Keeping May Flowers Blooming

“April showers bring May flowers,” says the old adage. Those “May flowers” come in all sorts of varieties and may have started blooming in April, depending on your region. They range from perennial bulbs – like daffodils, tulips and irises – to spring stalwarts, like peonies and hyacinth. Following good gardening practices, including appropriately mulching with compost, can keep your May flowers bright throughout the month and productive for many springs to come.

A freshly mulched garden.

Spring flower gardening has a lot to do with managing moisture. The April showers that bring all those May blooms can quickly give way to near-summer heat. Mulching your flower beds helps manage moisture in two main ways. First, mulch helps keep the soil cool. Spring-blooming flowers thrive under cooler temperatures. Second, mulching helps the soil retain moisture. Applying mulch in early or mid-May, after a round of spring rains, can help that keep moisture stay in the soil and even reduce the need for watering.

Compost from your compost pile or compost bin is often incorporated into garden soils during spring planting. But compost can also be used to mulch around spring flowers, a great way to help retain moisture and help keep weeds from competing with your flowers for soil nutrients. Spread about one or two inches of compost, or two to three inches of other mulch, in the beds. Be sure to pay attention to mulching requirements for different flowers. Mulching too close to the crowns of some perennial varieties may actually promote damage to the plant.

Mulching flower beds will also keep weeds at bay for flower varieties blooming in later May, like bluebells and summer snowflake. And, if you’re digging new beds this spring for future blossoms, incorporating plenty of compost into the soil will help prepare the way for brilliant May blooms in the years to come.

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