Memorial Day in the Garden with Mike Darcy

May 28, 2017

Memorial Day weekend is the time when I like to think that summer is finally here. There are always projects to do in my garden and my belief is that a garden is never actually ‘finished’. However, at this time in late May, much of the early spring maintenance has been done. The deck has been pressure washed, our filbert shell garden pathways have been replenished with fresh shells and most of my pots have been planted. With the winter damage of this past year, the deciduous shrubs are now in full leaf which makes it easier to see which ones need some final trimming. As I walk through my garden, I can also see bare spaces and what plants need to be removed and replaced. When I use the word “replaced” that does not mean the space will be replanted with the same plant, as I look upon the winter damage as an opportunity to try something new.

While I have made many trips to garden centers this year, the journeys are never complete. Once I have made a list of the plants that I need for the bare spaces, I then turn my attention to my pots that have not been planted and what plants I need to get for them. My list of new plant additions is not a rigid list but is quite flexible because, with each garden center visit, I know that I will see something new to add to my garden.

There are many pots on my deck and I always include some plants that will bloom all summer. Salvia ‘Black and Blue’ has been one of my favorite potted plants, because it is already beginning to bloom and will continue until fall. With pots that have been planted in years’ past, I recommend removing at least half of the old potting soil and replenishing it with new. At this time, I always add an organic fertilizer and mix it into the soil.

Finally, it looks like the weather is cooperating so we can safely plant tomatoes and other summer vegetables. Wilco has an excellent assortment of tomatoes to choose from and I suggest looking at the plant tags and selecting some that will have maturity dates of early, mid-season and late. This will extend your harvest through the season. One tomato that should be in every garden is Sungold. This small orange round globe-shaped fruit is a terrific producer all summer. It gets quite tall so be prepared to give it some support. If you have space for just one tomato, Sungold would be my pick.

Even though this is a weekend to complete different garden tasks, I always like to remind people to take the time to relax and enjoy their garden. A garden can be a very peaceful and relaxing place and too often we forget to enjoy it. So whatever your plans are for Memorial Day weekend, take some time to reflect on where we live and the bounty of riches we have.