Perennials: Is black the new orange, or pink or yellow? No, but “black” plants (usually very dark red, purple or green) can act as a focal point and set off pale or vibrant colors if placed strategically. Good ones to try include Eupatorium rugosum ‘Chocolate’ and Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace.’
Flowers: All tender annuals and colorful planters can be in place now. Heavy rains can flush out fertilizer so keep up with regular feeding.
Vegetable and fruits: Continue planting row vegetables every two weeks for continuous harvests. Keep up with the spray program for fruit trees. Monitor tomatoes for blights and treat accordingly. If row covers are used against squash bugs make sure they are very secure. Remove at flowering time for pollination.
Trees and shrubs: Be patient with woody plants that appear dead. Young sprouts may be showing at the base. Replacing them may still be the best solution. Boxwood leaf miner can be controlled with a labeled insecticide in early June.
Lawns: If necessary, mow the lawn twice a week, never removing more than a third of the growth at one time. Leave the clippings on the lawn. Only compost lawn cuttings that have not been treated with insecticide.
Houseplants: Plan to grow some plants to repot and take indoors in the fall, keeping in mind the light situation in the house. Herbs do well in small pots in a sunny window.
General: Whether the severe weather of 2014 will have an effect on pests such as ticks, deer, and damaging insects will be an interesting subject.
— Susan Henry, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester