One of our members, Tom Liggett, produces an outstanding garden blog each month. Here is the full text of his most recent entry, with links to other entries below:
May Day Baskets
The giving of May Day baskets is a lost, charming tradition of celebrating spring’s arrival by giving beautiful spring flowers and letting others know how much you care for and appreciate them. Lift the spirits of loved ones, friends, neighbors, co-workers, health caregivers and the elderly with these gifts of spring.
Once very popular in England during the 19th and 20th centuries, giving a May Day basket is wishing the recipient good health and abundance, and reminding them to celebrate the new life from spring’s arrival. Historically; you place the May Day basket at the front door of the person’s home, ring the doorbell and quickly run off before you are seen. You don’t want to get caught!
You can put a card in the basket with your name or make it anonymous and leave them wondering, (I like that idea!)
Creating an attractive flower garden on your property is usually a series of small projects that come together as one idea.
Roses should definitely be included in the garden plan. Consider landscaping factors such as amount of daily sun, wind direction, drainage and whether you want a cottage or formal look. Companion plants should either blend in or contrast with these roses and have the same growing requirements such as watering and exposure to sun.
Roses need love! Roses also need the right location with at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight, sandy loam soil and good drainage. The soil where roses are planted always needs amending with compost and some manure. Fall is the best time of the year to prepare for spring planting of new roses. Winter allows the breakdown of nutrients into the soil making it ready for new plants. Don’t forget to amend the soil around existing rose bushes and use a granular slow release organic fertilizer. Work the amendments around the plants, being careful not to damage the roots. Fertilize in the spring and 2 to 3 times during the growing season.
Always buy disease resistant varieties from a reputable dealer and make sure your selection will survive our USDA Zone 5 winters.
Climbing roses have no tendrils to cling to a structure, so they need to be tied to a trellis or fence to help them maintain their shape.
Hybrid tea roses are a good choice for cutting and bouquets. Choose roses carefully and they will last for many years.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” William Shakespeare
How do you know you are a gardener?
~There is a decorative compost container on your kitchen counter
~You would rather go to a nursery to shop than a clothing store.
~You prefer gardening to watching T.V.
~You plan vacation trips to arboretums and public parks.
~You can’t wait for that first tomato, hopefully in June.
~Dirt under your fingernails and calloused palms are a matter of pride.
Supporting your garden into summer
Summer is just around the corner, and we are already experiencing warm temperatures. As we get ready for another growing season, it’s time to revisit feeding your plants through their stages of development. Before adding any nutrients to your garden, a soil test is recommended. Most of us don’t want to spend the $20 or so that a test costs, but it is a valuable tool.
Soil tests can be performed at your county extension office. I have my soil tested every other year.
Seedling Stage: In the earliest stage of growth, after the plant’s mature leaves start to emerge, plants need nitrogen for root growth and leaf development.
Budding and flowering: As plants grow and establish, a diet high in phosphorus is important for their development.
Throughout the Growth Cycle: Potassium supports overall health, disease resistance and encourages growth. It should be made available to plants throughout the growing cycle.
Named for the Roman goddess Maia, who oversaw the growth of plants.
The birth flower for May is Lily of the Valley. Meanings: Love and appreciation, while other meanings depend on color. The meanings of Lily of the valley can vary from love, passion, beauty and perfection.
While the Mother’s Day that we celebrate on the second Sunday in May is a fairly recent development, the basic idea goes back to ancient mythology—to the long ago civilizations of the Greeks and Romans.
The Greeks paid annual homage to Cybele, the mother figure of their gods, and the Romans dedicated an annual spring festival to the mother of their gods.
In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill designating the second Sunday in May as a legal holiday to be called “Mother’s Day”—dedicated “to the best mother in the world, your mother.”
It is no longer observed as a legal holiday, but church services are held in honor of mothers, living and past.
Cannas (Canna spp) are a genus of beautiful, easy-to-grow plants with showy flowers that come in red, pink, yellow, orange and cream. Canna leaves are wide and long, resembling banana leaves. Leaf colors are green, bronze and multi colored. Most cannas can grow to 6 and sometimes 8 feet tall. Cannas grow from rhizomes, which are underground stems. In our Northeast Ohio climate the rhizomes must be lifted in the fall and stored over winter, then replanted in the spring. They can take a few weeks to sprout, but grow quickly and usually flower the first year. The foliage is very tropical in appearance and brings a unique element to home landscapes.
Cannas should be planted in full sun in rich, moist, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic PH of 6.0 to6.5.
Cannas are native to South America, Central America, West Indies, Mexico and Southeastern United States.
In the garden, plant canna rhizomes horizontally about 5 inches deep and cover them with a thick layer of mulch. Don’t let the soil dry out. Leave about 2 feet of space around the rhizomes as they don’t like to be crowded.
Canna leaves have a waxy coating that helps the plant resist fungal diseases. They are also generally resistant to pests. You can get a head start by starting them in pots indoors. Move them outdoors once they are actively growing and all danger of frost has passed.
Cannas are heavy feeders, so use plenty of compost and slow release fertilizer. Feed monthly throughout the growing season.
Gardeners of greater
Annual Geranium sale
Faith Lutheran Church
2726 W. Market Street
Fairlawn, OH 44333
May 7, 9:00 a.m. -8:00 p.m.
May 8, 9:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m.
Geraniums, hanging baskets, annuals, tomato plants, perennials
Proceeds are used for scholarships
for horticultural students
A Garden Oasis
A bird bath is a good addition to any landscape. Birds are attracted to the sight and sound of falling or moving water. Some water features have bubblers, misters, sprayers and waterfalls. Birds will use these for drinking and bathing. I have seen several species of birds at the waterfall on the water garden that you would never see at a feeder. Place a bench or seat nearby and the birds will eventually become accustomed to your presence if you are quiet and still. Be sure to keep the water source clean and filled.
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