May Garden ‘To Do List’

Claudette Sims – Halton Master Gardener

  • Pollinator Gardens  – Plan to add native plants that sustain birds, butterflies, bees and other insects. Check out  Recommended Plants for a Pollinator Garden for ideas! Buttonbush (see photo below) is a fantastic butterfly plant and a wonderful alternative to non-native Buddleia.
  • Perennials  – Cut back leaving 6” (15 cm) stems for solitary bees. Cut stems can be stacked at the back of flower border or against a fence. Divide or transplant perennials as needed when growth resumes. Hellebores may benefit from tidying up and removal of dead or damaged leaves.
  • Prune roses when the forsythia are blooming. Here’s a good pruning video.
  • Tomatoes –Start seeds indoors; monitor seedlings for growth and re-pot if necessary.
  • Corn–sow corn seeds when oak leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear!
  • Trees – Inspect trees before they leaf out for scale, fungus or other disease. Check these links for fruit trees diseases and magnolia scale.
magnolia scale
Magnolia Scale
  • Spring bulbs – Take photos of your spring garden so that you remember which tulips are producing small blooms and need dividing and areas that might need some spring colour next year.
  • Lawn – Wait until your footprints are no longer visible before working on your lawn. Rake up loose/dead grass and top-dress lawn with 1/2 inch (2 cm) fine textured compost; over-seed bare spots in the lawn when lilacs bloom. If it’s too cold seed may rot. Areas with moss indicate soil has been compacted and nutrient level is likely low. Aerate and treat.
  • House Plants – Increase watering and feed, preferably with an organic fertilizer. If the soil is drying out quite quickly between watering, it may be time to re-pot, one size larger. Note: Hoya & Nile lily (Agapanthus) flower when slightly pot bound, so re-pot these less often.
  • Hummingbirds – arrive early May, so put out your feeders or better yet, plant hummingbird friendly plants. More info about plants and feeders at Gardening in Canada.
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