Even late spring can be deceptive. It often seems as though summer has arrived, yet in cold areas there can still be severe late frosts. Take local climate into account before planting any frost-tender plants outdoors. Even with experience it can be a gamble as an untypical season might produce surprises. Judging when frosts are no longer likely is mainly a matter of assessing risk.
It is a good idea to watch when summer bedding is put out in the local parks. These gardeners will have amassed generations of local knowledge of your area, which is by far the best guide.
When buying potted lemon trees (actually shrubs, pruned to whatever size you want, unless you have the space to let them take off), keep them under glass for a while. They dislike a sudden change of temperature. Spray them regularly to provide humidity, and stand them out in a warm sheltered position next month. Removing the flower buds on young plants diverts the plant’s energy into stem growth and leaves. After a couple of years, start to let it fruit.
As the water warms up, algae will proliferate. Selectively weed it out, leaving some for the tadpoles to hide and feed in. Meanwhile, introduce new plants into the pond, and provide larger containers for established plants where necessary.
Treat your lawn now for lush, healthy growth all summer. Overseed patchy spots and mow high to give new grass a chance to get established. Or consider reducing the size of your lawn and replacing lawn space with a combination of flowers and vegetables. Then love the lawn that’s left. Lawns should be mowed at 3 inches high after the middle of May.
To get new border plants off to a good start, dig a large planting hole and remove any weeds. Most plants also benefit from some well-rotted compost amongst their roots. By the time the whole garden has been planted out, all the beds should have been considerably enriched.
Perennial Flower Bed
Late spring is the time of growing for the perennial flower bed. By mixing bulbs, annuals and perennials, you can create a space that pops in color from early spring through fall. A number of perennials are mingling among the tulips by late spring as the others are starting to grow. These include the blanket-like, tiny white or pink blooms of creeping phlox, the pink buds that turn to blue trumpets of the Virginia bluebell, the smaller crested iris that’s perfect for shade, lungwort, prized as much for its foliage as its small pink, white or blue blooms, and the favorite viola which is often treated as an annual.
Annuals provide color from the time of planting into early fall, depending on type. Inexpensive, easy-to-grow and gorgeous, annuals are great for changing the look of your garden from year-to-year and filling in around those bulbs and perennials. Be sure of your growing zone and when the last chance of frost is likely when planting annuals. With shallow root systems, many annuals cannot survive a dusting of frost. Covering beds with a blanket overnight in the danger of frost can protect. Early-blooming annuals that will give quite a show in late spring include petunias, marigolds, violets, snapdragons, nasturtium, sweet pea, sweet William and pansy.
Murraya paniculata in late spring