May is for Mowing, Dividing Mints & Marsh Marigolds!
Photo and Aritcle: Dawn Pettinelli, UConn Extension
We New Englanders have had a long, cold winter through early spring. The plentiful moisture and chilly temperatures these past few weeks have stimulated growth of our cool season turf grasses like bluegrass, fescues and perennial ryegrasses. Once the turf reaches 3 inches in height, it is time to start mowing. Never remove more than one third of the grass blade when mowing for a healthy lawn.
Divide and Conquer Mints Now
Mints add a touch of scent to the garden and flavor to teas, cookies and other culinary treats. Some are quite lovely with their crinkled, shiny or variegated leaves. The only problem with mints is their desire to take over the world. Not everyone has a spot where they can roam. Now is a great time to get clumps down to a manageable size. One option is to dig up the clump and divide but another could be using a soil knife to cut a circle around a portion of the mint plant that is to be kept, loosen the surrounding soil and pull out all the unwanted runners. Plants can also be kept in contained beds or large sunk in the ground containers but these too need to be divided every couple of years.
Cheer Up With Marsh Marigolds
Passing by wet areas the huge leaves of skunk cabbage and bright gold blossoms of marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) can now be seen. The yellow flowers actually resemble buttercups more than marigolds but supposedly this was a flower used to honor the Virgin Mary and hence the marigold name. At one time it was used for medicinal purposes but all parts of the plant can be a strong irritant so just enjoy the sunny blooms.
If you have specific pruning questions, gardening queries or pest problems, check out our website, www.ladybug.uconn.edu or call the UConn Home & Garden Education Center (877) 486-6271 (toll-free in CT). Your local UConn Extension Centers are also listed on the website.