May is an exciting month in the garden. This is also the month that we celebrate our Mothers and all that they have done for us.
Mothers bring us into the world. They nurture and care for us when we are young and new. Mother’s ensure that we have the nourishment needed to grow and develop. They are there for us and help us through the seasons of life.
This is a lot like gardening. It is so rewarding to walk around a garden and to see the growth and beauty that has resulted from the caring and nurturing that has happened. The excitement of the discovery of the new flower bud that has appeared. The delight in seeing, what was a bud yesterday, is now a brilliant display of colour and beauty.
We have seen a massive increase in the popularity of growing plants in our homes as the younger generations experience the joy, freshness and enjoyment that growing plants bring to our lives. The term ‘Plant Parent’ is used by those who have embraced the wonder of nurturing and caring for plants and watching them grow and develop.
May is a fabulous time of year to add to our indoor urban jungles with a huge selection of wonderful indoor plants now available. As well as the normal great selection of lush, healthy plants to grow inside, this is the time of year to find some great plants for inside homes for the cooler months. Chrysanthemums are a great gift to thrill Mum with and are often kept indoor while flowering and then can be cut back and planted to be enjoyed in the garden. In cooler regions, Cyclamen and Cymbidium Orchids are beginning to flower.
Cyclamen love the cooler weather and will continue to produce flowers through until the warmer weather returns. They are great patio plants as the cool nights ensure flowers continue to be produced. When grown indoors, place your Cyclamen in a sheltered position outside of a night to give them the chilling factor required to lengthen the flowering season.
Cymbidium Orchids are an excellent living flower arrangement indoors. They will last much longer than a bunch of flowers and once flowering is complete, can be tucked away under a tree to be divided and repotted for future seasons once the flower spikes have completely died back. When the time comes for dividing and repotting Cymbidium Orchids, always use a specialised Cymbidium Orchid potting mix as they require a very free draining growing media.
Warmer areas of the country do not need to miss out on growing orchids with many varieties available for these areas. Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchids are stunning orchids that are available in most parts of Australia. These are very popular as an indoor feature while they are flowering. Dendrobium Orchids are another orchid that produce amazing flowers and may be available at this time of year.
There are a massive range of indoor feature pots available to grow our house plants in. With so many styles and colours on offer, there is a pot to suit every décor. When repotting indoor plants always use a premium potting mix. Rocky Point Coco Pro is perfect and will continue to feed your plants for over 12 months and contains water retention granules to make caring for your plant babies much easier.
In the Garden
In our busy worlds that are filled with concrete, asphalt and screens. Plants help us to reconnect with nature as we enjoy the delights of new growth, colour and ever-changing freshness. Growing plants indoors is great but to spend time in the fresh air of the garden is good for the body, mind and soul. There is plenty to be achieved in the garden during May as we prepare for the coming winter days.
Adding a nice thick layer of mulch to garden beds now will help keep the soil warmer, help to suppress weeds and have gardens looking great. There are a number of different mulches that can be used for this purpose.
Sugar Cane, Lucerne and Pea Straw mulches are particularly good in vegetable, herb and flower beds. With higher nutrient value and filled with organic matter, these mulches encourage earthworms to be working with us as they aerate and purify the soil.
The Veggie Garden
The planting of the veggie garden is a highlight of this time of the year. Cool month vegetables such as Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Onion, Peas, Beans, Radish and Snow Peas can all be planted now for the harvest of freshness to come.
As southern Australian states begin to shiver and frosty weather is arriving, gardeners in northern regions are planting tomatoes. Queensland tomatoes become a highly prized commodity at this time of year. If your climate is suitable, what a great time to grow your own tasty tomatoes that only need to travel from your garden to the kitchen.
There are tomatoes for almost every garden situation with varieties suitable for gardens, hothouses, shadehouses, pots and even hanging baskets. There are varieties of all shapes, sizes and colours and they are easily grown from seeds, seedlings or advanced plants. Cherry tomatoes are a favourite and produce an abundance of sweet, tasty fruit. Patio Prize or First Prize are a shorter growing variety with tasty medium sized fruit and are excellent in pots. Ox Heart or Mighty Red produce huge fruit for those who believe that BIG IS BEST.
In southern states, you will need to patiently wait until after the winter before planting your tomato plants, but there is still plenty of planting to happen. Broccoli, brussels sprout, cabbages, cauliflowers, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, radish, silverbeet and onions can all be planted now. Seed potatoes are also being planted now in many regions. Check with your local garden experts for the best advice for local conditions.
Prepare your vegetable beds before planting by digging in a high-quality compost. Rocky Point ActivGrow is a brilliant blend of organic compost, composted chicken and cow manure, blood and bone, gypsum, fish meal, seaweed extract, iron, zeolite and trace elements. Active 8 is suitable for all garden types and is ideal for preparing vegetable gardens.
Gardening in Pots
With house blocks becoming smaller and homes becoming larger, the garden for many people looks much different to the gardens of the past. The garden may be a small backyard, a courtyard or an apartment balcony. Small areas do not mean that you need to miss out on the pleasures of growing your own. There have been fantastic ranges developed of smaller growing fruiting trees that are perfect for pots and small garden spaces.
‘Lots A’ Lemons’ is a dwarf Meyer Lemon tree. It’s ideally suited for pots and containers on balconies or courtyards. It has lovely sweetly-scented blossoms with lots of full-size fruit being produced over a long fruiting season.
‘Lots of Limes’ is a dwarf growing form of Tahitian Lime that is also perfect for pots and small garden areas. Limes are an excellent source of Vitamin C and are popular in Asian cooking, drinks, seafood dishes, chicken, meats, desserts, cakes, biscuits and marmalade. Now it is possible to grow your own limes at home, no matter what your garden looks like.
There are also many varieties of dwarf deciduous fruiting trees such as Apples, Cherries, Nectarines, Peaches and Plums that will begin to arrive soon for planting during the winter months. These are excellent for growing fresh and healthy food at home in smaller spaces.
Many herbs and vegetables can be grown in pots or bowls. A selection of edible favourites planted together is a convenient way to ensure a constant fresh and tasty harvest with only a few steps to the kitchen.
Strawberries and blueberries are also excellent to grow in pots. Strawberries in hanging baskets are a fabulous way to grow these delicious delights while taking advantage of your available spaces. Blueberries are one of the most antioxidant rich foods in the world. They are packed with fibre, vitamins, minerals including Manganese, vitamin C, iron and potassium. They are so good for you and easily grown in pots at home.
The Colours of May
The days are now noticeably shorter, and the changes of the season are all around us. Deciduous ornamental trees are beginning to shed their displays of autumn foliage and the landscapes around us are being transformed. There are lots of flowering annuals to plant now to continue a fabulous colour display as winter approaches.
Pansies, violas, dianthus, sweet peas, nemesia, primula and polyanthus all love the cooler weather. Plant garden beds, hanging baskets and pots now for a harvest of colour over the months ahead. Fertilise regularly with a premium organic fertiliser such as Organic Life to ensure strong healthy plants with lots of flowers.
Enjoy your May in the garden and the celebrations of the good things of life.