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May In Your Garden

1st of May 2013

Days are getting longer and drier and the ground is warming up. Weeds are now growing fast and as the month proceeds frosts become less likely.

The flower garden.
Plant out the tender bedding plants such as geraniums, fuchsias, petunias, begonias, lobelia and nemesia, later in the month. Californian poppies, nasturtium and nigella can be sown directly in the garden now. Plant out dahlia tubers, cannas, begonia corms, gladioli and summer flowering bulbs. Carry on with replanting and dividing herbaceous perennials and providing support for taller growing plants. Now is a good time for planting new pot grown plants. Deadhead tulips and daffodils and feed the bulbs leaving the foliage to die down naturally. Plant container grown trees, shrubs, conifers, climbing plants and roses and add bonemeal when doing so. Prune forsythia and flowering currants as soon as they have flowered. Plant waterlilies now. Take cuttings of penstemmon, asters and delphiniums.

Fruit and vegetables.
Place straw or strawberry mats beneath strawberry plants and cover with bird netting. Place codling moth traps in apple trees for the next three months. Sow carrots, beetroot, swede, turnips, peas and beans and continue to sow salads such as lettuce, radish and spring onions. Plant runner beans later in the month plus marrows, courgettes, outdoor tomatoes and cucumbers. Earth up potatoes. Keep down the weeds and look out for slugs and snails. Feed vegetables from time to time and water regularly. Should we get a late frost cover soft fruit, strawberries and tender vegetables with horticultural fleece to protect from frost damage.

The greenhouse.
Apply or fix shading and make sure that the house is kept well ventilated in hot weather. Plant tomatoes in growbags or large pots. Take cuttings of pelargoniums. Plant up hanging baskets and containers as soon as possible to get them well established before putting outside later in the month. Add Swell-gel to the compost and visit the garden centre to see the huge selection of plants which can be used to get the best effect for a long flowering season.

The lawn.
Mow the grass every week if possible but never cut the grass very short during dry weather. Sow or turf new grass areas and water well at this stage but never water established lawns. Feed with a good lawn fertilizer with weed and moss control if necessary.

Garden events. The Malvern Spring Garden Show is from 9-12 May (tickets or phone 01684 584924).
The 100th Chelsea Flower Show is from 21-25 May – tickets are now sold out but watch it on BBC TV. Terry Simmonds

This page is edited by Tony

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