BEDS AND BORDERS
• Apply a general fertilizer to all beds and borders, Vitax Q4 or Blood, Fish and Bonemeal are good choices.
• Make an effort to get on top of weeds now, before they get out of hand! Remove by hand or spray with weed killer.
• Time to get planting new herbaceous perennial plants & ornamental grasses (or lift, divide and replant existing ones.)
• Gather sticks or buy plant supports and get them in place around perennials that tend to need support.
• Cut back dogwoods [Cornus alba types] and willows [Salix] that are grown for brightly coloured winter stems down to almost ground level now. This encourages young new shoots that have the best colour.
• Protect newly emerging shoots from attack from slugs and snails.
• Start spraying roses for blackspot, rust and aphids with Roseclear 3 as soon as the leaves appear. Early spraying is essential!
• Prune late flowering shrubs back hard now. Caryopteris, Ceratostigma, Perovskia, hardy Fuchsia, deciduous Ceanothus, Hydrangea paniculata types and Lavatera.
• Lift crowded snowdrops, carefully divide and replant. Avoid breaking their roots if possible.
Remove flower heads from daffodils as they finish flowering. A liquid feed with a liquid tomato fertiliser helps next years flowers to form.
• Apply the first combined feed, weed and moss killer dressing to your lawn at the end of this month.
GROW YOUR OWN
• Sow tomato, pepper and cucumber seed for delicious home grown vegetables from a greenhouse. Sow for growing outside in about 6 week’s time.
• Its also time to sow Carrots, Peas, Broad Beans, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Radish, Lettuce, Sprouts, and many other vegetables.
• Early varieties of seed potatoes can be planted out in sheltered spots now.
• Apply a feed of Sulphate of Potash and Growmore fertiliser around the roots of fruit.
• Apply a mulch around newly planted trees but keep a gap around the trunk. Fruit bushes and canes will benefit too.
• Prune Blueberry bushes by removing weak, old and dead shoots. Cut out up to 25% of all wood.
• Provide support for early sown peas.
I love this time of year with our gardens now bursting into life! Down at Avon Mill, the garden centre is full of amazing plants and everything you need to get growing. We look forward to helping you ‘love the plot you’ve got!’
In the Garden….
• Plant out Sweet Peas and give them something to climb up.
• When planting out tender bedding plants, keep an eye on the weather and make sure you protect them from frosts.
• Apply weed killers this month and next for best effect.
• Mulch Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Camellias, heathers and Pieris with Ericaceous, lime free compost.
• Most shrubs and trees are best planted in the Autumn, but many of the Mediterranean shrubs such as Lavender, Sage, Rosemary and Santolina, are best planted now.
• Tie in tender shoots of Clematis and other climbers as they grow.
• Remove dead flower heads from bulbs, feed with a tomato liquid feed to build up the bulbs strength for next year. Don't be in too much of a hurry to cut the leaves off. If you have overcrowded clumps of daffodils you can lift and split them now to replant immediately. Try to avoid damaging the roots as much as you can.
• Don't stop feeding birds now that spring is here, now they have young they are under greatest pressure and will really benefit from your help.
Grow your own….
• If you haven't raised your own plants, come to us to get some tomato, pepper and cucumber plants to grow in your greenhouse. If it is unheated, keep the plants on a bright windowsill indoors for a few more days.
• Plant main crop potatoes if you haven't already done so. Early varieties may need earthing up to exclude the light from the tubers. Cover shoots with fleece to protect from frost damage.
• Sow Runner beans, French Dwarf Beans, Mange Tout Peas and garden Peas.
• Plant containers up with some herbs. Avoid planting mint with other herbs as it will take over given a chance. Coriander, parsley, thyme, chives and tarragon are some of the most popular and look very decorative too!
• It is now safe to prune plum and cherry trees. They are vulnerable to the silver leaf disease if pruned in autumn or winter.
• Sow perpetual spinach, leeks, radish, turnips, lettuces, carrots, beetroot, Swiss chard and summer cauliflowers outside.
May is the month when most gardens are at their peak….
A few tasks to be getting on with in the Garden….
• Protect plants from slugs and snails with slug pellets, course grit or traps. Encourage birds, hedgehogs and frogs to your garden - all prey on slugs and snails.
• Don’t let trees and shrubs that were planted this spring or last autumn dry out, as their roots won't have had a chance to fully develop yet.
• Thin out seedlings, leaving the strongest growing plants. Water the soil gently beforehand to reduce soil disturbance.
• As daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs fade, remove the flower heads. This will encourage the plant to store energy in the bulb rather than wasting it on seed production. Don't cut back the leaves - leave them to die back naturally and wait until the leaves have yellowed before removing.
• Feed established roses with a rose fertilizer.
• Lift and divide primulas and polyanthus after they have finished flowering.
• Now is the best time to plant lavender. Widely grown for its scent and foliage, lavender is ideal for borders or a low hedge. Available in shades of purple, blue, white and pink it is a magnet for bees and butterflies
• Position plant supports where they will be needed in late summer. Doing this now reduces the risk of damaging the roots and shoots later in the season.
• Begin regular cutting of your lawn, and treat with weed & feed or moss killer if necessary.
• The garden centre now has a great choice of bedding and patio plants - get creative with colours and textures. Keep your eyes on the weather forecast, and protect tender plants with horticultural fleece if we have a late frost.