TIPS FOR THE GARDEN IN MAY by Karen Aitkins.
May is a lovely time of year. Spring is well under way and we can smell Summer in the air. Our thoughts turn to our gardens possibly neglected during the winter, now coming into bud and bloom. Everything is waking up and we just want to get out there and start doing things. This is a great time of year to prepare our gardens for hopefully an early Summer. There is nothing worse than having an unexpected heat wave in May and the garden is totally unprepared for entertaining. You will have already started mowing the grass at the end of March.
Firstly a good tidy up is a must. Create a good compost area or tidy up your original one, being careful of any hibernating hedgehogs. Give the patio and pathways a good jet wash bringing back its original finish, washing away all the moss. Clean all patio furniture and BBQ and re-cover. Hoe away all weeds and edge up all borders that have become a bit frayed. This will immediately make things look fresher. Dead head tulips and daffodils and allow to die back naturally. Treat your borders to fresh bark mulch.
Lawns at this time of year can benefit from a good feed. Choose a high nitrogen fertilizer to encourage a healthy looking lawn, being careful around ponds and streams. Repair bald spots with seed but avoid these areas when cutting your lawn especially when the young shoots pop their heads up. Sprinkle a light covering of compost over seed to discourage the birds and water in.
Prune overcrowded dead or diseased clematis and any frost damaged evergreen shrubs. We do not recommend hedge cutting or tree loping at this time of year due to nesting birds. All maintenance done to hedges, trees and large shrubs needs to be done sensitively with this in mind.
At the end of May providing we have no late frosts bedding plants can be set out. If they have been bought from a nursery and they are well established they will be more hardy but may still need to be protected. If you have grown them yourself in a greenhouse perhaps wait until early June to plant out. Make sure you water well.
All potted plants will need to be watered now, even if we have been having plenty of rain. Pots do not retain water like the borders. So any plants in pots, tubs or hanging baskets bedding or otherwise should be watered every day and twice a day if very dry.
May is also the time of The Chelsea Flower Show a must on the calendar of all keen gardeners. You will come back with ideas and inspiration. Don’t be put off by the cost as it is possible to do similar for less and it still look effective.
Above all enjoy your garden.