Coming upon Memorial Day for sure the time has come to plant the garden. The official frost-free date for northern Ohio is May 30th which does not always hold true as on June 15, 1972, a frost occurred in Hartville, Ohio and some other areas. Warm ground temperatures of at least 55ºF play an important part in seed germination and the success and rapid growth of heat loving vegetable plants such as tomatoes and peppers. Addition of organic matter to the soil add to the tilth of the soil and manure such as sweet peet and composted cow manure add nitrogen to the soil for use by plants. Then too, microbes thrive that are beneficial in protecting plants from root pathogens as well as improving soil tilth and nutrients.

At the nursery, flowers, hanging baskets and vegetable plants remain in good supply.

In Wolf Creek Botanical Garden to the north the creeping phlox mass of color is beginning to fade as lush new growth comes out.. The color fading from the blooming phlox is replaced by the color of rhododendrons with the fuchsia red of Nova Zembla (shown below), white of catawbiense ‘Alba’, light purple of ‘Boursault’, and the pink-lavender of English Roseum’ and lilac-colored ‘Caroline’ which all thrive in the garden’s sandy gravely soil in the wooded knoll. As their beauty fades, color again will radiate from the garden with splashes of Mountain Laurel and the Rosebay rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum) that blooms in June The display in early to mid June reminds me of the state park Cook’s Forest near Clarion, Pennsylvania and the adjacent 500,000 acre Allegheny National Forest. Come to the nursery to see our new displays of shrubs as more become available from back stock with even more that will come on for early summer.

While Memorial Day is the traditional start of summer, actual summer does not begin until the summer solstice on June 21st. Let us hope for and inch of rain once a week and temperatures that will not exceed 85ºF. Wishful thinking, perhaps!