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Friday 5 May 2023

This Month in your Garden – May

 “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming.” Pablo Neruda

At last, we are seeing the first signs of spring and the temperature a little warmer than of late, but be cautious with any tender plants. Dahlias, for example, even hardened off, will still be susceptible to late frosts.

Best keep them somewhere warm and plant out later in the month or even early June. The same goes for summer bedding of half-hardy border plants. You can be removing faded flowers and early spring bedding in readiness for planting, though. 

Herbaceous perennials and daffodil bulbs that have become overcrowded can be divided after the foliage has died back. It’s important with daffodils to let the energy go back to the bulb so if you need to lift them while still green they can be ‘heeled in’ by placing them in a temporary shallow trench covered in soil to fade before storing the bulbs for autumn planting. 

Those and other bulbs you are leaving in the ground to die back will benefit from a feed. Pelleted chicken manure or a liquid feed are easy solutions to this. Divide primulas and primroses after flowering and hostas coming up now can be divided to give you more of your favourite plants. Spring flowering perennials such as Aubretia and Alyssum will benefit from cutting back to encourage more flowering. 

Why not allow yourself the luxury of trips to the garden centre this month, with numerous bank holidays to enjoy? You’ll get inspiration for your borders, planting shrubs and flowers someone else has grown for you. 

  • Sow biennial flowers such as pansies, wallflowers and Bellis for spring bedding next year
  • Install a water butt to collect water from a shed or greenhouse guttering
  • Take softwood cuttings of herbs and shrubs to propagate
  • If you don’t want forget-me-nots to self-seed lift them once flowered 
  • Deadhead daffodils and tulips and let the leaves turn brown if not lifting and ‘heeling-in’
  • Tie-in sweet peas and pinch out growing tips to encourage bushiness    
  • Plant out hardy annuals raised under glass
  • Check supports for climbers and tall plants
  • Treat roses for greenfly and apply organic slug pellets to protect plants and vegetables
  • Give the greenhouse a good clean if not already done

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