The Garden Helper

Helping Gardeners Grow Their Dreams since 1997.

No-dash-here, you've found The Real Garden Helper! Gardening on the Web since 1997

A Flame Violet in Bloom, Episcia dianthiflora
A Flame Violet in Bloom, Episcia...
Plant of the day

Flame Violet Episcia dianthiflora

Trailing, 6" relative of the African Violet from South America. Requires constant warmth and humidity, bright indirect light and should be planted in a porous, peaty potting mix. Keep soil moist at all times. Hardy in zones 10-12

Term of the Day

Bonsai

The art of growing carefully trained, dwarf plants in containers.

More definitions

Gardening, Flowers and House Plant Care

Spring is finally here!

There are 26 days and 7 hours left until Summer! What should you be doing in your garden right now? Check our May gardening guide here.

Spring Gardening - May

Wow! Is Spring is really here?

Wild Willy the Garden Helper The month of May is a time when the weather can either turn your garden into an Eden, or a wasteland. Be aware of the weather forecasts and trends.. Stay aware of your local weather forecasts, trends and warnings. The USDA hardiness zone maps are based on past years average temperatures, and can't predict a freak frost or snowstorm, or a prolonged spring drought.

If a frost or freezing weather is in your forecast, protect your tender plants with a mulch, newspapers, light cloth or some type of overnight protection or a frost cap made with a roll of poly film tented over the plants.

Be sure to remove the plastic tent as soon as the danger of frost is over
or your plants will bake in the sun.

If your weather is sunny and dry, don't neglect your watering! Most flowers and shrubs need about an inch of water each week to perform well, and especially newly planted seedlings will perish if their roots are allowed to dry out.

Bugs and Slugs in the Garden

In some areas, warm winter weather could produce an exceptionally good crop of mosquitoes in many gardens. Aside from the usual precaution of eliminating sources of standing water or using chemical methods, there are many types of garden plants that repel mosquitoes.

Here in the Pacific Northwet, the worst garden pests right now are the slugs and snails...
and they are busily propagating themselves!
A single lawn prawn can successfully remove an entire row of seedlings from your garden in hours. He can turn a perfect plant into swiss cheese over night and return to the safety of his hideaway, leaving you to wonder what the heck happened...
Here is more information than you ever wanted to know about dealing with the slugs and snails that are eating your garden.

Shrubs and trees

A Pacific Rhododendron with Pink Flowers, Rhododendron macrophyllum
A Pacific Rhododendron with Pink Flowers,...
It's still not too late to fertilize your trees and shrubs. Use a 'Rhododendron' or an 'Evergreen' type of plant food to feed evergreens and acid loving plants like Rhododendrons, Camellias, Azaleas, and Junipers, etc. Use an all-purpose garden fertilizer (10-10-10) to feed roses, deciduous shrubs and trees. Be sure to water the fertilizer in thoroughly after it is applied.

Early flowering deciduous shrubs such as Forsythias, Weigela, and Spiraea should be pruned back when they have finished blooming. Cut back a third of the oldest canes to ground level, then cut back one third of the remaining branches by one third of their height. Remove the wilting seedheads from Rhododendrons and Azaleas, so that the plants energy can go to foliage growth and next years flowers, rather than seeds.

Work lime in the soil around your Hydrangeas to produce pink flowers or Aluminum Sulphate for blue. Remove any sucker growths from fruit trees as soon as they appear. Keep a vigilante eye on the roses. Keep them sprayed for aphids and other pests and diseases such as black spot.

Pines and other conifers can be kept to a compact size by pinching off the new growth 'candles'. Lilacs should be pruned lightly after they finish blooming, removing sucker growths and dead blooms.. Feed lilacs in May with a good all purpose 10-10-10 fertilizer after they have finished blooming. If your soil has an acidic pH, work a little lime into the soil as well.

Inspiration in the Garden

May is also a time of gardening inspirations and dreams. Look around yourself and notice what your neighbors are growing in their gardens and what they are creating in their landscapes. Think of how you might utilize some of their ideas along with your own brainstorms to make your garden just a lil bit better.


Gardening for Beginners

If you are a new or less experienced gardener who wants to start a new garden for the first time, I suggest that you begin here...



Search The Garden Helper: