- Sow tomato and pepper seeds indoors this month. Try some new varieties.
- Buy potted herbs and grow them on a windowsill while you wait for spring.
- Resist the temptation to remove the winter mulch around tender plants. They need protection from hard frosts still to come.
- Patch bare spots in the lawn.
- Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Shop early while the supply is at its best.
- Remove mulch from around rose bushes. Prune and fertilize now. Plant new rose bushes.
- Take pictures. Spring-flowering bulbs are at the peak of their bloom.
- Working wet soil will only compact it. Don’t dig!
- Make a May basket. Lilacs should provide plenty of inspiration. Prune them (and other spring-blooming shrubs) after they bloom.
- Remember your mom. Mother’s Day is May 13th. Buy her a flowering shrub, and plant it for her.
- Plant annual flowers in the garden and in containers.
- Start your engines. It’s time to mow.
- Go bananas -- tropical bananas, cannas, and caladiums flourish in summer gardens in the Central Midwest. Plant them now.
- Paint the garden furniture. This year, try a bright hue.
- Tuck labels discreetly next to plants, or save them for your garden notebook.
- Take the day off and go on a garden tour.
- Roll out the grill and spruce up patio plantings for summer parties.
- Stake tomato and pepper plants. Water them well -- once a week, if it doesn’t rain.
- Mulch around trees in the lawn to protect them from being bumped with the lawn mower.
- Plan ahead. It will soon be time to plant fall crops.
- Plant lettuce, spinach, radish, and mustard seeds for a long fall crop.
- Water dogwood trees this month if it doesn’t rain. They’re forming flower buds for next spring.
- Pinch the spent flowers of marigolds, zinnias, and other annuals; they’ll keep blooming until frost.
- Hang up a hummingbird feeder; hummingbirds are starting their fall migration.
- Look for spring-flowering bulbs at garden shops. Buy them now while the selection is at its best, and try to plant by Thanksgiving.
- Plant pansies and violas as soon as they’re available.
- Fertilize cool-season lawns twice this fall -- near Labor Day and then around Thanksgiving.
- Plant trees and shrubs this month, and water well after planting.
- Divide peonies. When you lift an old clump, divide it into at least three new plants to stimulate growth.
- Pick the last tomatoes now -- before they get a frost on them. Fried green tomatoes are traditional fall fare.
- Spread compost on flowerbeds and use it as mulch around trees.
- Dump autumn leaves on the compost heap.
- Visit a botanical garden and make a note of plants with great fall flowers and foliage for your own garden.
- Plant paperwhite narcissus bulbs in a dish filled with gravel. They will bloom three or four weeks after planting.
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