Brookside Nursery Top Ten Gardening Jobs in May

Thursday, 24 May 2018  |  Alison

Brookside Nursery Top Ten Gardening Jobs in May                   

With two Bank Holidays in May, many of us have an extra day or two free to spend pottering in the garden.  May brings the beauty of Bluebells, buttercups, bleeding hearts (Dicentra) and plenty of pink and white blossoms; These days though, the humble buttercup is generally classed as a weed, but how many of us remember picking one and announcing that we liked butter whilst holding one under our chin…. Memories of sunny childhood days playing with pals for hours in the meadows, climbing old willow trees and paddling in the brook and all without a parent in sight!

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 edges of the lawn, and of course pulling out the ever-abundant weeds.

Have you been thumbing through the latest issues of high end glossy house & garden magazines and wondering why your patch of garden isn’t looking quite as up to scratch as the photographs seem to show?  Most of the photos were taken at least a year ago or more by a professional photographer and team to ensure the correct angle of the plant or garden featured is shown looking at its best.  Remember too, that the area may have been preened and polished for weeks before the actual shoot.  So, although aspirational and inspirational, these gardens seem sometimes a tad, well, unattainable.


I think that probably a mix of magazine styles is better.  The more down to earth (no pun  intended for Monty’s new gardening book) magazines like Grow Your Own and Gardeners World, as well as a couple of exclusive magazines like the RHS The Garden magazine and The English Garden will give you the best of all worlds, and you are more likely to re-energise the soul ready for the new gardening season with practical tips and achievable ideas. Of course, you are already reading our monthly gardening tips on the Brookside Nursery website - But here are some jobs to be doing in the garden this weekend: -



  • Dahlias are a must for any garden or pot as they flower freely from July/August until the first frosts.  Large plug plants are ready now via mail order, as well as dahlia tubers that can be potted up now and come in a variety of rich jewel like colours, so check out the website now as we have some offers on too this Bank Holiday weekend.
  • Late frosts are the bane of gardeners at this time of year when greenhouses are ready to burst but plantlets are too tender to withstand a night of frost. Take heed of weather warnings and be prepared to throw a fleece over favourite plants or bring them into a frost-free place.     
  • 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 the tender and juicy lily shoots, as well as fritillaries.  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 to the ground to try and hide and are an absolute menace so dispose of them as you find them, i.e. squeeze between gloved fingers.
  • Deadhead daffodils as they finish flowering. This will stop seed heads forming.  Do not cut off the leaves but let them die back naturally, about 6 weeks.  Nutrients are absorbed through the leaves and in turn to the bulb which will result in flowering again the following year.
  • Perennials like lupins, delphiniums, leucanthemums and dahlias that grow quite tall can be staked with bamboo canes and twine, pea sticks or manufactured decorative supports.
  • Earth up potatoes when the shoots have grown about 10cm tall.  This means putting compost or 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.
  • Straw strawberries!  Put straw under the plants to prevent mud splashing on the fruits and to help prevent pests from eating them.
  • Quick-growing or ornamental hedges, like box, can be trimmed in late spring to retain their shape as they can soon become untidy.
  • 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.

If you haven’t got much space and think you can’t grow edibles, think again. Many can be grown in large pots or containers. Try growing sweetcorn, carrots, runner beans and strawberries in a planter with herbs like parsley and oregano.

In the meantime, have fun in your garden, enjoy the late Bank Holiday and I hope the sun shines wherever you are!


Brookside Nursery