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Practical Gardening Monthly

Hello Gardening Friends!  Let's celebrate the gorgeous month of May!  The sun is warming, the birds are chirping, the flowers are opening, and the garden is growing again ... at long last! 

Read on for gardening inspiration, fun flower facts, a handy May Garden "To Do" list, and see what's new and blooming at ...

"The world's favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May."

Edwin Way Teale

Latest Flower Chick Posts
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Plant Zone 5 / 6 Fruit Trees

If you think fruit trees are only for folks living in warmer climates … read on and discover hardy fruit-bearing trees that thrive in our cold winters!

There are a variety of zone 5 & 6 fruit trees to choose from. Actually, quite a few fruit trees need a certain number of cold days in order to produce fruit.

Choose from apples, cherries, figs, peaches, pears and more ...

Discover Them Here
How To Attract Monarch Butterflies To Your Yard

Learn how to draw these regal beauties to your garden. The best habitat for Monarchs includes both nectar plants and host plants. Both are necessary for Monarchs to produce successive generations ...

Explore Butterfly Magnets

May Garden "To Do" List:

  • Plant any perennials in your gardens now! Now's the time to plant these workhorses that give us beautiful blossoms, fantastic foliage, and a repeat performance year after year.
  • Clip off faded blossoms when daffodils, tulips, and hyacinth are finished flowering. Allow leaves to naturally turn yellow; as they do so, they're storing food vital to next year's flower show.
  • Plant warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and begonias, after your region's last average frost date. As a rule of thumb. I always plant annuals after May 15th ... wait until after Mother's Day in Zone 5b.
  • Continue to plant trees, shrubs and roses. But don't plant bare-root types after the middle to end of the month. They need cool, wet weather to take off and thrive.
  • Plant tubers and summer blooming bulbs; such as iris and daylily can be planted fairly early in the season and not be bothered by cool soil. Tender bulbs, like dahlias, gladiolus, tropical cannas and caladiums, will prefer to wait until later spring when the soil is quite warm.
  • Apply a preemergent weed killer, such as Preen, to your flowerbeds and borders.  This prevents seeds from germinating and dramatically cuts down on weeding chores later in the season.
  • Divide summer- and fall-flowering perennials. Try to tackle the task before plants reach 6 inches tall. Don't forget to water newly transplanted divisions!
  • Wait until the final frost date has passed before putting seedlings of heat-loving veggies, like eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, or okra, into the garden.
  • Deal with those dandelions Continue pulling them out by hand or spraying them.
  • Consider aerating your lawn. For most lawns, it's helpful to do this every two or three years, depending on your foot traffic, soil, and grass type. Bone up on dog friendly grasses and organic lawn maintenance.
Travel To Midwestern Gardens

Need a little gardening inspiration? Looking for some cheer and vicarious travel?  Get inspired by the Midwest’s beautiful botanical gardens, arboretums, and other stunning natural attractions! Join us as we visit these wonderful Zone 5 & Zone 6 sites.  Next up ... Lilacia Park in Lombard, IL known for spectacular lilacs and colorful tulip displays.

Follow along and plan your own trips … you’ll even find a guide of local attractions to enjoy in the various towns and cities. Come back often as we keep adding new posts to our Illinois Gardens , Indiana Gardens, Iowa GardensMichigan Gardens & Wisconsin Gardens categories.

Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

This is a must see when visiting eastern Iowa! This Hawkeye state gardening Zone 5 gem features over 60 types of gardens ranging from roses, hostas, English style, Japanese, herbs and more spread among 56 acres …

Indiana Dunes & Friendship Botanic Gardens

Friendship Botanic Gardens is a local treasure … an oasis of formal gardens mixed with nature trails tucked in an old-growth forest surrounding Trail Creek in Michigan City, Indiana. 

Rockford IL the City of Gardens

My three favorite gardens in the Rockford area are Anderson Japanese Gardens, Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, and Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens. They all offer so much beauty and things to see!  Peaceful, photo-worthy and enjoyable in all four seasons. 

Visiting Wisconsin's Boerner Botanical Gardens

With a dozen themed gardens, all blooming at different times of the year, Boerner always offers something new to see each time you visit. Gardens include the Rose Garden, Shrub Mall, Annual Garden, Herb Garden, Daylilly Walk, Rock Garden and Peony Garden.

Do you like sharing stories?

Is there a botanical garden, arboretum, or nature area you love and would like to see us feature?  Please share below ...

Tell Us About Your Favorite Garden

What's not to love about pansies? Not only are they one of the first signs of spring in garden centers, but their endurance to cold weather makes them a staple in early spring containers.

Did you know ... 5 Fun Facts About Pansies!

  1. Pansies Are Edible - Pansies are a good "go to" edible flower for cake decorating and cocktail garnishes.  You can eat both the blooms and the leaves.  They are high in vitamins A and C. The flavor is minty.  Wonder if they'd work in a Mint Julep?  ; )
  2. Pansy Perfume? - Some pansies have a delicate perfume-like aroma.  Pansies tend to exude more fragrance in early morning and dusk. The yellow or blue pansy flowers seem to have the strongest scent.
  3. Pansy or Violet? - These cheery blooms look similar to violets, but there's a visible difference between the two. You can tell a pansy from a violet based on how many petals face upward and downward: Pansies have four petals facing up and one petal facing down, while violets have three petals facing up and two petals facing down.
  4. Pansies are the February Birth Flower - Purple pansies are some of the most popular, which plays off the hue of February’s birthstone, the amethyst.
  5. Pansies Were Used in Fortune Telling -The legendary Knights of the Round Table looked for omens and signs in the petals of pansies. If a pansy petal had four lines, there was hope for the future. If the lines leaned to the left, someone’s life was at risk. 

Full Flower Moon

May’s full Moon, known as the full Flower Moon, occurs on Thursday, May 7.  For the best view of this full Moon, step outside on the night of Wednesday the 6th and look for that big, bright, shining lunar disk!

Thanks for reading!!  I hope you enjoyed the May newsletter.  Take care, stay safe, and I'll see you in June with more tips and inspiration for your gardens. Looking forward to warmer weather, blooming roses, fragrant flowers, fluttering butterflies, and visiting more botanical gardens! 

~ Laura a.k.a. Flower Chick

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