What to do in the garden in May

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

In the midst of an exuberance of flowers, trees bowed down under the weight of blossom and perennials shooting up so fast you can almost watch them grow, it's a good time to be outside, come in to our centre in Stapleton and we will be happy to help. Here's what you can be getting on with:

General tasks:
Hoe regularly to keep down weeds while they're still small, using a short-handled onion hoe to weed near plants.

Include shelter plants like pyracantha, ivy and honeysuckle for birds, hedgehogs and toads: they'll reward you by gobbling your pests.

Ornamental garden:
Plant up containers with bedding favourites like begonias and geraniums plus new arrivals like New Guinea impatiens and 'Surfinia' petunias.

Thin annual flowers sown last month, removing the weakest seedlings to leave the sturdiest spaced about 10cm apart.

Trim back spring-flowering perennials like Pulmonaria and Doronicum to ground level to encourage lots of neat new foliage.

Kitchen garden:
Tuck straw under strawberry plants to stop fruit rotting on damp ground and protect them from rain-splashed soil and slugs.

Lift and divide mint to keep plants productive: split clumps into several pieces and replant in roomy pots of compost.

Pinch out broad beans, removing the top 10cm of shoot tip once about five trusses of flowers have formed to keep blackfly at bay.