Every year I try to learn a bit more about gardening. 

There are undeniable benefits to digging in the soil. It's stress-relieving, it makes everything more beautiful, and there's something very primal about putting your hands in the dirt and encouraging life to grow.

I can't recall ever regretting spending time outside in the garden and/or doing lawncare. It leaves you happily tired, it's useful exercise, and if you plant food or herbs, than you have the added benefit of enjoying the fruits of your labor in the weeks or months to come. Win Win.

Although I read gardening magazines sometimes, often they're more general in nature. And as you and I both know, what grows well here and the best things to do at what time is very different if you live in California or Pennsylvania, as opposed to right here in East Texas. 

So I was thrilled to run across a resource that offers specific gardening tips for us right here in our neck of the woods. So if you're an aspiring master gardener like I am, or you've already been sporting a green thumb for years and just want a refresher, here's are some East Texas-specific must do's for the month of May for your gardening endeavors right here at home, courtesy of agrilife.org:

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May Gardening Tips for East Texas:

Make sure your garden, including flowers and shrubs, are sheltered by a good layer of mulch on top of your soil. This reduces the growth of those heinous weeds. Not to mention it helps to conserve water, which will be a huge deal come mid-July. Don't want to buy it? You can get a mulcher and make your own using pine bark and needles, shredded leaves, and hardwoods.

Janine Robinson, Unsplash

This is the ideal time for planting new annuals to replace your winter flowers.

Although those pansies may still be doing okay, it won't be long before the heat will do them in. Consider replacing them with more heat-loving flowers such as "sunflower, zinnia, celosia, cockscomb, morning glory, portulaca, marigold, cosmos, periwinkles, gomphrena, cleome (spiderflower) and gourds directly into the flower bed."

Joanna Swan, Unsplash

What about those extra shaded areas? Some beautiful flowers you can plant there include New Guinea impatiens, annual salvia, coleus, caladiums and begonias. In partial shade, Agrilife.com recommends flowering tobacco (Nicotiana)or pentas.

Personally I adore impatiens. They're some of the hardiest flowers I've ever incorporated into my garden. They spread so quickly, too. For my flower boxes my favorite flowers are vincas--particularly the trailing variety. They are stunning when they start to spill over in the summer.

Frame Harirak, Unsplash

What about lawncare? Experts say May is an excellent time to plants new lawns or fix dead spots. Whether you opt for St. Augustine, Bermuda, zoysia, and/or centipede grasses, now's the time before the sun starts bearing down too hotly.

Doug Vos, Unsplash

Looking to dig in even deeper? There's a wealth of info for any other would-be master gardeners here.

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