Gardening May 2019

Flowering crabapple tree 2018

From Mélie’s Garden

Spring has finally sprung on Fishers Island! The daffodils are in full bloom and the shad trees are about to pop along with magnolias and cherries. The wind is still cold blowing over the water, but the intense sunlight shining through mostly leafless trees is warming up the ground so the gardening season is beginning.

The first chore in the spring is to clean up your garden beds before plants start to pop up and once they are cleaned put down mulch to keep weeds from growing. Remember weeds steal nutrients and water from your plants. This month roses need to start being fed and acid-loving plants like hydrangeas benefit from a bit of Hollytone sprinkled under them. Remove any dead wood from trees and shrubs and look for places that might need additional plantings because nurseries are becoming full of delicious plants to buy. It is still too early to put in seedlings without a lot of protection like a hoop house. Frost is still a threat until mid-May and our ocean breezes make it even riskier until Memorial Day or early June.

A week or so ago there was a wonderful article about “The Healing Power of Gardens” by Dr. Oliver Sachs. He writes about how therapeutic gardening and visiting gardens is for people. In our troubling and confusing world, it is very comforting to interact with plants either by working in a flowerbed or visiting a garden. (Click an image to enlarge.)

For centuries people have used plants for comfort and communication. It made me think of the secret language of flowers that was so popular in Victorian times. With Mother’s Day coming up this month (Sunday, May 12) a gift of flowers or herbs accompanied by a note describing their meaning might be a delightful gift that could be planted in the garden after the frost-free day in late May.

The Meanings of Flowers and Herbs

Apple Blossom – Preference
Azalea – Passion
Begonia – Fanciful Nature
Basil – Love
Calendula – Health
Chamomile – Comfort
Chives – Usefulness
Dahlia – Elegance and Dignity
Daisy – Innocence
Dill – Power Against Evil
Geranium – True Friendship
Jasmine – Eternal Love
Lady’s Mantle – Comfort
Lavender – Devotion
Lemon Balm – Sympathy
Lilac – Joy of Youth
Lilly of The Valley – Sweetness
Marjoram – Joy and Happiness
Mint – Virtue
Oregano – Joy
Parsley – Gratitude
Rosemary – Remembrance
Sage – Wisdom
Thyme – Courage
Yarrow – Healing

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