The cool nights have given way to warmer nights and much warmer days. The displays of roses, hydrangeas, flowering vines and perennials in May are the best of the year. If you have done a good job at garden design and followed the basic principles of good gardening techniques, you are going to be well rewarded this month! If you are lucky enough to have an outdoor living space no doubt you have been spending time there knowing that this is the best weather of the year.

Top things to do in May

• Enjoy all of the beautiful plants continuing to come into the nurseries from growers – nurseries keep their inventories high through May. 

• Complete spring plantings of perennials, summer annuals, rose bushes, shrubs and trees. 

• Ideally, this is the last month to plant ball & burlap trees, so they have a chance to tolerate the summer heat…of course you can plant throughout the summer, but this will require more work on your part. 

• Convert your containers from spring flowers to those that will endure the summer heat. 

• Check out my pinterest board on plant pairings and window boxes… 

• http://pinterest.com/terrydcarlson/garden-plant-pairings-combinations/ 

• http://pinterest.com/terrydcarlson/garden-window-boxes/ 

• Tips for your window boxes: 

o Repeat and harmonize color with the color of your home 

o Choose the right plant…size matters – don’t plant something that will grow to tall – combine plants that require similar light, moisture and temperature 

o Pick the right window box 

o Consistent care is a must – they are essentially a garden in a box…so they dry out quickly 

• Review the placement of your perennials and edit as necessary – are sunny perennials getting enough sun – if not move them to a sunnier spot – likewise for shade loving plants. 

• Apply a dose of ironite for greener lawn. 

• Check for suckers and dead limbs in your trees – out they go! 

• Secure climbing roses and vines – they will grow twice as fast – don’t let them languish on the ground or flop around in the wind. 

• Apply slow release fertilizer to flower beds and containers. 

• Monitor your water based on the weather – don’t leave your irrigation system on auto pilot – take control for better results and water conservation. 

• Enjoy the surrounding gardens and neighborhoods, as this is definitely one of the most beautiful months to see various plants and shrubs showing off their season’s best. 

Best of the Season

• Everything is green in shades only seen this time of year 

• Roses, hydrangeas 

• Flowering vines – clematis, jasmine, cross vine 

• Early Summer Flowering perennials – penstemmon, scabiosa, huechera, daisies…and so many more 

• Japanese Maples 

• Outdoor Living!

Who could possibly be inside when this charming outdoor area is just waiting to cuddle up in?

I really try and use the same elements in my outdoor living spaces as my indoor living spaces…blue and white is perfect inside and out…and never goes out of style.

Classic, comfortable, and just waiting for you.

The smell of a fire is perfect anytime of the year...and helps with chilly Spring evenings.

Another example of an outdoor living that feels like an interior room. 

Beautiful mix of perennials, white carpet roses and Nepata blooming now. 

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

Those of us living in many parts of the country have been blessed with ample rainfall during the past two months. Those February and March showers have ensured a verdant and glorious spring season. This is the first Spring I have ever seen where the quince, forsythia, daffodils, redbuds, tulips and wisteria all bloomed at the same time…really beautiful…but now it’s all over! 

March was just beautiful this year…and April is looking emerald green and all of the roses and clematis are getting ready to burst open with their glorious and fragrant flowers. 

• April is the perfect month to plant your summer color, refresh your containers and window boxes, and update your garden with new plantings and trees…. Planning and the right gardening in April can give way to months of enjoyment during the upcoming summer months

Top things to do in April

• Plant with confidence – no worries about frost. 

• Begin the transition from your spring containers to summer plantings. 

• Getting your summer plantings in by late April to mid May will give you stronger plants – this will allow them to thrive during the hot months of July and August. 

• Spring plantings of perennials, annuals, rose bushes, vines, shrubs and trees are in full force. 

• Several trips to the nursery are surely on your agenda - I once went to a nursery 5 times in one day….obsessive – Plant Hoarder – Yes! 

• Take photos of your containers to the nursery t help you plan out which plants to purchase. If you took photos of your containers last year at the end of the year when they should have looked their very best – that can also help when purchasing plants for your containers. 

• Secure climbing roses and vines – they will grow twice as fast – don’t let them languish on the ground or flop around in the wind. 

Best of the Season

• Flowering trees like Redbud, Whitebud, Crab Apple 

• Roses 

• Flowering Vines like cross vine, wisteria, clematis, jasmine 

• Flowering shrubs like viburnum and snowball and spireas 

• Green fescue and rye blends of grass 

• Perennials – Salvias, Dianthus, Creeping Phlox, Woodland Phlox, Violets

A beautiful mix of heucheras, silver mound artemesia, gold grass - texture and color!

Beautiful “May Night” perennial saliva and “Firewitch” dianthus – look at the contrast with Goldmound Spirea and Angelina sedum – hard to beat that chartreuse color with the strong purple of the salvia…this is color contrast at its very best …

English Garden design...love this! 

Another example of color and texture...your can see understanding of the color wheel here...

As good as it gets...climbing roses, nepata and gold mound spirea


Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

The unseasonably warm weather continues throughout the country and especially here in Oklahoma, and my new bare root roses have arrived from David Austin, so nothing left to do except begin the Spring garden ritual….and I’m ready! We are beginning our march into Spring though we will have some frosts to contend with so exercise caution with new tender plantings. Now is the perfect time to install new landscape plantings – trees, shrubs and bare root roses – hardy perennials are ready to go in now as well. 

Get busy, do some planning, scout the nurseries for plants to use in the garden, but first get the cleanup chores out of the way while you wait for the last freeze date to arrive. This is also a wonderful time of the year to get inspired by beautiful garden designs you admire. I always tell people landscape design is nothing without a great hardscape plan…I will tempt you with a few ideas below…they take your garden to the next level 

Top things to do in March 

• Late February and early March is the optimal time to perform most Spring Clean up and pruning tasks – do this now and you won’t prune off beautiful new growth – if you procrastinate you will. 

• Prune your roses in early March – apply a systemic feed / insecticide at the base of the bushes – love the Bayer 3-in- system product.

• Prune and edit trees 

• Prune / cut back evergreens which need to be maintained – hollies and yew – but please don’t use electric shears – try to avoid pruning if at all possible – if the right plant is in the right spot it should need only minimal pruning….try to avoid the “lollipop” effect as this will require a lifetime of difficult maintenance. 

• Please do not prune the tops of your tree form crepe myrtles - when I see this form of Crepe Murder I just cringe…..this tree will never look the way it was intended to look once this is done – please don’t do this to your crepe myrtles. If you see the guys that mow your grass come near your crepe myrtles with pruning shears or clippers send them away! 

• Cut back all forms of ornamental grasses – Liriope, mondo, sweet flag, and tall ornamental grasses. 

• Secure climbing rose canes – they are getting ready to put out lots of fresh new growth and canes. 

• Feed cool season grasses like fescue and rye with fertilizer and for extra dark green grass I like to add an application of ironic. 

• Bring the pansies you planted last fall back to life after our long icy winter by removing the dead foliage and then a boost with water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Grow. 

• If you are like most gardeners, you can’t resist strolling through the nurseries looking for old favorites and new varieties alike.Always fun to see the new Proven Winner selections, I like to incorporate these into containers because it’s an easy and safe way to try them out. 

• In Oklahoma, our last freeze date is early mid-April – so before that only hardy plants get planted but after April 15, you should be safe to plant tender annuals and vegetables for your summer garden. 

• Spring plantings of perennials, annuals, rose bushes, shrubs and trees is in full force. 

• Take photos to remember color combinations of pansies and tulips for the upcoming fall when it’s time to plant them again. 

Best of the Season 

• Green fescue and rye blends of grass looking lush and dark green 

• Pansies & Tulips in full display 

• Flowering trees like crab, redbud, whitebud 

• Flowering shrubs like forsythia, snowball, viburnum are just coming on 

• Spring Perennials – creeping phlox, dianthus, candytuft

Love this beautifully designed pergola and the garden bed bordered with clipped box and tulips

This path is decomposed granite...Look how effective the clipped boxwood is leading up to the urn filled with my favorite lavender. 

Love the garden path...and the salvia is spilling over - who does't want to adopt that lab?

Urns overflowing with flowers- so much more of an impact when resting atop the stone columns

More decomposed granite, topiary boxwood and planters - this design is so effective

Does anything look better than a large grouping of terra cotta pots with topiary pruned boxwood...yes...sitting atop decomposed granite in a French courtyard!

Even a small water feature like this can steal the show - who needs a big swimming pool? 

Enjoy the first month of Spring - and if you want to see more inspiring garden designs, check out my Pinterest design boards. 

http://pinterest.com/terrydcarlson/




Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

The entire country is experiencing temperatures nearly 25 degrees above normal….while it is lovely weather it is not Spring quite yet! Keep in mind the last freeze date is usually around the middle of April, so we should have a couple of more months of this yo-yo weather! Hopefully Mother Nature will be kinder this year and we won’t have another 60-day summer with temperatures over 100 degrees…that was truly miserable for people and plants.

These unseasonably warm days will make it more enjoyable to get out in your garden and get some chores done. February is definitely one of the if not the absolute most important month on the garden calendar because the timing is so critical with so many garden chores – get the timing right and the results will be optimal.

Pruning is probably the most important chore to be done between the middle of February and early March. I always tell my gardening buddies and garden clubs – mark your calendar on Valentine’s Day with the following garden tasks…if you do them you will be rewarded for months and your plants will be happy campers.

*image from Etsy

Say Happy Valentine’s Day!

*image from Martha Stewart 

Get creative with a fun twist on Valentine’s on arranging your Valentine’s Day tulips.

*image from Birch and Lily 

Happy Valentine’s Day to my garden blog followers!

Top Things to do in February 

• Prune to keep your plants tight but still natural – avoid hedges and the lollipop look. 

• Please don’t commit Crepe Myrtle murder by chopping off your tree form Crepes – only prune to edit suckers and errant limbs – let the growth continue upwards to achieve the graceful habit they will provide. 

• Prune and trim any deciduous trees now…you can see the limb structure without the leaves…look for shape and remove any limbs crossing over another limb.

• Prune evergreens – Hollies, Yew, Yaupon, Boxwood, Laurel, Pines of all varieties is now. • Prune roses – shrub roses should be severely pruned – I prune mine down to around 18” – and remove all dead wood. Climbing roses should be pruned just to be kept in the space you want them in. 

• Now is the best time to provide support for your climbing rose canes – they are already setting buds and before they begin to put more buds out get them tucked away into their trellis systems. 

• Apply systemic food and herbicide to bases of roses – I love to use the Bayer 3-in-1 product is worth the time and money. 

• Apply Ironite other organic products to cool season grasses around the middle of February – they will be emerald green in March – the perfect time for your cool season lawn to look lush and green. 

• This is a good time to assess the life cycle of your trees. Are you hanging on to an old Elm tree long past its prime? There are so many wonderful varieties of trees out there just begging to be planted in their place. 

• Cut back ornamental grasses – liriope, mondo, ‘Sweet Flag’ and the taller varieties like pampas and fountain grass. Cutting these back in March means cutting back fresh spring growth. 

• Begin cutting back your perennials – finalize this in early March. 

• Begin garden cleanup in flower beds later this month. • Apply a dose of food to pansies and spring flowering perennials like candy tuft, dianthus, and creeping phlox – they will really benefit after the winter months. 

• Order bare root roses from rose sources like Antique Rose Emporium, David Austin Roses and Heirloom Roses.

• Look at your garden design – next month is a great time to tweak or modify it. 

• Clean your garden tools. 

• Enjoy the hint of warmer days to come. 

Best of the Season


• Daffodils-with their whimsical trumpet faces-smiling at the sun! 

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -

As I look outside today – it seems more like March than January…the warmer than average temperatures could easily lull our garden instincts into action….but really just enjoy the respite from garden chores…they will come soon enough.  

I have a favorite garden blog spot called May Dreams Gardens – if it’s not on your list of garden blogs please check it out

Carol has written a lovely article that will provide your inner gardener her secrets to Gardening Happiness… If you have time please read her blog on this…it is so charming! Here’s the short list of 5 secrets: 

The Five Secrets to Achieving Happiness in Your Garden… 

  • The First Secret - Grow the plants you love 
  • The Second Secret – Size your garden for the resources you have 
  • The Third Secret – Buy Good Tools 
  • The Fourth Secret - Respect Mother Nature 
  • The Fifth Secret – Share Your Garden 

Top Things to do in January  

  • The garden and seed catalogs will begin arriving in your mailbox, as well as other garden and outdoor living catalogs. It’s fun to see what’s new with the trends in these. Wayside Gardens  will tempt us with new species and varieties. We can just file these away for now – enjoy this quiet month. 
  • Time to order bare root roses…best planted in February and March. 
  • Water if Mother Nature isn’t providing necessary rains. 
  • The very best time to prune trees and evergreens. 
  • As little as possible – you deserve a guilt-free break 

Best of the Season


Beautiful Red Twig Dogwood – love to cut these for holiday arrangements

Deciduous Hollies laden with berries

My favorite holly – Nellie R. Stevens…the birds will devour the berries during January and February

Happy Gardening -

All My Best -