Getting ready for summer


Ray Baird



BUILDING THE NESTS FOR A SUMMER OF BIRDS

The month of May is the season of activity for all types and colors of birds. They are now building nests in trees as well as birdhouses. It is a welcome sight to view more bluebirds making nests in our area. One of the main reasons for many of them arriving in the area is the fact that many homeowners are providing birdhouses for them. Many birds such as the cardinals are building nests closer to where people live and this is enjoyable. As you watch the birds build their nests take note of where it is, so that this winter at Christmas time you can retrieve it and place it in the Christmas tree after adding a coat of varnish to it. Keep birdbath, and feeders filled to attract birds to your home and make it bird-friendly.

PLANTING THE ZINNIA, AMERICA’S MOST COLORFUL FLOWER

A row or bed of zinnias adds beauty and color to any landscape. The seeds of the zinnia also provide for finches, butterflies, and many species of birds. We often wonder why botanists have not developed a blue zinnia like they did the green “envy” zinnia. If they can ever succeed, the zinnia would come in every color of the rainbow! Zinnias are easy to grow and they thrive in every type of soil. When planted in rows or beds close together, they form a colorful carpet of beauty. One of the most beautiful of zinnias is the majestic purple and the subtle lavender. Zinnia seeds are the actual petals of the zinnia, and a packet has more seed than it appears on the package. A packet usually costs around $1.59 you can buy individual color packets or multi-color packets.

ORGANIZING THE SHED OR OUTDOOR BUILDING FOR SPRING

During the winter season, the outdoor building becomes a gathering place or storage area for all things. Now that spring has arrived, we can organize the building and place things in the order of spring. All garden tools need to be placed in the order that they will be needed. Allow enough space at the front of the building for a bale of peat moss, and a 50 pound bag of lime and a scoop to distribute the lime and peat moss to a small bucket to apply when planting the garden.

BRING THE FERNS TO THE FRONT PORCH AND DECK FOR SUMMER

One of the most wonderful things about ferns is you can prolong their life and beauty all year long by wintering them over in the den or living room. The ferns in winter also make pretty Christmas décor when adorned with small ornaments and candy canes. Another great thing about ferns is that they can be trimmed and shaped with a pair of scissors. The old fashioned Panda fern is beautiful and Christmas-like with small needles. The asparagus fern is tender mint green and thrives through a mild winter but we have started wintering ours in the living room just to be on the safe side. During this first week of May, we will move these ferns to the deck and porch and trim them to get them ready for the spring and summer.

MAKING LIVELY HANGING BASKETS FOR SUMMER

Usually hanging baskets lose some of their vigor and color long before summer ends, but you can change this situation by planting one Boston fern in each basket. As they continue to grow they can be trimmed back or allowed to cascade over the basket. Water these baskets several times a week and fertilize with a drink of liquid fertilizer every ten days.

A SHARP BLADE MOWS GRASS EAISER AND BETTER

The green grass of spring is moist and tough and needs a sharp blade to mow through it. It makes the grass easier to mow and also makes the mower run better and makes push mowers easier to push. Surely a sharp mower blade will increase the lifespan of the mower and maybe, just maybe, increase your lifespan.

THE SEASON TO PLANT KNOCKOUT ROSES

The most practical and easy to grow of all rose varieties is the Knockout. They don’t spread all over the place or grow tall with large canes like many roses but are hedge-type in their growth pattern. They produce plenty of blooms from spring until late summer and they winter well even in extreme temperatures. The bushes cost around twenty dollars and come in colors of red, white, pink, and yellow. Our goal for spring 2016 is to replace the rest of our roses with Knockouts.

THE WONDERFUL COLORS OF THE JOSEPH’S COAT

Known mostly in today’s flower world as coleus, the old-fashion Joseph’s Coat was a favorite of my grandma in Northampton County as she raised them in a metal wash top with holes punched in the bottom of it. She raised her plants from seed that she ordered from Burpee Seed Company. She did not transplant them in the tub until she allowed the plant’s leaves to develop enough so she could tell what color combinations they would be. What a pretty sight that tub was when all those plants covered the tub with a rainbow of colors. Burpee still sells these varieties today and you can order or purchase them locally.

MAY ALMANAC

The moon will be new on Friday, May 6, 2016. Sunday, May 8, 2016 will be Mother’s Day. The moon reaches its first quarter on Friday, May 13, 2016. Pentecost will be celebrated on Sunday, May 15, 2016. The moon will be full on Saturday, May 21, 2016 and this moon will be named “Full Flower Moon”. The moon reaches its last quarter on Sunday, May 29, 2016. Memorial Day will be Monday, May 30, 2016.

“BLACKBERRY WINTER” IS NOW IN PROGRESS

We saw our first wild blackberry blooms on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 and we think they are almost two weeks early this year. On this day, we also saw the arrival of the hummingbirds! The arrival of blackberry blooms heralds “Blackberry Winter” and it will last for a couple of more weeks and bring a few more cool nights (but no frost or freezes). We can expect warm, comfortable nights after May 15, 2016 with warm soil for setting out the bulk of the tomato plants.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! REMEMBER MOM, SUNDAY

Sunday will be Mother’s Day. Take mom out to dinner, give her a break. Buy a special personal gift, something just for her, but just remember the most valuable gift you can give is time spent with her. Flowers say more than some words and express love long after the event if those flowers are those that she, alone can plant and remember when they bloom. Buy her a Knockout rose bush

Ray Baird has been providing gardening tips to the community for years and can be reached at 336-969-9350 or at BSylvia1946@gmail.com.

http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_Ray-Baird.jpg

Ray Baird

comments powered by Disqus