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Tuesday 3 May 2022

This Month in Your Garden - May

May, more than any month of the year wants us to feel most alive. Fennel Hudson

Step back to the time of the Roman Republic at the beginning of May and you would find the Floralia or Festival of Flora, who was the Roman goddess of flowers. The tradition has found its way down the centuries to our May Day, a fitting public holiday for many and a celebration of the beginning of summer.

Whilst the daffodils, hyacinths and tulips have been early heralds of our garden palette, we’re about to enjoy the spectacle of colour we can create in the garden, simply by sowing seeds and planting bedding. Beware though, the late frosts that can still reach out icy fingers to tender plants. By mid-month it should be time to lift any daffodils, tulips and hyacinths from borders and containers for storage until autumn or, if you’re leaving them where they are, give them a good feed of fertiliser such as fish, blood and bone meal or pelleted chicken manure, which will also feed shrubs and plants in the borders. 

Dahlia and Canna can be planted in pots ready for planting out in June after the frost has passed. Plants for colour in shade include busy lizzies, begonias, coleus, lobelia, mimulus and if you like drifts of colour between shrubs and in herbaceous borders, petunias and salvia will happily oblige. It’s probably best to plant out summer bedding at the end of the month to be safe. In between, you can be taking softwood cuttings to propagate herbs and shrubs and hoeing those weeds. 

It’s said that where you hoe there will be no weeds which is true if you hoe areas where none are showing–yet!

  • Leave daffodil, hyacinth and tulip foliage a good six weeks after flowering to die back
  • Give bulbs in pots and containers a feed of Tomorite
  • Hang bird feeders near roses to encourage birds to feed on greenfly
  • Open greenhouse doors and vents to circulate air
  • Collect rainwater 
  • Protect plants and vegetable from slugs with organic slug pellets 
  • A good time to start a pond and aquatics
  • Divide clumps of herbaceous perennials you want to propagate

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