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Monthly garden tasks may


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Monthly gardening tasks for May for gardeners in western Los Angeles County.

Monthly gardening tasks for May for gardeners in western Los Angeles County.

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  • 1. May in the Southern California Garden Each month has its special joys and tasks in the garden. Below is a suggested calendar for May. Remember that gardening depends on the weather, so tasks, bloom season and activities may vary from year to year. Best of Show:  Flowers: tree/shrub: *Carpenteria californica, Ceanothus ‘Frosty Blue’, Fremontia ‘El Dorado Gold’, Sambucus nigra ssp cerulea; smaller shrubs: Calystegia macrostegia, Clematis ligusticifolia, Coreopsis spp, Diplacus spp, Eriogonum fasciculatum, Lathyrus vestitus, Lonicera spp., Salvia apiana,* Salvia clevelandii, Salvia leucophylla; Annuals/perennials/bulbs: Symphyotrichum (Aster) chilense, Achillea millefolium, *Aquilegia Formosa, Argentina egedii, Collinsia heterophylla, Dudleya spp., Lillium spp., *Mentzelia lindleyi, Mimulus cardinalis, Phacelia spp., Potentilla glandulosa, Sisyrinchium californicum, Trifolium spp., Triteleia laxa  Fruits/berries: *Berberis (Mahonia) spp, * Rhamnus spp., Rhus integrifolia & ovate – all begin to be interesting Planning:  Make a plan for removing your lawn, ivy patch, old tree/shrubs or other plants that need removal. Explore methods; see about hiring outside help if needed. This is a really good month to get started on ‘removals’. Hardscape/General:  Check mulch; add/renew if needed  Move bulb pots to cool dry place  Repair damaged hardscape if needed Propagation:  From seed: collect seed from spring wildflowers Planting:  Riparian/pond and other Zone 3 plants from now to summer  Desert plants from now to summer; water  Direct-seed warm season sod grasses Watering: key month to monitor soil moisture  Taper off water for spring bulbs when the leaves start to wither  Taper off water for early spring wildflowers; keep watering late-bloomers until flowering ceases.  This can be a tricky month for watering – soils/containers can dry out before you know it. So check soil moisture weekly.  Turn on irrigation/ begin routine summer watering schedule as soon as summer water is needed.
  • 2. Pruning:  Prune to shape/train: Ceanothus, Arctostaphylos, Carpenteria, and other flowering shrubs once they've finished blooming  Oil and sharpen your pruners, saws, etc. – store Weeds/Diseases/Pests:  Weed out garden to prevent weeds from going to seed Edibles/Crafts:  Make a May basket for a friend or neighbor  Make Lemonadeberry ‘lemonade’ if fruits ripen  Pick ripe Berberis fruits; use for jelly or other recipes; dry for tea; use for dye Enjoying the garden: major enjoying month  Just take it easy; days are warm enough to enjoy sitting, dining and meditating in the garden.  Take a field-trip with friends to the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden or some other ‘far away’ place. Make a day of it  Watch the warm weather vegetables grow ; Some may start to flower in warmer gardens.