Hooray, the official planting day for the Rogue Valley is Mother's Day. Depending on your elevation, it's OK to plant frost-sensitive vegetables and flowers. Make sure they are ready to take the day/night temperature fluctuations. Beginning a week before planting, place greenhouse-raised plants outside for increasing intervals each day before setting into the garden.
Deadheading rhododendron shrubs is a sticky process. Grasp the flowering stem at its base, close to where it emerged from the leaf stem. Bend sharply and snap off cleanly. Be careful, as new shoots emerge on either side of the flower spike. Beginners should start in an inconspicuous part of the shrub.
Prune lilac, camellia and other spring-flowering shrubs. Feed flowering perennials. Feed bulbs after flowering to nourish formation of next year's flowers.
Kitchen garden and orchard
Direct-seed most warm-weather crops, including the "three sisters" — squash, beans and corn — plus carrots and heat-tolerant greens. Plant the varieties you love and then add a row for area food banks. Fresh produce is always welcomed by them.
Tomato transplants can go in with or porous red-plastic mulch surrounding the soil at their base. These and other heat-conservation methods help tomato fruits set earlier.
Fruit trees can be pruned in summer to limit the size of the tree. On fruit trees, vertical growth is foliage growth, and lateral growth holds most of the setting fruit. Never remove more than one-third of any plant. For more on fruit trees, check out the "Spray Schedule for Home Orchards," available at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center on Hanley Road in Central Point.
Most lawns need about an inch of water weekly during May. Early-morning watering conserves water and deters fungus growth.
All yellow lawns do not need fertilizer. To diagnose lawn problems, bring a turf sample, including some soil below the roots, to your nursery or to the Jackson County Master Gardener plant clinic, weekdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at SOREC, 569 Hanley Road, Central Point. Call 541-776-7371.
The Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market offers produce, flowers and bedding plants from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Ashland Armory (corner of East Main and Wightman streets) and Thursdays at the Medford Armory (South Pacific Highway south of Stewart Avenue).
The 31st Jackson County Master Gardener Spring Fair at the Jackson County Expo runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 1 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 2. Find plants, information and other garden products at the largest garden event between Portland and San Francisco.
Classes at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center
"Summer Care of Grape Vines," taught by Chris Hubert of Quail Run Vineyard; 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 8. Learn about early-season shoot thinning, controlling head-suckering, training vine growth for the rest of the season and controlling crop load. Class will take place outdoors in the vineyard. Fee is $10. "Garden Design Basics," taught by landscape architect Bonnie Bayard, 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 13, covers design considerations (color, texture, size and cultivation needs) and using Sunset's "Western Garden Book" in planning (if possible bring book to class). Bring large cuttings of plants you already have. Fee is $5.
North Mountain Park Nature Center events
On International Migratory Bird Day, from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 8, the nature center will host a variety of free events at 620 N. Mountain Ave., Ashland. This year's theme celebrates "The Power of Partnerships" in bird conservation. All ages welcome. Call the nature center at 541-488-6606.
On May 1, from 10 a.m. to noon, learn about the "Common Sense of Gardening" with Jennifer Ewing. Ewing will host an open forum to share from her experience with soil, seeds and other garden mysteries. Fee is $10; registration required. Register online at http://ashlandparks.recware.com or call the nature center at 541-488-6606.
Rogue Disposal and Recycling is helping you clean out the garage. The annual latex paint drop-off is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 30 and May 1 at the transfer station in White City. The following weekend, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., May 7 and 8, the household hazardous waste drop-off will be held at the transfer station. Cost is $5 per load. Unused pesticides, herbicides and other household chemicals are welcome. A bonus is the reuse table, where approved chemicals can be picked up for free. For details go to www.roguedisposal.com or call 541-779-4161.
Monday, April 5: "Growing Wild"
Steve Siewert, native plant specialist
Thursday, May 20: "Pot-Luck Gardening"
Friday, May 21: "Rock garden tours"
Saturday, May 8: Plant sale, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tark's Market parking lot
SISKIYOU KOI AND POND CLUB (541-245-9357 or 541-779-3644)
Monday, May 10: Free barbecue and club information
Talk on water filtration systems by Steve Joneli
ROCK GARDEN SOCIETY (541-664-5934)
Saturday, April 10: Membership drive/members-only brown-bag luncheon; bargain plant sale and tour of a large private garden.