Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association


May, 2006
Regional Report

Use Your Compost

Is your compost bin brimming? The vegetable and fruit discards, leaves, and grass you started composting last year are probably ready to fertilize your plants. Even if the top of the pile isn't ready, dig down because you may find crumbly humus at the bottom.

Guide the Climbers

Have the perennial vines -- Carolina jasmine, bignonia, and honeysuckle -- come undone? Locate the vine stems and prune off the dead, brown tips above a node (where the bud joins the stem). Separately attach and/or rewind each stem on the fence post, trellis, or arbor using pieces of twine or plastic-coated or foam-coated wire.

Support the Young

To keep peonies, poppies, alstromeria, phlox, and other droopy plants upright, support them with metal plant rings, connecting stakes, or a web of stakes and string. Install supports while plants are small and young. As the season progresses, the leaves and stems will grow up through the grids or between stakes and string. Maturing flower stems will stand tall, and no one will notice the supports.

Water New Trees

The tree you transplanted last year is still recovering from transplant shock. It takes three to five years for a newly planted tree to adjust to its new location. Help it along by continuing to water the roots frequently, deeply, and slowly. Use a slow trickle from the hose, a "bubbler," a Gator bag (green plastic bag that fits around the trunk and seeps water), or a bucket with holes.

Think "Hummingbirds"

The ruby-throated hummingbird is migrating north from Mexico and Central America, so clean, fill, and hang up those hummingbird feeders. Using a soft brush, thoroughly wash feeders with hot or warm water. Fill with four parts water to one part table sugar -- not honey or artificial sweetener. Watch, enjoy, and be sure to clean and refill feeder every three to four days.


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