a start on the warm weather. And, oh Tina --WISTERIA --ACK -ack -ACK!!!! It is beautiful to look at but I am still reaping the results of what mine did to my back deck and house:( I removed the broken pieces this weekend --of lattice and trellis compliments of my wisteria. I do love the way the flowers smell --but I'll just look from a distance and admire everyone elses:) Must start on dinner before the kiddos start coming home. See you all later! Oh, my iris are open --they are YELLOW!!! Very pretty

  12. Tina,

    If I made a list weeding would be the first 10 entries!


  13. I'm working on that list right now! I just installed my soaker hoses in the veggie garden today. They need some reworking but they are on their way to making my tomatoes!

  14. Hi Tina, your list is a good one. Weeding is what I have been doing for the last month, every day. This week it has been in the front yard, something I had not done for a couple of years. Boy, it was bad too. Still not finished, almost makes me wish for a lawn that could just be mowed. Almost.

  15. Ohhh, survivor was good, good, good! I knew Amanda had that idol! Curse is broken!
    Worked in the rose bed, man! those things are lovelies gone wild! I had to totally cut one down and may have to dig alot of shoots up. My septic guy buried and shoveled alot of them to different areas. Have them everywhere!
    Mysteria Wisteria is so beautiful looking I can't imagine how it smells.
    Tina, if you could push the button for me in the a.m. I would be ever so grateful. Between the two kids, my first 2 1/2 hours in the morning consist of them in turtle slow mode and me, listening to myself repeat myself, echo mode. Thanks.

  16. Hello All,
    I too like to see Wisteria but think better of putting it in my yard. I will just look at someone else'.

    Spent the whole day in the yard/garden. Got some more seeds planted, also more re pots done. Have so much left over I need to give them away. I have some little bush beans already. One of my tomatoes is starting to bloom. Hooray, vine ripened. Gooooood. Strawberries blooming & have little berries on them. Collard still going like gang busters. Gotta find them sweet taters I planted. Hmmmm.

    Sure wish I could grow Peonies down here. I really like them. My pink rose is full of blooms, I counted 12. The real dark red one has 13 buds, can't wait for them to start opening. They are in a cluster more or less, like 2/3 buds per stalk.

    Gotta print the to do list so I can remember. Some I've done & some I haven't.

    Have a good night yall.

  17. Dawn, agreed survivor was good tonight. Amanda made a smooth move.

    While I was working in the yard today the wind was blowing strong, and I didn't remember to let the table umbrella down. Sooo it blew down and snapped my tree rose into. Very upsetting!

    Skeeter, the sprinkler system is gonna be so nice. The guys ran out of material so only got it installed up the hill. Back to Lowes over the weekend for some more hose (200 ft) to go down the hill. It will certainly be easier on the back, dragging the garden hose all around house can get rough.

    Tina the tree cutter did come by today and said he would be back next week. I am gonna try to save some of the wisteria, and put an arbor there for it.

    Jean what is a May pole or basket?

    Anonymous my iris are also blooming. Looks like I have ended up with mostly yellow ones. I redid the bed and gave some to my daughter, so probably gave her the purple ones! My climber rose is budding, it is usually in full bloom by Mother's day, but I did prune it rather hard this year.

  18. Hi you all! Good to hear from everyone and so glad you all are doing fine. Hope for rain tonight! I planted a bunch of stuff so I hope so!

    I have not watches Survivor tonight as I was in the garden since I was out with a friend all day. I can't read all the comments but just wanted to say hey! I haven't read the paper ALL week and need to catch up so I will talk to you all tomorrow. Tomorrow is Dawn's day and I'll see you all in the morning. btw, Tick count is six!

  19. Big day in yard and finally seeing progress! Tired and time for bed...

  20. Hi Lola --I'm glad someone else feels the same way about the wisteria --it is nice to look at in other peoples yards:)

    Hi Nina --I don't have a single purple --all yellow but they are beautiful. My neighbor has several different colors --noticed them today as I cruised by on the red beauty mowing.

    Hi Tina --hubby has had a tick on him already this year and he sprays real good with bug juice. Poor boy #2 got a tick on him from riding in daddy's truck after daddy went hunting:( He wasn't too happy about that --need to bug bomb the dads truck after spring turkey season --about another week and a half.

    Hoping for a little rain over here too --two patches of grass we reseeded could use a little help --other than me and sidekick watering them:)

    Night y'all --

  21. Thanks for visiting. You have quite the list for May! ;-) There always seems to be more desire &/or need than time to sped in the gardens some days! Happy Spring!

  22. Anonymous you did not mention a sick boy so I hope that means he is okay now.

    Sounds like everyone has been busy today.

    Lola it sounds like you have lottsa color!

    Nina your sprinkler system sounds like it will be great. A May Pole is a tall pole with lots of color, usually some flowers and streamers and you dance around it. A May basket is a basket filled with goodies and you leave it on someones door step, ring the doorbell and run and hide so they do not know who left it.

    Tina our dogs have had a few ticks but none of humans. Terri-Lynn treated them all last week and we have not seen one since, for now anyway.

  23. Hey all, Finally watched Survivor. It was really good. This has been a good season!

    Word on wisteria, it is ok in the right spot but generally speaking plant the American wisteria.

    Nina-Sorry about your tree rose!

    Dave-You are the lucky TN gardener not to be weeding as Frances and Gail are weeding like me! I need to get my soaker hoses going though.

    Christy and Mom, I will check your peonies and maybe you could snap some pics and send them? Watch out for the ticks, if the dogs get them-so too will people. Here I get them since the dogs are treated and I am not! Poison ivy is up too! The garden is dangerous!

    Lola, If you can't grow peonies-grow roses! Some would say they are way better and lucky you to have so many!

    Skeeter-Four day break is good I know you were raring to go!

    Anonymous, Boy #2 ok?

    Shady Gardener, I have read your blog before but never commented. I enjoy it. Had to add my two cents. Though it is more like 2000 cents with all the blogs I read and comment on!

    Dawn-Have fun tomorrow. Dawn and Skeeter-I noticed Blogger now allows you to schedule posts. Haven't figured out how to yet, but soon enough. 'Bout time!

  24. Alright, I am backtracking here now. When we schedule posts to post by setting the date in the future, blogger will AUTOMATICALLY post it at that time. That means both Dawn and Skeeter's posts, which are already set with their times will post automatically. Cool!

  25. Triple backtracking now. In order for it to post automatically you click on the post options, put in the future date then click "publish" and it is scheduled. Dawn, I scheduled yours. Hope it is ok. Skeeter, I did not do yours. But now you know how to do it. I am going to love this feature.

  26. Lordy I just keep getting further behind. Seems we are so busy right now I am having a hard time just keeping up with reading everyone's blogs. Well, one thing about it is that once all of these end-of-school year activities are over and the kids are home for the summer I will have two more pair of hands to help out.

  27. Only real May poles I ever saw were in Germany...

    Tina the automatic set up will be great!

    I had a big day in the yard yesterday and the back was feeling it this morning. I am giving it a chance to loosen up a bit before I head to the garden for more...

    Calling for rain late tomorrow so I need to get what I can accomplished today. I am working on bricking in a border for a pathway in the garden but will need more bricks. Arggg never an ending saga with brick borders! Hopefully the Saint and I will get to Lowes for bags of pea gravel tomorrow before the rainfall.

    No ticks on me but the flies were biting me like crazy. I soaked up on spray and then the little pest got me through the socks! I had to stop and soak the socks then all was good in garden land!

  28. What a list. I am too afraid to make one, it might be a small book.


  29. Tina, I have been reading your blog also, Thanks for the comments and happy birthday to your son for tomarrow...

  30. Sarah, If you don't mind me asking, are you in middle Tennessee? And is there anything special you would like to see on here? Or you just enjoy reading whatever? Glad to have your reading!

  31. Hello Sarah, Love your family photo!

  32. Great list Tina--I need to get busy!
    Happy Birthday to your son!
    Have a great weekend..I hope in the garden! :)

  33. Hi Tina, I was confused for a moment by last year's comments! HA Happy birthday to your boy, a wonderful time of year to be born. Your to do list is overwhelming. I am trying hard to do as little as possible. No deadheading, too late to divide here, but we are getting that rain and it is so welcome. Veggie garden at the ready, the rain should help it get going now. Weeding? I need help with those darn wild onions, everything else is getting the live and let live method. For now. There has to be less work, or I will collapse! Pace yourself, my friend! :-)

  34. Wow Tina- your to-do list is officially way longer than mine. Some items even sound like fun! It is going to be a full May but it sounds like it will be worth it!

  35. Tina, A fine list and a good reminder for me...All this rain makes it easier to weed, but also makes more weeds! I do need to get the soaker hoses out there...they don't work if I leave them on the patio! We just had a huge rain storm...pounding the plants...I am not going to go to growild until tomorrow. maybe it will dry out! The grass grew an inch or two last night!


  36. beautiful wisteria Tina! Like Lola and Anonymous, I'll enjoy them in someone else's garden - they're a bit too rampant around here. I spend most of last summer's work for one of my clients trying to get her wisteria under control - it looks like it wants to take over the world!

  37. What's funny is I just started putting the soaker hoses out this week and that's apparently what I was doing last year!

  38. Very good reminder chore list for gardeners, especially those new to gardening.

  39. Very good and I must be doing something right - already fertilized after weeding. Still have more to do though - too many more.
    I should print that list out I suppose and put in my garden book that I keep. Of course now I have posts so they make a wonderful companion to my book or maybe that is the other way around! LOL
    Thanks Tina for the great info and for your support the other day! Enjoying my little R & R.

  40. Being in Maine, not too much work here for now. I did plant some carrots, radish and onions 2 days ago and hope I don't get stung. We have not had frost but the soil may not be warm enough and seeds may just rot. Time will tell. I would like to plant more onions and a bunch of peas this weekend but with this being moving weekend for Sarah I may not get in the garden. Just wish me luck with having a just turned 2 year old in my house full time for 4 to 5 months. Love him to death but life sure will change a bit.

  41. I enjoyed seeing the old comments as I know my garden is ahead of last year. Last year, (at this time) the peony only had buds, this year, they are in bloom already! Time to get the bamboo stakes out again!

    Weeds galore everywhere I turn this year. They got ahead of me with my recent travels and lack of pulling. Now suffering for it and too windy to use any spray. Arg, the weeds are taking over... lol

    This weekend will be full of splitting wood for the wood shed. Just turned on the AC and now thinking of firewood. One must be prepared for anything! lol. Log splitter will be picked up from rental place today. Yippee, I can feel the back, legs and arm pain already…

  42. I came here this am and it didn't appear to have posted? Link on my blog is interupted too????
    Anyway, not much to do up her like mom said. Everything is just poking thru the ground, I noticed some Magnolias are flowering, *sigh* I want one!

  43. Great list - I needed some reminders! Somehow weeding is always at the top of the list of needs but at the bottom of the list of what I want to do. You're a month or so ahead of me, so I'll have to visit this list again when I have more to prune!

    Even though the last frost date is passed, it's so cold and windy today. I was going to put some tomatoes out but I'm scared.

    Enjoy the birthday!

  44. Weed*weed*weed -- no kidding! LOL

    You asked about the Phlox divaricata seedlings -- they are easy to spot, as they typically come up the next spring.

  45. hey tina,

    great list...i have a ? how do i divide the hostas i have>? i would like to utilize what i have. thank you. hope your garden coaching it going well.

  46. Happy Birthday to oldest son! Some great reminders here, Tina, but here in zone 5 I don't dare plant tomatoes or peppers for at least a couple of weeks. Last year it was the end of May before I got them planted.

    My May to-do list is so long I think it will stretch into June. And if the rain doesn't end soon, it may take even longer:)

  47. I think #1 on your list says it all really. Which reminds me I better get busy on my list of things to do in the garden. :)

  48. Linda (RG), Trust me, we all feel this way and find blogging can be a bit stressful at times-not from others though, from our own requirements and commitments. We all go thru stages too. The awards are part of it and are a phase newer bloggers go through. Many of the old timers know by now. I decided a long time ago not to do them. When I first began blogging I was so intimidated by all awards I saw on blogs that it made me feel not so good. I vowed this would not happen to readers here and I've stuck with it. It is perfectly normal and don't worry, these things pass. Everyone is so truly well intentioned! You got so much support because all bloggers know the real truth, we just usually don't post about it but surely talk of it when we get together. Sometimes it's like the elephant in the room. Such is life. Rewards of blogging surely outweigh any negatives and there are so many positives out there and look at all the great folks!! And I think it fine to have favorites, though I don't like that word. Some we click with, some we don't. That is perfectly okay. That is life. Nothing is ever personal and we should not ever think this, we all know each of us is different, that is a human and a good thing I think. I am pretty sure bloggers don't take it personal, I know many a blogger I've visited who has never talked with me, and that is fine. I do not mind at all. This is life. I just move on. The ones I do talk with-great! You get to know one another a bit and that is pretty neat. I know all of you and try very hard to remember those small details that affect each person. This takes time-and you need to click for it to happen. Again, not everyone has time or clicks and it is okay. Gee, I should do a post on it all and bring the elephant into view. Always my opinion of course. I've been blogging more than 18 months, even on the days my co-posters post, I blog. It is a lot and I've learned a lot. I hope I can share the garden and blog stuff with others so that they understand this is all normal. We all go thru it!

    Marmee, Now that I got my two cents in above, to divide hostas. It is not too late! Normally I divide mine when they first emerge. It is much easier to stick that shovel down and split them apart. Most hostas are up now, but with all this rain, you can still divide. The leaves may be a bit abused in the process, but the hosta will be fine. You can also divide in September here. I just divided some hostas last night myself. A great way to get more plants. I try to add a handful of bone meal (not where the dogs can get to it) or better yet, some compost to the hole.

    Thanks everyone for dropping by. Rainy like anything today. Even a bit much for me. Thank goodness for it though-supper on the table tonight-no frozen meals. The family likes that! So we better go eat!

  49. Tina,

    Okay, that's a long list. I can't handle it. I'm going on vacation on Monday. :-)

    Seriously, all good reminders. Have a great weekend with your gardening tasks.


  50. I've taken a chance here in London and planted out most of my tomatoes. It is getting so warm that they are outgrowing their pots. It is still touch and go as to whether we will have any more frost but I will have to take that chance.

  51. Always interesting to read your To-do-list. Weeding is what I've been doing a lot...every single day! Now that it's started to rain, the weeds grow really fast!
    Love the azalea picture!