Most of April was a glorious month of warmth and sun enabling the garden and wildlife to burst into life, sadly May has not started so favourably and there has been a definite chill in the air and rather hard night frosts (remember to protect your tender plants!). May brings with it the sound of swifts, swallows and the odd cuckoo and hopefully this little blip in the weather will soon pass and as the month continues it should become warmer and with the longer evenings the garden can quickly erupt and get out of control so here are some ideas of jobs to do in the garden during the month of May:-
Keep on top of weeding – if you have large patches of bare soil it is quicker to use a hoe and if this is done on a sunny day the weeds can be left to shrivel on the ground.
Grass grows quickly this time of year so regular grass cutting will keep your lawn looking good – remember to lower the blades gradually so as not to scalp the lawn and during hot dry spells raise the blades to help prevent scorching of the grass.
Primroses can be divided and replanted once they have finished flowering.
Camellias that have become untidy can be pruned into shape now – using clean secateurs trim shoots with an angled cut just above a leaf.
If you have grown your own seedlings indoors without the use of a greenhouse or a cold frame the plants still need to be hardened off before planting outside – to do this take the young plants outside during the day and bring back inside at night and don’t be tempted to plant outside until early June when all risk of frosts have passed.
Tie in climbing plants – using garden twine tie in the stem using a figure of eight knot as this allows the plant to move and helps to prevent damage to the plant.
Plant up hanging baskets but don’t be tempted to put them outdoors until early June!
Continue dead-heading spring flowering bulbs.
Once spring flowering bedding such as wallflowers and winter pansies have finished flowering clear them away and fork over in readiness for summer bedding or sow some hardy annuals.
Clematis Montana is beautiful but can quickly get out of control so once it has finished flowering you can cut it back this will not only help to keep it in check but will encourage new flower growth next year.
Plant or direct sow Sweet Peas and don’t forget to pinch out the tips to encourage bushy growth from the base of the plant – all you need to do is wait until the plant is approx. 10cm high and literally pinch and break off the top growth to just above a leaf joint.
Continue to stake tall perennials
Create some water Storage – in anticipation of a long hot summer it is worthwhile investing in a water butt which can be fitted to an existing downpipe as this will provide free water for pots and borders during the dry spells.
Last Chance to:-
Sow sweet peas
Remove last year’s growth from perennials
Sow or turf new lawns
Plant evergreen shrubs
Sow hardy annuals such as candytuft, calendula, cornflowers and love in the mist
Trim back Forsythia and winter flowering heathers this will keep them neat and tidy and will encourage new flowers next year.