May is a magical time in the garden. The threat of frost has passed, and the days are warm enough for us to get out and get our hands dirty. Tender spring blossoms have awakened our desire to tiptoe among the tulips; but they are ready to give way to the warm weather garden of our dreams.

If you are new to gardening (or just a little rusty), your first stop is the county extension agency, followed by a local nursery. Factors such as soil composition, amount of sunshine the garden area receives, and gardening ability determine which plants are best suited. A pro can give you the advice you need to succeed.

Wondering what might be in store for your May garden? We have some ideas for what to get growing so that your summer season is lush and beautiful!


Now is the time to get those summer annuals in the ground. Pretty scaevolas, verbenas, zinnias, begonias, and angelonias will add lots of color to your flower beds through the season. Place them between those perennials that have yet to make their appearance for a garden that pops all year long.

Ornamental Grasses

Consider dedicating some of your yard space to tall ornamental grasses. They will cut down on your mowing and add beauty to the space. Plume Grass or Bulbous Oat Grass will add drama, both to your landscaping and indoor floral arrangements. Most prefer a spot that gets abundant sun. Many grass varieties are prone to spreading; so take care to surround them with mulch, further decreasing your mow zone!

Fruits & Vegetables

If you plan on growing some produce, it’s high time to start planting. Transplants and seedlings of peppers, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and watermelons should be ready to roll. Make use of companion planting to save space and improve your yield. For example, set dry bean seeds among corn to fix nitrogen in the soil. They can use the stalks as a natural trellis, taking another item off your summer to-do list.


Herbs are becoming a popular substitute for many home gardeners’ old standards, and for good reason. They are so fragrant and often just as beautiful as more traditional garden plants. Plus, they are useful in the kitchen! Lavender, basil, dill, mint, fennel, chives, oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme... Let your culinary interests and preferences steer your herb planting.

Old-School Plantings

Looking for a challenge this year? Contact your favorite nursery or extension agent to learn about some native plants that are due for a resurgence. Growing native plants can be beneficial to local wildlife while promoting biodiversity. An added bonus: They often require little care, as they are uniquely adapted to growing in our area.

Posted on 2020-05-11 by By Amanda Harper