Middle South

May, 2012
Regional Report

Lure Hummingbirds

Hummingbird scouts begin to arrive in March, but it's usually June before they're seen with regularity. To lure them into the garden, plant plenty of red flowers plus those that offer an abundance of nectar. Favorites include cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), red salvia (Salvia elegans), trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), and lantana (Lantana camara).

Satisfy Impatiens

Impatiens are among the top bedding plants for shade gardens and it's no wonder -- they can't be surpassed for color. They need lots of moisture, however, so consider using a soaker hose or plant them where they'll be easy to water. These annuals also thrive on fertilizer. Give them a boost at least once a month, or even more frequently when they're grown in a container.

Pick Little Fish for a Small Pond

You can put fish in a small pond; just plan for one cubic foot of water for each inch of fish (measured nose to tail). In other words, if your pond is about 8-feet square and 1-foot deep, you can add 2 or 3 small goldfish, with the idea that they will each grow a couple inches long. In a shallow pool, be sure to provide a place for the fish to hide from predators. A length of dark-colored PVC pipe or another hollow container will provide protection.

Plant Heat-Loving Seeds

It's not too late to plant flower seeds if you choose ones that sprout best when the weather is hot. Likely candidates include zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, melampodium, and gomphrena.

Know When to Water

Knowing when to irrigate can be tricky business, especially if most of your rain comes from hit-or-miss thunderstorms. Be alert for plants that wilt early in the day, as well as footprints in the grass that fail to spring back. If you see either of these signs, irrigate deeply, adding at least an inch of water to the garden.

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