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Tuesday 4 May 2021

This Month in Your Garden - May

‘It was the outdoor detail–and May is one fine month to be working outdoors.’ Stephen King

There are still some frosts around, so protect tender plants until you are sure the danger passes. May is truly a month to enjoy being in the garden and at the garden centre, stocking up with colour for your borders. You probably won’t plant out bedding until the end of the month, but there are plenty of other pleasurable jobs to get on with. 

Hoeing off weeds may not be in that category, but it needs doing to make way for your planting schemes and to make sure the weeds don’t take over. Clipping hedges and pruning shrubs and trees needs to be done but keep in mind it is nesting season. Bird nests are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, and it an offence to disturb or destroy them. 

Keep an eye out for any and save the pruning until autumn, if need be. Where you are clipping hedges, if the clippings are not too woody, you can compost them with grass clippings. Cut back tender shrubs such as fuchsia and penstemon after frosts have passed and trim Viburnum tinus. Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils and other spring bulbs. Always let the leaves die back (about six weeks) naturally to get the energy into the bulb and heel them in, that is, put them in a shallow trench covered with soil with the leaves uncovered until they brown and the bulbs can be lifted to store until autumn. 

If you have a greenhouse, open vents and doors on warm days. Plant up Dahlia tubers, ready to plant out in June. If you have some shady border areas, plants for colour include busy lizzies, begonias, coleus, lobelia, and mimulus. 

  • Prune Choisya and Ribes after flowering 
  • Feed bulbs in pots and containers with Tomorite
  • Shade plants in a greenhouse
  • Earth up potatoes and plant any remaining
  • Hang bird feeders near roses to encourage birds to feed on greenfly
  • Start a pond and aquatics
  • Collect rainwater for recycling
  • Water early and late to make the most of watering

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