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Mid-Atlantic Regional Reports

Mid-Atlantic: May Garden To-Do List | Regional Report

Install soaker hoses now to make summer watering easier later. Photo: Nancy J. Ondra

Spring is in full swing in the Mid-Atlantic region. Frost should be over for all areas by the end of the month, so there’s plenty to do!

Prune forsythias (Forsythia spp. and cvs., Zones 4-9), flowering quinces (Chaenomeles spp. and cvs., Zones 5-9), and other early-flowering shrubs soon after they finish blooming.

In pots or nursery beds, start seeds of biennials and perennials that don’t need chilling outdoors. These include black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia spp. and cvs., Zones 3-11), dianthus (Dianthus spp. and cvs., Zones 3-9), and yarrows (Achillea spp. and cvs., Zones 3-9).

Direct-sow summer annuals, such as cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus), nasturtiums (Tropaeolum spp. and cvs.), and sunflowers (Helianthus annuus).

Set out transplants of tomatoes, peppers, basil, and other heat-loving summer edibles toward the middle or end of the month; direct-sow fast-growing summer crops such as corn and beans.

Fill pots, planters, baskets, and window boxes with fresh growing mix, and add plantings for summer color or harvest. Clockwise from top: ‘Camouflage’ sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas ‘Camouflage’, Zone 11), ‘Christa’ heuchera (Heuchera ‘Christa’, Zones 4-9), ‘Lemon Spritzer’ cape fuchsia (Phygelius ‘Lemon Spritzer’, Zones 7-9) ‘Abbey Road’ coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides ‘Abbey Road’, Zones 10-11), and ‘Ascot Rainbow’ Martin’s spurge (Euphorbia x martini ‘Ascot Rainbow’, Zones 5-9). Photo: Nancy J. Ondra

Add fresh growing mix to pots, planters, baskets, and window boxes, and fill them with plantings for summer color or harvest.

Start cutting back late-summer- and fall-blooming perennials by about half around the end of the month. This will promote somewhat shorter, bushier growth that’s less likely to need staking later.

Nancy J. Ondra is the author of over fifteen books, including Grasses, The Perennial Care Manual, and The Perennial Matchmaker.

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