Your May/June Gardening Checklist
– Pinch back pansies and snapdragons to prolong bloom season. Also, pinch back the blooms from new annual starts.
– Do not cut back narcissus foliage, but rather allow it to turn brown and die back naturally. This is how the bulb refuels itself.
– Prune spring flowering shrubs and vines after they bloom.
– Begin planting caladium tubers when nights and days are warm.
– Plant gladiola, dahlia, and canna bulbs.
– Lay sod for St. Augustine and Bermuda grasses.
– Last chance to sow seeds of sunflower, zinnia, morning glory, marigold, cosmos, and periwinkle.
– Mulch your beds well, but remember not to cover the new seeds you have sown or they will not sprout. Fine shredded hardwood mulch, available at your local nursery, lasts longer than pine bark and doesn’t float away in heavy rain.
– Fertilize roses with NutriStar Rose fertilizer every four to six weeks.
– Be sure you have sufficient mulch on your beds. It will keep the moisture levels in soil even and the roots of your plants cool.
– Plant spider lilies.
– Plant summer annuals such as celosia, amaranth, marigolds, periwinkle, portulaca, purslane, salvia, begonias, copper plant, penta, and lantana.
– Plant fall blooming perennials.
– Continue feeding roses every four to six weeks.
– Watch for black spots on roses and treat immediately with Fertilome Systemic Fungicide.
– Fertilize flowering plants with a high middle number (phosphorus) fertilizer, such as ColorStar plant food to keep blooms coming.
– House plants enjoy a breath of fresh air when moved outside in the summer, but protect them from a dramatic light change by putting them in a shaded location; even sun-loving plants can burn outside if they are accustomed to being indoors.
Specific brands for products listed on this page are available at North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Rd. 214-363-5316.
The Buzz on Bees
There are 10,000-20,000 bee species, the most widely known being bumblebees and honeybees. Honeybees live in hives or colonies, which may house from 20,000 to more than 100,000 bees. Hives include one queen, hundreds of drones, and thousands of worker bees. The queen bee is female and creates all offspring for the hive. Worker bees are also female, but they do not breed. Drone bees are male and do not have stingers.
Honeybees are essential to the food production industry. Each year, bees pollinate 95 crop categories, with an estimated $10 billion value in the United States alone, and Texas produces five percent of all U.S. honey. The average American consumes over one pound of honey a year. To make one pound of honey, worker bees fly 55,000 miles and tap two million flowers. In her lifetime (approximately 20-30 days), a worker bee will produce only 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. With the exception of the relatively rare African swarming bee (known as the killer bees), bees are not dangerous and should not be exterminated.
Sweet! Local beekeeper Mark Brady has 6,000 hives that produce two grades of honey, retail and bakery grade (used by General Mills and Kraft). His line of PURELY TEXAS HONEY is sold at area Wal-Mart locations. Large quantities are available by calling him directly at 972-937-5464. Honey from the NORTH DALLAS HONEY COMPANY is available at many area stores including Simon David, 7117 Inwood Rd. 214-352-1781. BURLESON’S HONEY out of Waxahachie was established in 1907 and has grown to one of the top ten brands in the United States. Recipes are listed on the company’s website, www.burleson-honey.com.
Check It Out
Wayside Gardens has introduced two new varieties of echinacea (coneflowers). Sunrise is a beautiful clear yellow a heretofore unheard-of color in the species. Sunset is an equally outrageous orange. If the unusual coloring isn’t enough, they are also very fragrant. Check the company’s catalog or www.waysidegardens.com for availability.