Magnificent May in the Shenandoah Valley

From the Blog

Magnificent May in the Shenandoah Valley
By  •
Culinary Trail



April showers bring May flowers in the Shenandoah Valley so it is time to hit the  yard, gardens, pots,  or whatever is  available to grow plants. Planning what to buy, move, transplant, or locate are major issues to address before the adventure begins.

While enjoying  perennials, such as wisteria, peonies, irises, flowering shrubs, and blooming trees, it is time to start adding annuals. The biggest challenge will be  where to put which plant.

One choice that blooms all summer is  geraniums. This annual favorite comes in  a wide variety of colors and styles that  enhance any garden space whether in the ground or in baskets, hanging or not. A  visit to Weber’s Nursery, 1912 Martinsburg Pike, Winchester  will help make those decisions.

Another great choice is begonias that come in a variety of styles and blossom colors that will brighten up all spaces.  They can also grace  pots as well as flower beds and sometimes will survive a winter indoors.
Salvia in many colors,  Dusty Miller, and   marigolds  add depth and contrast to flower beds or pots.  Just stroll through the greenhouses at local nurseries and decide which ones you like best and the colors you want to highlight. 

Two other great choices, daisies and Black-Eyed Susans,  can be purchased at this time and are  a great investment as they blossom for many years. They  also will spread and can be divided to add to other parts of the garden. They can withstand the harsh winters of the Shenandoah Valley.  I have had some for years and they are hardy survivors.  These white and yellow flowers continue adding color to the garden space throughout the summer and require very little work. They make  great bouquets to use inside or out. 

A walk through any nursery such as  Horton’s Nursery, 100 Ridgefield Ave., Stephens City  will assault the senses as colors and fragrances abound. Keep in mind your goals as far as location, visuals, and durability for your use.

daisiesAlso this is a great time to add to beds started in past years and need a little refurbishing or replacement. Lilies will be blasting out soon so  think of them as possible new residents in the garden family. They take very little work and return year after year.

 Irises are the same way but both plants  need bulbs  thinned out periodically to have room to thrive and prosper. Sharing them with friends and  neighbors can lead to acquiring even more plants once the initial purchase is made. My giant irises were casts off  from neighbors and fit perfectly along my drive way fence. They make great cuttings and brighten up any dull  room.

Fort Valley Nursery, Garden Center and Cafe, 1175 Hisey Ave., Woodstock, can help find just the right plant for you while having a cup of coffee or lunch.

Peonies are also colorful, easy to grow, and return each year.  The initial investment will come back at least tenfold or more. Check with  nurseries  for  the different varieties to liven up the flower beds.

Whatever you do, remember it is trial and error so start small and add each year. Be sure to consider planting recommendations  as far as shade and sun.  All plants come with advice for the best results. There is so much pleasure in reaping the rewards of  lovely, colorful  flower beds in a  well-planned garden.

For more plants ideas and farmers markets near you, check out Go Blue Ridge Travel’s new website.

To take in a few area gardens, visit the  Back Alley Garden Tour And Tea, Historic Shepherdstown, W.V., gardens open rain or shine,  Saturday, May 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.,  Sunday, May 17, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.,  Tea Party both days,  noon to 4 p.m. Check out other road trips on Go Blue Ridge Travel.