MayA month full of vibrant spring colour and soft delicate blooms with, fingers crossed some sun to appreciate it in. Take time to enjoy it, there are just a few key jobs to do now to ensure the garden continues to perform.
- Weeding is always ongoing but if you tackled them early you shouldn’t have too many to deal with.
- Divide early flowering spring plants like Pulmonaria, Primrose and Aubrietia, give this a haircut now to stop it becoming brown and unattractive.
- Remember to water any newly planted plants.
- Summer bedding plants can go out now, if in doubt harden off by leaving them out during the day and bringing in at night for a week before planting.
- Overgrown Clematis Montana would appreciate a prune now to keep it in check, reduce the size and then train in any new growth for a more polite flowering display next year.
- Now is the time to prune Pyracantha for a brilliant display of berries in the autumn. Take out any shoots which are growing too far out or are generally in the wrong place. They flower on wood grown the previous year so don’t be too vigorous or you will cut off all the potential flowers.
- Continue to prune any plants which have finished flowering, for example Philadelphus cutting back weak twiggy growth and taking out any old woody stems completely. Spirea and Kerria fall in to this category too.
- Box plants will need their first trim now, to minimise the risk of Box blight choose a dry day with no forecast of rain for a while and place some newspaper under to catch the pruning’s. Box blight enjoys damp conditions and decaying matter so will get into freshly pruned cuts and will develop on pruning’s left on the ground which then gets splashed back up onto the main plant during rain storms.
- Continue to earth up Potato crops.
- Remove side shoots of Tomato plants to maximise cropping and reduce the incidence of diseases.
- Plant out any young vegetable plants you have grown or bought.
- Direct sow seeds of bean varieties, Sweet corn, Marrow and Courgette.
- Place some straw under Strawberry plants to reduce the risk of grey mould developing this will also reduce the incidence of attack by slugs and snails.
- You can prune any fan trained or Espalier fruit trees from the middle of this month, It is best done during the summer months as this does not tend to encourage vigorous re-growth in the way that winter pruning can. Remove any shoots growing away from the framework and shorten the horizontal stems if they are growing too long for the allocated space. Prune back to a healthy looking bud close to the main frame that is facing out or upwards. Remove any dead, damaged, diseased or crossing branches. Remaining shoots can be tied into the frame.
- This is not the last chance to repair damaged lawns or sow new ones but it is coming to the end of optimum conditions for this, moving on through the year watering becomes more of an issue with (hopefully) drier days, higher average temperatures are not so conducive to germination either so if you have an area to do it is worth doing it now.
- You can still apply a spring lawn weed and feed now if you didn’t get around to it last month.
- Late May and Early June is the best time to pot up containers and baskets with summer bedding, all risk of frost has passed and choice of plants is excellent come and see what Lizzie has filled her benches with
- Consider mixing perennials and grasses with summer bedding. Grasses like Stipa tenuissima goes very well with many of the summer bedding plants like Brachycome and Nemesia. As does Heuchera with Begonias and lysimachia nummularia (creeping Jenny) for a shady pot.
- Choose a potting compost appropriate to the plants you wish to grow;
A good multi –purpose compost suits annual bedding and salad crops very well.
A mix of one third multi-purpose and two thirds John Innes No 3 is ideal for the more taxing requirements of perennials trees and shrubs, Roses too.
If you are potting up plants that like good drainage or those that are a little on the tender side and don’t appreciate sitting in claggy, cold wet compost over the winter add a quarter of grit to the compost. Olives, Bay, Palms and Phormium fall into this category.
Click on one of the other months below to see what you can look forward to