Gardener’s Log – May 2021

May 1st

Well, May 1st is meant to be naked gardening day. First, the likelihood that it would be warm enough for that makes it very unlikely. Second, that may be fine for doing a little weeding, but clearing new ground – probably not a good idea. So, I did the second best thing – I went shopping!

I needed some edging material to go around Whimsey Way so decided to pay the Oregon Decorative Rock company a visit. Even if I didn’t find something suitable, there was other research to do there. I always need basalt for retaining walls, so I knew the trip would not be a waste. As it was, I picked up some quartzite blocks. They are about 1 1/2″ thick and has some nice colors. I think it will do fine. I also needed something for the mulch that will go in the row of succulents along the boardwalk. For that I selected a white crushed rock that is less than 1/4″.

Now, there is not way that the car is not coming home completely full! Even after getting food from two Asian grocery stores and some stuff from home depot – there was space on the back seat and so had to stop in a nursery. Picked up a couple of small banana trees (already planted), a staghorn fern – see if I don’t kill this one, and some other wonderful additions to the collection.

May 18th

Finally, in the middle of May, April has arrived. Temperatures in the low 50s, showers, but mostly sunny, no wind – this is what gardeners have been waiting for! It is planting time!! That, plus the local hardware store may be calling any minute to say they have two yards of bark dust on their way for me. Nothing like a deadline to make you get something done. A Callistemon ‘Cane’s hybrid’ has been planted in the Garden of the Giants. It will be the anchor plant in the first main detour that the boardwalk makes. In years to come, once it has matured a little, it will look obvious why the boardwalk makes a detour rather than going straight. Some Artichokes that Jesse grew from seed have gone behind the giant Alliums.

In the cutting garden, a couple of Sunflowers have gone in – Red Courtesan and Lemon Queen. The dahlias continue to get eaten every time them manage to grow a bit. Poor things. I am wondering if I should cover them with some light fabric until they become a little more established.

Gondwana had a couple of casualties over winter. The Protea repens that I grew from seed disappeared. I think deer probably took a munch on it and uprooted it. It has been replaced by Protea neriifolia x magnifica. A little lower down by the steps, Helichrysum coralloides (just learned that this is no longer its correct name – it is now Ozothamnus coralloides) now occupies an awkward spot in the steps and wall. A new Banksia replaces Birthday Candles that was struggling. Banksia spinulosa ‘Stumpy Gold’ now commands that front row seat.

May 30th

Unfortunately, not a lot has been happening in the garden this month. Each weekend has been wet – which has been great for the garden, but not so much for the gardener. In addition, getting a house ready for sale is a huge time hog, especially when everything in the house has to go.

But there are a number of things blooming in the garden and the dogwoods are putting on a nice show. We look down on them most of the time which maximizes the coverage of the blossoms – which are technically bracts. The blossom is that small bit in the middle and those large white ‘petals’ are modified leaves.

Cornus 'Venus'
Cornus ‘Venus’

Weather Summary

Unfortunately, Weather Underground is showing a large gap in our May data, so it is difficult to get a comparison. Last May, the high was 89.4, low 41 and average temperature 54.8. We had 5.39″ of rain, 1.4″ of that came in one storm at the beginning of the month and the rest was evenly spread.

This May was definitely cooler with many fewer days where we reached 60F. The high of 70.3F was on the last day of the month and the average was 51.5F – more than 3 degrees cooler. Total rainfall was 2.65″, only half of last years total. Winds were much higher all through the month, which is partly the reason for the cooler temps as the on-shore winds picked up much earlier this year.

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