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                                          Image result for clip art woman planting flowers                                                         Image result for clip art woman planting flowers

 

             OVER THE BACK FENCE-MAY 2017

“In the spring, at the end of the day, one should smell like dirt!”  ~ Margaret Atwood

 

Simple pleasures-sweeping the last winter detritus from the deck, sitting on a deck chair to soak up the warming sun for the first time this spring, washing windows, putting winter boots in storage, waking to the cheery robin’s song –these are the small moments that comprise a happy life! I am quite certain my robin is saying,” Get up and come out to the garden-it’s glorious out here today, and besides, the grosbeak family has arrived!” Well, maybe not, but then again, maybe...if the cardinal can squawk at my window when the feeder is empty, who knows? The grosbeaks are arriving, along with turkey vultures, great blue herons, brown creepers, ospreys, and migrating hawks. Juncos have departed for their summer homes in the far north, after wintering in our “balmy” winter cities. Chipmunks have once again begun pestering my faithful hound. Mr. Skunk has already practised his late night stinky “poofs”; our local red squirrels have taken over and ruined a SECOND birdhouse and raised a new family! We are once again braking for geese on the road- yes, spring has arrived! We decided it was time for some new abodes for our actual birds, so have erected a few more-we now have 5 houses for rent, plus a bee house! The birds are telling me that it is high time we got the fountain operational again, as well!

Speaking of signs of spring, did you know that rhubarb is actually a veggie, and the tomato is actually a fruit? The knowledgeable gardener is aware that tomatoes are fruit, but she is wise enough to know not to put them in a fruit salad!! By now, early rhubarb is appearing at markets, and asparagus is soon to follow.

In the flower garden area, you have likely potted up dahlias, elephant ears, begonia, canna and calla bulbs, indoors; continue to monitor them until May 24, then plant outside, with your other annuals. Mine are happily taking up way too much space in my guest bedroom! Don’t try to plant tender flowers outside before then- they will not thrive until the ground temperature is around 17 degrees, and they might even freeze- such is the hard truth in our city!

Veggie gardens can be worked up and augmented with compost and peat moss now. Early veggies such as peas, leaf lettuce, carrots, radishes, and spinach can be seeded now- they love cool weather. Dutch Sets- little green onions-to-be- are perfect row markers for the veggie garden.

When your Easter lily has passed its prime inside, plant it in the garden as a perennial. Other bulbous arrangements such as daffodils and hyacinths, can be stored until fall, then planted outside for spring flowering. When daffodils and tulips have finished blooming in the garden, remove the spent flower, but leave the leaves until brown, to nourish the bulb below.

Once warm spring days are here, take your indoor tropicals out on the deck, and give them a good, gentle hosing down to wash off the winter’s accumulation of dust; they will thank you for it! While you are at it, stir up the soil, add a bit of fresh compost, and fertilize. Don’t leave them outside too long, though, as the warming sun could burn their leaves.

If you do all these things, I promise that you will sleep well this month-but you can rest assured that the garden will richly reward you for your efforts!

Yours in gardening, Lynn Near

 

UPCOMING EVENTS:

MAY 13-GUELPH HORT. SOCIETY PLANT SALE- AT THE MARKET- COME EARLY!!

 MAY 6;11 to 5-- MCCRAE HOUSE POPPY DAY-AT MCCRAE HOUSE, WATER ST.

MAY 23 –GUELPH HORT. SOCIETY FINAL MEETING UNTIL FALL –KAT GRANGER- HYDRANGEAS DEMYSTIFIED.

MAY 27- MASTER GARDENERS’ PLANT SALE- EXHIBITION ARENA-DIVISION ST.