May mornings in the south are the most stimulating experiences a gardener can enjoy. It is such soul feeding satisfaction to walk through the garden at sunrise on a misty morning and drink in the delightful atmosphere of the awakening plants.
Flower Shows: May is the month of flower shows… exhibitions to many, displays to others! Whatever they are called, the enthusiasm is usually very contagious and generates interest in gardening as nothing else does. This is the month of peak bloom across the southern part of the US. The first spurt of spring beauty unfolds in all its glorious magic and makes plant lovers realize anew that the art of gardening is really worthwhile.
Most flower shows are sponsored by garden club groups, but even though a person is not an active member, entries may be made in certain classes. Garden clubs have done much to raise standards in horticulture and flower arrangement. Most gardens in the area are ready to supply show specimens by mid-May. Watch for local publicity on shows in your area and for a truly thrilling experience, exhibit for the fun of exhibiting!
Roses: The first lush crop of blooms will come the last two weeks of May, and such dazzling beauty! To me, the first rose of spring is always much more fascinating than “The Last Rose of Summer”? Watch for leaf beetles and aphids during this period of bloom. Both are easily controlled and present no real problem to the average gardener. The regular spray program will control these pests. The old culprit, of course, is blackspot! Regular ten-day spraying with a good fungicide will control this with little trouble.
Blackspot is different from those house plant bugs you see in your plants. They are more dangerous than those normal bugs.
Plenty of water during this period is absolutely essential as each bloom requires a large amount. Be careful not to wet the foliage of roses… especially in late afternoon as this is an invitation to blackspot. For those of you who do not know blackspot, it is a fungus disease that first appears as patches of yellow tissue on the leaf surfaces, usually centered with an irregular-shaped spot of dark tissue. The fungus spreads rapidly under moist conditions and causes the plant to lose its leaves. This, of course, is detrimental to the plant. Control is by using a recognized fungicide, such as Captan, every ten days.
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