Can you believe May is here already? May is traditionally our busiest month with vegetable and summer flowers leading the charge. I am hoping we have a nice long spring before the real summer heat arrives. The weather has been almost perfect lately and the nursery has been busy.
A lot of you plant a vegetable garden this time of year. Availability is very fluid here, selling out of certain varieties one week and then having them again the next week. Getting everything you want might take a couple of trips to the nursery. This week we are out of some of the cherry tomatoes, eggplant and pole beans but hope to have more this week or next. You get the idea. We are doing weekly seed orders to keep up but still misjudge what we will need for the week. This week our annual rack with begonias and coleus is looking quite bare after the weekend and 3 of our deliveries don’t come til Thursdays in spring.
Remember that vegetables and annual flowers gobble up fertile soil so it is very important to amend your beds before planting. Green-All Soil Booster is good for this. Some of you have mentioned poor fruit set last year on your vegetables. Try putting more calcium into the soil. You can do this with lime or oyster shell. We also stock Kelzyme, an excellent source of calcium and other trace minerals. This year I will be replenishing my beds with it along with the Soil Booster and E B Stone Worm Castings. We also carry two forms of liquid calcium for foliar feeding.
Now that the weather has warmed its time to think about getting those frost tender annuals planted. You know the ones…zinnias, marigolds, impatiens, coleus, morning glories, and sunflowers. Zonal geraniums are always popular, along with the cutting grown petunias, callies, gerber daisies and alstroemerias. All available now. It’s also time to go through your irrigation system and make sure it is working properly. Monitor for insects. Those pesky earwigs can eat your young starts down to nothing overnight if you aren’t paying attention and this is the month they can become a real issue. (We carry Sluggo Plus just for them.) You can go ahead and prune and shape your spring blooming shrubs like quince and forsythia after they have finished flowering. If you have not fed your plants yet then do not delay. Plants put on their biggest spurt in spring and need food to reach their potential yearly growth.
Our metal order from Rustic Arrow just arrived and we have restocked with the ever popular pot hangers just in time for Mothers Day. The roses are beginning to bloom and the deco pot Sunblaze miniature roses usually are in color for the second weekend in May. (Hint: Mothers Day.) The Korean lilacs are blooming and I noticed the rockrose is starting along with the Mock Orange. The Barberry continues to amaze me with its colorful leaves and the deciduous Viburnums, along with Azaleas and Hydrangeas are looking prime.
A lot of you have been looking for snapdragons this spring and so far our suppliers have not been growing those workhorses of our local gardens, other than the low growing varieties. I am a little surprised by this but they must need table space for other things like geraniums and petunias, not to mention tomatoes and basil. Look for Angelonia, aka the summer snap, which should be available soon. Other great taller growing flowers include guara, agastache, jupiters beard, salvias and bee balm.
A customer recently came in saying she had orange and black caterpillars all over her passion vine. I know the Monarch caterpillars will feed on passion vine and though I do not know if that is what she had it brings up a good point. A lot of the butterfly decline can be attributed to the loss of habitat and this includes food for them to eat while they are in the caterpillar stage. Just think twice before you get out the spray and be aware of just what you might be killing. Now as far as I am concerned aphids on roses are a different story but still here at the nursery we do not spray other than with a forceful stream of water to wash them off and an occasional ladybug release. We do try to keep stocked on ladybugs all season. Other beneficials in stock now are beneficial nemetodes for soil pests and praying mantid egg cases.
Plan on spending time outside in the evenings? This is the time we get a lot of requests for mosquito repelling plants. These include lavender, geraniums, lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemon grass, and lemon verbena. A little pot of lemon verbena on my patio table goes a long way, although I find I need to caress the plant with my hands and apply the scent to my exposed skin to get the desired effect. Consider planting more silver and grey foliage and white blooming flowers to add more interest to the garden after dark. These will show up better in your solar, moon or conventional lighting at night. Silver or grey foliage include lambs ear, bush teucrium, artemisia, cape blanco sedum, some sages, a few butterfly bushes, some lavenders, and russian sage. White flowers include alyssum, white phlox, shasta daisies, white lilies, white cosmos, Iceburg roses, white begonias, and guara. Oak leaf hydrangea would be a good choice too as they usually have flowers for most of the summer.
Houseplants and succulents have been very popular. We are always looking for something a little different and right now we have some crinkle edged birdsnest fern and a sansevieria that looks more like a bromeliad. We just saw a unique little succulent that looks a little like a pony tail palm. We plan on getting those in for something different. We also have assorted tilias (airplants) in stock again. As always we try to keep a well-stocked table of succulents in the back of the nursery. Some are cold tolerant and some are not so be warned.
Looking around the nursery we have a lot of plants. I would like to sell down on our fruit trees, kiwis and wine grapes this month, so I am going to put them on sale. With the late spring, we also want to sell some of the petunias, calibrachoas, verbena, and lobelia we grew from cuttings for a discounted price. Look for the ‘Our Choice’ mixed flats of 10 perennials and save approx 20% off regular price.
- Buy 3 bags Green-All 2cf Organic Potting Soil 4th FREE
- Plant of the Month-Hops 20% Off while supply lasts
- Stone and Pome Fruit trees-20% 0ff
- Kiwis and Wine Grapes- 20% off
- ‘Our Choice’ Flats of 10 ‘perennials’
Plant of the Month
Need a fast growing seasonal covering for an arbor or a trellis. Hops are a great choice. Very fast growing, they will provide much-needed shade in the summer and since they need to be cut to the ground in winter, will allow for sun when you want it. Leaves are lobed and the hop flowers form in late summer. They look like light green cones, actually bracts, and emit a piney fragrance and have been used in beer making for flavoring. The tender top shoots can be cooked as a vegetable too and they attract butterflies. Hops require regular water to look their best and a sunny location. Unfortunately, I did not find them on the deer resistant list. We have two cultivars available in liner pots, Cascade and Centennial. These are on sale this month.