This Month in the Garden - May
This Month in the Garden - May
Sow seeds of fast-growing hardy annuals, such as Eschscholzia (California poppy) or poached-egg plant, to fill gaps. Click here to visit our Seeds & Propagation page.
Now is also the perfect time to plant perennials. These delightful plants give excellent value for money, flowering year after year and can also be divided to make more plants as they grow. Click here to visit our garden perennials page.
Plant up hanging baskets, and leave them in a sheltered spot before hanging fully outside.
Begin planting summer bedding in the last week of May as long as there is no forecast of frost. An hour before planting water the plants in their containers and remember to water after planting. Click here to visit our Bedding Plants page.
Spring is also the ideal time to plant shrubs as the soil is moist and warm enough for new root growth to help the plants become established quickly. Click here to visit our Shrubs page.
Apply shade paint to the outside of the glass or use blinds on sunny days to prevent temperatures from soaring.
Open doors and vent on greenhouses to increase ventilation on warm, sunny days.
Damp down the floor of the greenhouse regularly on hot days, to increase humidity levels. This benefits plant growth and also reduces the risk of pest problems such as glasshouse red spider mite.
Don’t forget to give greenhouse plants more space as they put on new growth. This will help to prevent disease and to contain early pest infestations.
Harden off your half-hardy bedding plants that were started off early under cover. By placing them outside for a short period only at the warmest time of day and then gradually increasing the length of time they are outside you can avoid the ‘shock’ that they otherwise experience when moved outside suddenly and permanently.
Check plants at least every few days to see if they need watering. Seedlings will need daily attention. Use rain, grey or recycled water wherever possible.
Continue to prick out and pot on new seedlings and cuttings.
Hydrangeas and fuchsias can be propagated from softwood stem tip cuttings.
Regularly inspect plants and also the structures of the greenhouse and conservatory for glasshouse red spider mite, whitefly, thrips and other pests. Paying careful attention to the undersides of the leaves and to each plant in turn can spot early infestations that would otherwise be missed. Control with approved treatments and hang yellow sticky traps to help monitor numbers of flying pests.
Check roses for signs of blackspot (left), aphids and leaf-rolling sawfly damage.
Damp down the floor of the glasshouse regularly on hot days to reduce the risk of glasshouse red spider mite.
Brush up fallen compost and debris and pick off dead leaves from plants. This will help prevent pests and disease spreading.
Inspect lilies for red lily beetles as the larvae can strip plants in days.
Vine weevil larvae can be a serious pest of containerised plants and become active this month. Tip out the rootball of suspect plants and inspect for the creamy orange-headed maggots which tend to curl up into a ‘C’ shape. There are various chemical and biological controls available.
Aphids can multiply rapidly during mild spells. Remove early infestations by hand to prevent the problem getting out of hand. Protect sweet pea plants in particular, as they can get sweet pea viruses.
Early May – sow (under cover) beans, marrows courgettes and squashes, two per pot, and thin out the weakest seedling to leave the strongest plant.
Early to mid May – sow seeds of herbs, such as parsley, chives, coriander, garlic, basil, dill, fennel, mint, thyme, sage and lovage.
Late May – sow beetroot, lettuce, watercress, rocket, radish, spring onions, coriander, parsley, chives, carrots, swedes, turnip, leaf beet, spinach, cabbage, peas and mangetout, endive, marrows and courgettes, turnips and chicory. Sow a few seeds of salad leaves and stir-fry leaf crops every two to three weeks to ensure a regular supply.
Sweetcorn, courgettes, marrows, pumpkins, cucumbers, tomatoes, French beans and Runner beans are temperature sensitive crops. If they are sown in soil that is too cold, germination will be poor and any seedlings that do appear will not crop as well as those started in warmer soils. The critical period is when the seeds are taking up water in order to start the germination process. Once this is complete, lower temperatures are acceptable.
No time to sow – Click here to view our vegetable plants page.
Autumn is the perfect time to plant trees, allowing them to allow them to establish before the hot, dry weather of the following seasons. There are many trees that will provide interest throughout the seasons, displaying fresh spring/summer growth and blossom. Trees such as Japanese maples have glorious, vibrant autumn textures and colours. Planting is best done between October and April, but avoid planting in waterlogged or frozen soil. Container grown plants can be planted any time of the year, but are easier to care for if planted in autumn or winter as they need less watering than ones planted in spring or summer. It is important when selecting your tree to check its suitability for the position that you have in mind. Our experienced horticulturalists will be happy to give advice when required.
By the end of the summer lawns are in need of some maintenance and looking after. Autumn is the time to treat the lawn and prepare it for the seasons ahead. Hot sun, little rainfall and general wear and tear all take their toll, but by following our easy guide you can prepare your lawn for the seasons ahead.
Are you wanting to bring some more life into your home, but you’re not sure where to start? It’s been proven that introducing plants into your space can help reduce stress, improve your concentration and productivity and boost your overall mood.
Lawns can sometimes begin to look rather the worse for wear as we reach the height of the summer. The combination of hot weather and the amount of time we spend using the grass for various activities can begin to take it’s toll, however all is not lost because with a simple lawn care programme it will soon be looking healthy again.
Summer baskets filled with an array of bedding plants such as geraniums, petunias and begonias etc bring colour and interest to any garden. Once you have planted up/ purchased your baskets you will want to enjoy them throughout the season and extend their lifespan for as long as possible. With just a little bit of regular maintenance you can ensure that your displays are the envy of all the neighbours!
Spring is finally in evidence as plants begin to bloom. Expect the inevitable April showers this month, but with sunny days too when you can turn your attention to the lawn. It’s an exciting month, with indoor-sown seeds well into growth and it’s also time to start sowing outdoors. Just watch out for late frosts…
Early spring is an ideal time to plant herbaceous perennials, including Geranium, Astrantia and Oriental poppies.
This month there are signs of the approaching spring, with bulbs appearing and birds and wildlife waking up as light levels. There’s plenty to do this month in preparation for the season ahead. Outdoors, the garden is coming to life again, and it's time to prune shrubs, such as wisteria.
The garden could need protecting from frosts, gale-force winds and heavy rain in January. Check stakes, ties, fleeces and other supports for damage and consider moving plants to sunnier positions to maximize light. Don’t forget to keep feeding the birds, food is scarce for them over winter.
Frost, rainfall and winds are increasingly common, sunshine hours are much reduced and it can be bitter with a risk of snow in December. You may not want to be working outside at this time of year, but luckily there’s not a lot to do. Keep an eye on winter protection and if you have a greenhouse, make sure the heater works.