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Your Gardening Calendar - May


May in the Southern California Garden

Each month has its special joys and tasks in the garden.  Below is a suggested calendar for May.  Remember that gardening depends on the weather, so tasks, bloom season and activities may vary from year to year.


Best of Show:
§  Flowers: tree/shrub: *Carpenteria californica, Ceanothus ‘Frosty Blue’, Fremontodendron  ‘El Dorado Gold’, Heteromeles arbutifolia, Sambucus nigra ssp cerulea;  smaller shrubs: Calystegia macrostegia, Clematis ligusticifolia, Coreopsis spp, Diplacus spp, Eriogonum fasciculatum, Lathyrus vestitus, Lonicera spp., Salvia apiana,*Salvia clevelandii, Salvia leucophylla, Trichostema lanatum;  Annuals/perennials/bulbs:  Symphyotrichum (Aster) chilense, Achillea millefolium, *Aquilegia Formosa, Argentina egedii, Collinsia heterophylla, Dudleya spp., Heuchera spp., Lillium spp., *Mentzelia lindleyi, Mimulus cardinalis, Phacelia spp., Potentilla glandulosa, Sisyrinchium californicum, Trifolium spp., Triteleia laxa, Verbena spp.
§  Fruits/berries: *Berberis (Mahonia) spp, * Rhamnus spp., Rhus integrifolia & ovata – all begin to be interesting
§  Make a plan for removing your lawn, ivy patch, old tree/shrubs or other plants that need removal.  Explore methods; see about hiring outside help if needed.  This is a really good month to get started on ‘removals’.
§  Check mulch; add/renew if needed
§  Move bulb pots to cool dry place
§  Repair damaged hardscape if needed
§  From seed: collect seed from spring wildflowers
§  Riparian/pond and other Zone 3 plants from now to summer
§  Desert plants from now to summer; water
§  Direct-seed warm season sod grasses
Watering: key month to monitor soil moisture
§  Taper off water for spring bulbs when the leaves start to wither
§  Taper off water for early spring wildflowers; keep watering late-bloomers  until flowering ceases.
§  This can be a tricky month for watering – soils/containers can dry out before you know it.   So check soil moisture weekly.
§  Turn on irrigation/ begin routine summer watering schedule as soon as summer water is needed.
§  Prune to shape/train:  Ceanothus, Arctostaphylos, Carpenteria, and other flowering shrubs once they've finished blooming
§  Prune back Buckwheats (Eriogonum), mints and other perennials and sub-shrubs if they’re growing into pathways.
§  Oil and sharpen your pruners, saws, etc. – store
§  Weed out garden to prevent weeds from going to seed
§  Watch for aphids on new foliage; if not being taken care of by lady bug larvae, blast off with a stream of water or use mild soap solution (several drops dish soap to liter of water)
§  Make a May basket for a friend or neighbor
§  Take a flower arrangement to a library, nursing home or other worthy recipient
§  Make Lemonadeberry ‘lemonade’ if fruits ripen
§  Pick ripe Berberis fruits; use for jelly or other recipes; dry for tea; use for dye
§  Dry or extract flavors from native mints for year-round tea and flavorings
Enjoying the garden: major enjoying month
§  Just take it easy; days are warm enough to enjoy sitting, dining and meditating in the garden.
§  Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of a garden.
§  Take a field-trip with friends to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden or some other ‘far away’ place.  Make a day of it
§  Watch the warm weather vegetables grow; some may start to flower in warmer gardens.
§  Try a new recipe using something grown in your garden





1 comment:

  1. I really like your calender of what to do. It is very helpful and fitting for our climate. Beautiful pictures and a great resource!