The garden in May
Apply sulphate of ammonia bulked up with sand and water the lawn immediately after. This is a fertiliser to promote growth which you will see the benefit of after about 10 days. Continue to mow the lawn on a regular basis. Make sure the height is correct (no more than 10-12mm).
There is still time to sow seeds of hardy and half hardy annuals. Hardy annuals do need to be kept away from frosts however until the weather gets milder. Thin any annual plants which you may have sown earlier.
The dead flower heads from the last of the Narcissus (Daffodils) need to be removed now (leaving the leaves to die back naturally).
Pools and water plants
This is a good time to plant water based plants. Remove pond weeds so they don't take over the whole pond. Feed water plants with an aquatic fertiliser, pushing the pellets into the compost of the plants. Feed any fish you have in the pond as they will be becoming more active now the weather is improving.
Trees and Shrubs
Water recently planted shrubs and trees then mulch around them. Prune early flowering shrubs
Prune raspberries. Remove runners from strawberries whilst tucking straw under the plants to prevent the fruit from rotting. Mulch fruit.
Sow chard, beans and leaf beet and plant out leeks, marrows, courgettes, sweetcorn and brassicas. Pinch out the tips of broad beans and protect carrots from carrot fly with a fine mesh.
Tie in climbers. Tie and stake where necessary perennial plants.
Clip Lonicera nitida monthly until September in order to keep them in shape. Clip privet and also Forsythia and flowering currant hedges after flowering. If you have newly planted hedges, in dry weather give them a good soaking of water to prevent them drying out.
Pests and Diseases
As the weather increasingly gets better, so the pests and diseases in your garden become more common. Keeping weeds down helps to keep their numbers down as they often acts as hosts for your unwelcome visitors. Vine weevil are a problem this time of year, especially the grubs which are present in soil. Scarlet Lily Beetle are also a problem; watch out for them on Fritillaries before heading off to Lilys once the food supply has gone.
- Be aware of the fact that night frosts still can damage vulnerable plants at this time of year.
- Keep weeds down to a minimum. Getting rid of weeds when they are small is easy compared to letting them take hold. Weeding 'little and often' does the trick.
- Keep an eye on containers and hanging baskets to make sure they do not dry up completely.
- Try to water in the evenings rather than during the day or early morning.
The garden advice and plant information contained on this email has been created as accurately as possible, but localised weather conditions and yearly variations in climate mean that information should be used as a general guide only and acted upon accordingly.
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