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Memorial Day - Time To Plant

Sreemoti Mukerjee-Roy

Memorial Day Weekend – Time to Plant Time to Redecorate


 Memorial Day Weekend – the traditional planting season kick-off in New England is finally here.  Winter is finally gone and spring as we would like it to be is finally here. For a moment there, it seemed that this winter would never go away. Or it would just turn into damp rainy days. With soggy mud and overgrown greens. It is all behind us. The sudden onset of some balmy summer days definitely signals that  the last frost is over and the ground has warmed up enough to plant .


The perennial garden has of course been busy underground and most gardens have some mid-spring showstoppers. A drive by any neighborhood is greeted by bursts of colors as creeping phlox and pot-of gold vie for attention. The last of the lilacs perfume the air as do the first lilies-of-the-valley.  Azaleas are a riot of blooms so profuse that you can’t see the leaves. Irises and peonies are budding and the blooming in some areas and perennial geraniums, sweet woodruff blossoming their way across the ground.  And the hostas have unfurled their leaves to send out shoots that will bloom later in the summer.


This is the time to re-decorate your garden.  You already have an unlimited palette and a broad canvas to do as you please. The ground is warm and ready for change and growth. Move the plants that have grown in profusion to a patch that could do with a face-lift.  Or to add just another touch of color. Or fullness.  Fill in a gap and add depth. This is the time for bold strokes and decisions. If you have not raked the garden and cleared the late winter debris, don’t despair. Just do it gently. You will be rewarded to see a world of green!


If you started seeds indoors, now is the time to transplant outside. Water each day and watch these grow. If you love to watch little seedlings grow into full –grown plants but could not begin with seeds, you can get small sized starter plants from you neighborhood nursery. I often go for these, as these are already planting-ready. Not to mention the instant gratification I get. Although I will admit it does add some something for those very late winter or early spring days when the days just begin to get longer, and the sun stronger – the anticipation of spring, and summer to follow.  


Of course, you may have too much of the mint that you planted last year and the vinca although blooming seems a bit overgrown. As does the trumpet vine. The climbing vine can be cut back.  The mint and vinca can be distributed to friends and neighbors. Or have a plant swap. Invite like-minded fellow-gardeners to bring their bounty and over coffee and donuts make the exchanges. Or better yet, donate to your town and school plant sale fund-raiser.  A great way to help a good cause and find a good home for your greensprings!


But you can’t remember planting that strange looking thing.  Could it be a weed? Fear not. Weeds can be and should be pulled out and discarded. While some prefer commercial weed-killers, remember, these are toxic and harmful to children and animals alike.  The chemicals seep into the ground and into streams and ponds – poisoning the drinking hole for birds and animals. I for one like to dig these and where I can, tug it out with care so as not to break the plant and leave the root behind. As you know these unwelcome guests show up in the unlikeliest of places and love an extended stay!


Take heart.  This is the planting season. The soil is ready to be dressed-up.  So pull on your gardening gloves, bring out the shears, spades.  Add compost and plant food (organic is preferable). Shower with water and enjoy the plantings of Memorial Day for the rest of the season.




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