Your Garden In May
This is the month when gardening goes into top gear. It is probably too late to get tickets for the Chelsea Show but it should still be possible to get some for the Malvern Spring Show. (See last month’s Chipperfield News for details). No doubt there will be a lot to see on television.
The flower garden
Plant up the window boxes, hanging baskets and containers and mix water retaining gel with the compost to help save water loss. Later in the month plant out the begonias, geraniums, petunias and fuchsias and plant up the tubers of cannas and dahlias. Keep up with the weeding and spray roses and plants which are susceptible to rust and leaf spot. Water bedding plants thoroughly when planting and then only rarely. Choose bedding plants which thrive with very little water, such as cineraria maritima, gazanea, geranium, marigold, pelargonium, petunia, etc. The following is a list of perennials which thrive with little water: agapanthus, armeria, artemisia, buddleia, cortaderia, crocosmia, cynara, digitalis, festuca, helianthemum, helichrysum, hollyhock, hemerocallis, lavender, lychnis, nepeta, perowskia, phlomis, salvia, scabious, sedum, senecio, sisyrinchium, stachys, stipa, verbascum, verbena, yucca, etc…..
Vegetables and fruit
It should be safe to plant out the runner beans, outdoor tomatoes, marrows, courgettes and aubergines towards the end of May but be prepared to cover up if we should get a sudden late frost. Keep up with successive sowings of salad crops, such as radish and lettuce. There is still time to sow carrots, beet, spinach, swede, turnips and sweet corn. Make sure that vegetables are given the water they need even if there is none for the flowers. Plant into growbags or large pots indoor tomatoes and cucumbers. Keep up with weeding and feed with growmore fertilizer. Water soft fruit bushes as the fruit develops. Put up codling moth traps in apple trees and start to prune plum trees if they need it. Spray strawberries against mildew and watch out for blackfly on broad beans.
Feed lawns, lay turf and seed new grass areas but try to do so when showers are forecast. Mow grass regularly and set the mower to a high setting. Keep up with weeding and make sure that trees and large shrubs are given a good thick mulch to help with moisture conservation. Deadhead daffodils and feed to help the bulbs to grow but do not cut down the leaves at this stage. Prune spring flowering shrubs as soon as the flowers finish.