Your garden in May – hold on tight for summer!

Your garden in May – hold on tight for summer!

This crucial month is a busy one for your garden!

It’s finally here, the time we’ve all been waiting for! During May, things really start to accelerate in the garden and you’ll finally start seeing some rewarding signs that all the work you’ve been putting in is paying off! There are quite a few things to remember to keep on top of during this crucial month, but don’t be put off. Here I’ve put together some basic bullet points to get you on track for enjoying the summer garden of your dreams!
Plant out summer bedding: unless you live in a particularly chilly area, by mid-May you’re likely safe from frosts. It’s time to start planting out your summer bedding plants in borders and containers, adding water retaining crystals to the compost to reduce the regularity of watering. Great ideas for summer bedding plants include Busy Lizzie, Calendula, sweet peas and nicotiana. Note: if you are in a colder location, remember to protect more delicate bulbs with fleecing – particularly important if a hard frost threatens.
Keep on top of lawn mowing: Your lawn will be loving the warmer weather and (hopefully) all the sunshine, so keep it looking tip-top with regular mowing and feeding.

Mowing the lawn is an essential task in May

Flickr: sean hobson

Harden off half-hardy plants and vegetables: Help your plants acclimatise to life in the great outdoors by leaving them outside during the day, and bringing back inside overnight when the temperature can still potentially drop to harmful levels. Courgettes, outdoor tomatoes and pumpkins, etc all benefit from this treatment before planting out next month.
Separate out: Crowded clumps of flowering perennials like daffodils and tulips can cause harm to each other jostling for space, light and nutrients. Encourage these pretty springtime blooms to come back year after year by digging up clumps of plants that are starting to look less than lively. Use a long, thin spade or a trowel to uproot around four inches of good, thick roots, making sure to clean them off. These separated plants can then be re-planted to enjoy next year!
Prune spring-flowering shrubs and hedges: As soon as flowering has finished, shrubs like Kerria, viburnum and forsythia will need cutting back to make sure they don’t become tall and leggy. Just make sure to check for nesting birds so you don’t upset any eggs or hatchlings!

TV gardener Katie Rushworth of ITV's Love Your Garden works in her spring gardenFight off pests and weeds: During this month, it’s extra important to keep a close eye on your plants and flowers for any signs of disease and pests, and tackling any weeds that might compete for essential nutrients at this crucial time. Prevention now is better than fighting off an infestation further down the line!
Protect your soft fruits: String netting around berry plants if you’ve got them, to stop cheeky birds making away with your crop.
Now time for the best part… Start to reap the rewards of your work over the past year! This is a wonderful time of year as plants, fruits and vegetables begin to spring into life – so make sure you spend plenty of time just relaxing and appreciating all the fruits of your labour!
Happy gardening!