May in your garden
May brings the beauty, the scents and the sounds of springtime in all its fresh glory with Bluebells, Blossom and Birdsong filling our senses.
In the garden there is always plenty to keep us gardeners occupied and there is nothing better to my mind than pottering in the garden, tying in clematis shoots, straightening the borders, and of course pulling out the ever abundant weeds.
Here are my Top Ten Tips for the garden in May -
- Late frosts are the bane of gardeners at this time of year when greenhouses are ready to burst with masses of tiny plantlets vying for space, but annual bedding and hanging basket plants are too tender to withstand a night or two of hard frost. Cover seedlings and plug plants with a fleece to protect them overnight. If possible give the greenhouse some warmth or bring plants into the house if severe long term frosts are forecast.
- Take heed of weather warnings and be prepared to throw garden fleece or your silk dressing gown over favourite outdoor plants, especially those in pots or bring them into a frost free place overnight. It may look a bit odd but who cares!
- At the end of the month when tender bedding plants have been hardened off to plant into the garden, the greenhouse can be used for vegetables that like the ongoing warmth of a glasshouse, like Cucumbers, Peppers, Chillies and Tomatoes.
- Keep an eye open for lily beetles who like to munch on tender and juicy lily shoots. If you are noticing holes in the leaves it should be easy to spot the lily beetles too, as they are red in colour, have distinct black legs and are about 1 cm in length. They fall down to the ground to try and hide and are an absolute menace, so dispose of them as you find them, ie squish them between gloved fingers.
- Deadhead daffodils as they finish flowering, snapping off the flower heads before they form seeds and take the goodness out of the bulbs. Do not cut off the leaves but let them die back naturally, about 6 weeks. Nutrients are absorbed through the leaves to the bulb which will result in flowering again the following year.
- Perennials like Lupins, Delphiniums, Leucanthemums and Dahlias that can grow quite tall can be staked with bamboo canes and twine, pea sticks or manufactured decorative supports.
These are some of the Dahlias in full bloom that we sell here at Brookside Nursery, if you would like to order some Dahlia plugs from yourselves you can see our range here..... but hurry they are selling quickly
- Earth up potatoes when the shoots have grown about 10cm tall. This means putting compost/earth up to the tips and then repeating the process a couple more times at 2/3 week intervals. This gives the underground stems the best chance of producing a great crop.
- Place straw under strawberry plants to prevent mud splashing on the fruits when you water or if it rains. Having a layer of straw also helps to prevent pests from eating your precious crops.
- Quick-growing ornamental hedges, like box, can be trimmed in late spring to retain their shape as they can soon become untidy looking as they put on a growth spurt.
- Brussels sprouts, Cauliflowers and Cabbages such as Red Flare and Sherwood can be planted out in the veg patch now. I have covered a few broccoli plants with their own hairnet, (a Satsuma fruit net), to prevent the pigeons from eating the tops and so far it looks as though it’s working.
Have fun and enjoy your garden!