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  • Jane Shellenberger

May 2024 Newsletter


Fernleaf Peony

The bright and bloomy month of May is here and, if you're like me, you've already got your hands way into the dirt. The fernleaf peony (shown above last week) is the first peony to bloom in my garden and has loads of character even before the flowers open. I’m eager to try some new veggie varieties this year, especially two that Larry Stebbins of Colorado Springs recommends so highly: dark green Raven zucchini and the prolific Corentine cucumber. His blog – the gardenfather.com/garden-blog – is a terrific source of vegetable gardening info.


I’ve been pulling weeds while recent moisture makes it easy, getting veggie seeds into the ground, and pruning roses and grapes. Those long gloves I won at the Garden Bloggers Fling a few years ago really come in handy.


In our print issues we always included the monthly moon phases so I’m reviving that tradition.


There’s a whole complex system of planting by the moon but the gist of it is to plant for below ground crops like beets and carrots while the moon is waning, and for above ground leafy growth and fruit while it’s waxing. I know of some local nurserymen who report much better germination rates, especially for difficult-to-propagate plants, when they take moon phases into account.


We have two new features for you this month. Indefatigably generous plantsman Panayoti Kelaidis writes about three categories of garden Phlox: the tall old cultivars that bloom in late summer, low bright groundcovers that bloom for a few weeks in April and May, and all the OTHERS - less known and difficult to find, but some spectacular plants that we should be growing.


(The combined RMC-NARGS & CCSS plant sale last weekend at Jeffco Fairgrounds was absolutely amazing for the breadth of plants offered. While many people contributed to its success Panayoti deserves special kudos for driving to specialty nurseries around the West collecting so many unusual plants for this sale - including some red phlox! See Phlox Liana at right.)


Since allergy season is here, Paula Ogilvie discusses the botany of pollen to help you understand what’s really getting up your nose. And Keith Funk answers more timely gardening questions.


Be sure to check out the Plant Sale and Garden Tour Page on our website. If you know of other sales or tours that should be listed here (it’s free) please let us know!


- Jane Shellenberger



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