• Plenty of Gardening Choices in May for Southern Calif. Gardeners - Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at
  • Walk into any nursery during May and you can be overwhelmed with the array of flowers, landscape plants, fruit trees and summer vegetables on display. Keep focused on the needs of your garden and don't be tempted to overbuy, says Agromin, an Oxnard-based manufacturer of premium soil products and one of the state's largest green materials recycling companies.

    Ideal Month for Planting Almost Any Flower: Plant your warm season annuals in May including begonia, chrysanthemum, geranium, marigold, petunia and verbena. While annuals come and go, perennials will bring backyard enjoyment for years to come. Perennials to plant now include African daisy, delphinium, fuchsia and lavender.

    Herb Planting: If you use fresh herbs when cooking, it makes good sense to plant your own herb garden. For the price of a few cut basil leaves from the store, you can plant a small basil plant that will produce dozens of leaves through November. Other herbs to plant are chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme.

    Naturally Reduce Pests: Plenty of brands of pesticides are sold at nurseries and retail stores, many even claiming to be all-natural. To be assured you are not putting harmful chemicals on your flowers, trees and garden, try truly natural options. For example, ladybugs can control infestations of aphids (small round bugs that feed in colonies on vegetable gardens, roses and other plants). If ladybugs are not plentiful in your yard, you can purchase them at most nurseries. To keep the ladybugs in your yard instead of migrating to your neighbors, release them after dark. They only fly in daylight.

    Rethink Your Lawn: Lawn care accounts for about 32 percent of outdoor water use. With water restrictions right around the corner, now is a good time to consider alternatives to a traditional lawn. Low maintenance, drought-tolerant ground cover such as lantana and Acacia redolens and ornamental grasses including fountain grass and deer grass can easily fill in a location where grass once grew. If you can't part with your entire lawn, consider reducing its size.

    For more gardening tips, go to www.agromin.com.

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