Traditionally, gardeners in most of Massachusetts were told to hold off planting annuals until Memorial Day to avoid the risk of frost. I always jump in around mid-May and this year I’ll probably start earlier than that. Choose the date that suits your risk tolerance and get those plants in the ground! If a cold snap does threaten, you can cover tender plants with newspapers or an old sheet overnight.

When the ground has warmed up, plant your seeds too: marigolds, zinnias, sunflowers, nasturtiums, calendula, cosmos, annual coreopsis and annual poppy.

And finally, summer-flowering bulbs (dahlias, lilies, cannas) may be planted.

Remember to water if the weather is sunny and dry.

Keep weeding. When you get a bed perfectly clear of weeds, mulch it!

Remove dead flowers from rhododendrons and azaleas so that the plant’s energy won’t be diverted into forming seeds. This is also the time to prune these plants, before they set flowers for next year.

Lilacs: remove the dead flowers and prune off the suckers and watersprouts.

Early in the month, set hoops around your peonies.

Plant up your containers.