Happy Mother’s Day weekend! Most mothers love fresh-cut flowers, a live rosebush, a special tree or beautiful container garden. The best gift might be helping them dig a new flowerbed, planting their existing flowerbeds either as a surprise or while visiting together as you work in their yard and garden.
Mother’s Day is right in the middle of the big spring planting season so we can plant most everything over the next few weeks and enjoy good success in the Oklahoma garden. We all know this is the best season to plant our color annuals to liven up the full growing season.
The sooner you plant your annuals the more they will grow and the more flowers and beauty they can bring into your life and yard before freezing next November. This includes everything from petunias, geraniums and begonias to impatiens, periwinkle, sweet potatoes, marigold, zinnias and hundreds of other great annuals. I love to add perennials to my landscape to provide seasonal color and to be a key part of the landscape that will come back year after year. Perennials won’t flower as much or as long as the annuals but they will often add great bursts of color and excitement for several weeks, every growing season.
This is a great time to plant trees and shrubs in your yard and landscape. They act as the foundation or anchors for our landscape and get bigger as the years go by. The sooner you plant a tree the sooner you can start enjoying the shade and cooling it will add to your yard in addition to the beauty and aesthetic impact they will make to your property.
Our night-time temperatures are finally warm enough to plant most all of our warm-season vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. You can also plant cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, summer squash, pumpkins, okra and even the hot-blooded sweet potatoes that are growing so rapidly in popularity.
Don’t forget to water your new plantings thoroughly after planting and regularly as needed. Most plants need water equivalent to an inch of rain each week. This varies a little depending on your soil type, the plants being planted, the amount of protection from blowing winds and other factors. You need to watch your plants for cries for water like wilting or bright green foliage turning a dull or grayish green. Water delivery choices have improved dramatically in recent years. You may want to consider soaker hoses or even more efficient drip irrigation instead of the usual overhead sprinklers and hand watering.
Container gardening continues to rise in popularity as more people lift their “planting holes” up out of the ground and into all kinds of containers. Container gardening opens up the full gardening experience to folks in apartments and condos as well as conventional homes and yards. You can grow annuals, vegetables, perennials, grasses, shrubs or some combination in virtually any container or hanging basket you can imagine.
Remember the larger the container the more soil media is used and the easier the container gardens are to care for and manage. The smaller the container, the more often you will need to water and care for that container garden.
If you are blessed to still have your mother alive, please spoil her with flowers and plants this weekend as you spend time in person or on the phone to say thank you and share memories.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there, including my own remarkable mother, Marjorie Moesel.
Rodd Moesel serves on the Oklahoma State University Agriculture Dean's Advisory Committee. He is a former president of the Oklahoma Greenhouse Growers Association. Email garden and landscape questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.