General Tasks

  • Plan and plant-up flower borders.
  • Remove weeds among flowers, vegetables and fruits.
  • Regularly cut the lawn and apply week/moss killer.
  • Attend to container-grown plants.
  • Tubs containers and hanging baskets can be planted-up now but keep them protected until the danger of frosts has passed.

Gardening in the Spring

What to do in the Garden in May

The garden should be in full bloom in May, especially lilacs, rhododendrons and azaleas will be at their best.

sheffield park gardens sussex

Although summer is just around the corner, night temperatures can still fall below zero, so be careful not to plant out half-hardy bedding plants and vegetables too soon, and make sure you harden them off properly before planting out. Lengthening evenings make working in the garden a pleasure, and the first vegetable crops will be ready for harvest.

As the weather becomes warmer and drier, take more note of your plants' needs. Continue to water seedlings and water and liquid-feed established plants. Also keep a careful look out for plagues of garden pests such as aphids and spray accordingly.

Weeds will be quick to take advantage of the warm weather. Take time to hand weed newly emerging flower and vegetable seedlings, and hoe between the rows in seed beds. Once the perennials, annuals and bedding plants are full size, they will smother out most weeds.

While there is plenty of work to do in flower and vegetable beds, don't forget to attend to tubs and containers, which will soon form a flourishing outdoor display now that summer is on the way.

Lilies grown in pots can be moved out towards the end of the month to light up the garden with their good looks. Give them a sunny, sheltered spot and remember to keep them well watered.

Why Not Try a Little Topiary?

yew topiary peacockEvergreen shrubs and trees with fine leaves such as boxwood (buxus), lonicera nitida (shrubby honeysuckle) and yew are very hardy and quite drought tolerant, so can provide much needed interest in the garden during drought conditions when other plants are suffering. Many of these small-leaved evergreens can be easily trained into fanciful shapes and most can be cut back hard, sending out new growth, even from the woody base.

If you are starting topiary from scratch, buy compact, well-branched shrubs, making sure that they also branch out from the base. Simple balls, cubes, cones and pyramids, are ideal shapes to start with. However, if you have your heart set on a bird or a more fanciful shape, then select a young bush and use stout wires to bend the young stems in the desired direction or buy a preshaped wire-frame and grow the plant through it. Topiary is an ancient art that requires many years of patience, so don't expect to achieve instant results.

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UK Gardens Open in May

Sissinghurst (Kent)

Sissinghurst Long Border

Bodnant Garden (Wales)

Bodnant Garden Wales

Highclere Castle (Hampshire)

Highclere Gardens

Elton Hall (Cambridgeshire)

Elton Hall Gardens

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