Salisbury, MD. "April Showers Bring May Flowers" is a little poem that many of us have heard since childhood but few of us know where it came from. It seems that Thomas Tusser (1524-1580) compiled a collection of writings titled "A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry" and, in April he wrote this short simple poem:
"Sweet April showers
Do Spring May flowers"
A short two-line rhyme that signals a whole new seasonal cycle. With the rains of April behind us, it is time to look forward to the summer growing season. Since we have been blessed with substantially increased moisture in the Spring, we can look forward to a fast growing season with healthier, more robust plants. Springtime rains carry nutrients to the roots of plants quickly, speeding growth. Combine that with warmer weather, longer days and increased insect activity, the plant world is hard-wired to burst into life!
Children delight in the follow-up riddle that questions, "If April showers bring May flowers, what do May Flowers bring?" The answer, of course, is "Mayflowers bring Pilgrims". Corny, yes, but kids love it so the Grannies suggest you save it for the right time.
May is also the time when the early April bloomers are giving up the ghost and looking bedraggled. The forsythias are long gone, the blooms of the tulips and daffodils have turned brown and their foliage will soon follow. Early summer perennials are bursting out all over: roses, iris, azaleas, rhododendrons, trumpet honeysuckles and deutzia. And, so, the seasons move on.
Now, the Gardening Grannies are trying to figure out how soon it is safe to set out the recently purchased annuals. Is it safe to put out the tomatoes and peppers? How about starting squash, pumpkins and melons outside? All are in agreement that it's way too early for the sweet potatoes and eggplants (the very last to go out), but what about the rest?
Off your rockers and into your gardens. It is truly a magnificent time of the year and we hope it makes you smile as much as it does us…..and…..remember what May Flowers bring!
The Gardening Grannies are a group of avid and Master Gardeners who live, love and garden on the Delmarva Peninsula. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.