May 2012 Fox Island Garden Tip

May Tip of the Month from Master Gardener and Fox Islander, Linda Dodds

Something happened to the month of March.  Instead of frolicking out like a lamb, it roared out like a lion.  And it seems like April doesn’t need to worry too much about raining to make May flowers bloom either as it’s really soggy out there.

The one sign that spring has really arrived are the blooming daffodils, camellias and grape and regular hyacinths.  Several tulips just started blooming the other day and many others are due to start opening within the next few weeks.   My apricot tree has a few blooms on it but I think it’s really time to give the tree a decent burial.  In the 20 years it has grown in my yard, it has only produced a good crop one time.  I have finally come to the conclusion that with such an abundance of plants that grow in the Northwest, it doesn’t make sense to keep struggling plants.

Sunset’s gardening book is a great resource to search for a replacement as it tells the temperature zone for plants that grow best in each area.  Another idea is if you spy a plant that is thriving in your neighborhood, chances are it will thrive in your yard too.  Just don’t venture too far away from your home on your search as there is even a big difference between Puyallup, Seattle and Gig Harbor and even Fox Island.  If you live on or near the water, you will be warmer than someone who lives inland as the water is a warming influence. Cold air travels downhill and will settle in pockets where the vegetation is more exposed.  These pockets can be real killers so if you have moved into a new home recently, it may be a good idea to live there one years before taking any risks with specialty plants.  Or an even better idea would be to hire a landscape designer to help you plan your gardens.

On days when the wind and rain aren’t pelting your windows, go outside and pull annual weeds.  Last year I was very diligent about pulling any flowering annuals and disposing of the blooms before they set seed.  I’m really surprised how few weeds have emerged so far this year.  But that doesn’t mean I can take a break as there are some WEED SEEDS that can still produce after 50 years!  That should scare some of you into going out with your rain slickers on and searching out weeds!

I am going to put in a plug for the Annual Fox Island Jeff Feagin Plant Sale to be held on May 5.  I am mentioning it now as there is a lot of interest in growing fresh vegetables in home gardens this year.  Therefore the two garden clubs and FICRA had decided to really focus on selling herb and vegetable plants at the sale this year.  All plants are started locally by island residents and will be priced comparably to store purchased ones.

Click here for more info on the Plant Sale on May 5th!

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