Second Quarter Checklist for the Atlanta Garden

 

April

Photo Karin Guzy

Plant summer flowering bulbs like lilies. Remember that stalks of foliage will remain when flowers are past.

  • Have the soil tested by the Extension Service before embarking on a fertilization program. Many perennials, especially natives, need little supplemental fertilizer, so long as they are planted in good soil.
     
  • Resist the temptation to plant annuals before the last frost date.
     
  • Stay on top of early sprouting weeds before they overtake the garden. Hand weeding early in the season will prevent annual weeds, like chickweed, from setting seed that will produce next year's crop.
     
  • Apply a granular pre-emergent to prevent weed seeds (and any seed) from germinating. Avoid using it where self-seeded summer annuals (like Cosmos, Cleome, Torenia, or Melampodium) are desired.
     
  • Watch for aphids on tender new leaves and petals. Before resorting to insecticides, try flushing them away with a strong burst of water.
     
  • Reapply a two to four-inch layer of pine straw, shredded pine or hardwood mulch to slow the growth rate of weeds and help retain moisture.
     
  • Apply glysophate (Round-Up, Finale) to unwanted grass or weeds.
     
  • Transplant and thin out seedlings
     
  • Create breathing space for your perennials. Divide established perennials when they are 3 to 4 inches tall. Cut back taller plants before dividing. Plant divisions in newly amended soil. Peony and iris should not be divided until fall.
     
  • Edge the entire garden. You won't believe what a difference it makes.
     
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs, such as lily and gladiolus, every two weeks.
     
  • Cut back some stems in the front part of perennial clumps such as Monarda, Phlox paniculata, and Baptisia, to stage a succession of bloom.
 

May


  • Insects are multiplying! Watch for aphids, white flies, spider mites and scale. Contact the Georgia Cooperative Extension office if you need advice about diagnosing or treating problems.
     
  • Wait patiently for late-emerging perennials to appear, such as Begonia grandis (hardy begonia), Platycodon (balloon flower), and Liatris (blazing star).
     
  • Look for Helleborus seedlings and move them to fill gaps or to share.
     
  • Pot unwanted divisions and seedlings for GPPA's swap and sale, held in the parking lot at McElreath Hall, before each monthly lecture.
     
  • Begin pinching back fall bloomers, like Joe Pye weed, goldenrod, and chrysanthemums.
     
  • Add 1-2 inches of rish top dressing around perennials. Add fresh mulch, if needed.
     
  • Continue weed control.
     
  • Stake tall plants before they need it.
     
  • Deadhead blooms to prolong flower production.
     
  • If seeding annuals and perennials, start staging bloom by planting at two to three week intervals from the back to the front of the bed.
June
  • Time to fertilize and water well. Remember to avoid the plant's center.
     
  • Plant more dahlia, canna and gladiolus.
     
  • Spray insecticide in the early morning or late evening to avoid plant burn.
     
  • Feed and prune azaleas after they bloom.
     
  • Deadhead butterfly bush all summer and cut back spent stalks of ground-hugging spring bloomers like candy-tuft and dianthus, to keep them tidy and encourage reblooming.
     
  • Continue to tip-prune fall bloomers like Mexican Sage to encourage branching. Root cuttings in a mixture of sand and vermiculite.
     
  • Be prepared for the attack of the Japanese Beetles. and picking works well as a method of control if the garden is patrolled regularly.
      
  • Water the garden long enough to soak deeply. Frequent light watering is not recommended because it promotes shallow root growth. Wet foliage and flowers promote disease.
     
  • Do not overwater. Plants only need one inch of water a week and many can live with less.