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May gardens

May 15, 2020
By ANN BLOCK - Garden Club of Cape Coral ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The Garden Club of Cape Coral would like to share our deep appreciation of Jean Shields and Joyce Comingore for writing our articles in The Breeze for many years. They both deserve our love and admiration as we have all enjoyed their insightful and educational weekly features!

The Garden Club of Cape Coral is proud to continue our articles and in the coming weeks several of our Master Gardeners and other members will be writing about Southwest Florida Gardening.

Today, let's talk about things to do in your May garden. Plant your annual flowers for a pop of color in your summer garden. An annual is a plant that completes its lifecycle in one growing season. Annuals offer a variety of flower color and a splash of color anywhere in your home, your dock, patio, deck, porch or lanai. Check your local nursery to see what is new and fun. Before you shop for your annuals, make sure to check sunlight ... some plants tolerate full sun all day, others do best with morning or filtered sun. Always choose compact plants with unblemished leaves and lots of flowering buds.

Here are some of the most common summer annuals in Southwest Florida ... Impatiens, Caladiums, Celosia, Gazania, Gerbera Daisies, Ornamental Cabbage (flowering Kale) and Salvia. These plants can be used for filler plants or as accents in your flower boxes, planters or hanging baskets. These seasonal plants make great additions to walkways and an added pop of color under trees. When you plant new flowers, water immediately and soak the ground around them. Pruning annuals is important to the growth of your new flowers. Deadheading or pinching your expired flowers will help your annuals produce more flowers. It has been an unusually dry spring so make sure to hand water your plants daily after you've planted. Water for a month if there is no rain. To reduce the chance of fungal disease, water the soil not the plant foliage.

If you haven't done so yet or if you fed your plants in early spring, please feed them again at the end of May. Have you done your spring trimming? Fast growers like hibiscus will grow fuller and create more flowers if you cut them back now.

The big box stores have had great prices on mulch. Add new to refresh your existing mulch. Two major reasons mulch is so beneficial in your garden ... it helps your soil absorb rainfall and keeps moisture in your soil!

Take a trip into your garden every day. Weed continuously and check for pesky insects. An insect infestation on a few plants can be controlled by picking insects off by hand or in case of disease, by removing infected leaves. Dawn soap and water works well by filling a spray bottle with water and a teaspoon of blue Dawn soap. For severe infestations contact our local UF/IFAS Extension office for recommendations or take a picture and bring to your local nursery.

But more importantly, enjoy the colors, fragrances and peace a garden can bring. I'd like to leave you with this from Alfred Austin: "The glory of Gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul."

Happy gardening ...

Ann Block is President of the Garden Club of Cape Coral.



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