Gardening Tips For May by Jill Blackwood

Gardening Tips For May

  • Fill garden containers with a variety of summer bedding to give instant colour that will last all season long. Feed and water garden containers regularly to maximise displays.
  • Sweet peas can be planted outside where they are to flower and either trained up trellis or netting or you could make a wigwam out of canes.
  • Tender plants like tree ferns, Olive and Bay trees that have been under cover or wrapped in horticultural fleece to protect them over the winter can now be unwrapped or placed in position in your garden. Remove any dead or diseased parts and top up the pot with fresh compost before watering.
  • Hedges should be given a light trim to tidy their appearance
  • Early flowing shrubs like Pyracantha and Kerria can be pruned.
  • Prune back flowering stems on Hellebores
  • Give spring flowering bulbs a sprinkling of fertilizer to help them build up reserves for next spring.
  • Continue to stake tall perennials and tie in climbing plants as they grow.
  • Thin out earlier sowings of hardy annuals to leave a seedling about every 15cm.
  • Deal with weeds and pests regularly to keep them under control
  • Give water features a spring clean removing any duck or pond weed.
  • Lawns will need more regular mowing, once a week should be fine, regular feeding will keep lawns green and healthy all summer long.
  • Tomatoes and cucumbers sown earlier in the year can be planted into larger containers in your greenhouse. As they grow feed weekly, provide support and remove side shoots regularly.
  • Outside continue to sow a succession of vegetables and salad leaves in rows – this makes it easier to hoe between rows to control weeds.
  • At the end of May runner beans and french beans can be sown directly into soil outside in rows with supports made out of netting or canes for them to climb as they grow.
  • Sow sweetcorn in blocks of five about 30cm apart to ensure good pollination.
  • Plant main crop potatoes and continue to earth up earlier varieties until they are ready to harvest.
  • Place straw underneath strawberry plants to prevent the fruit from rotting and harvest rhubarb regularly.
  • Keep bird baths and feeders topped up and take a break to enjoy the early summer sunshine.

Garden Tips For February

It may still be cold and wet outside but cheer up winter’s shortest day is behind us and gradually the days are getting longer bringing enough daylight for the first signs of spring to emerge in the garden.  Snowdrops began to emerge in late January and Crocus are now giving a welcome carpet of colour in many gardens helping to lift our spirits.  Hellebore flowers stand above shiny dark green foliage and spring flowering shrubs like Chaenomeles (quince) begin to blossom.  Take a close look and many shrubs will have budded ready to burst into leaf, daffodils will be preparing to flower and early summer flowering perennials will soon be starting to push through the soil.

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January Garden Tips

Once Christmas and New Year have passed by and the decorations are packed away for another year January can be a cold, dark month when we can experience the worst of the year’s weather.  Dormancy will continue in the garden for a few weeks yet but there are some jobs to do in the garden that can help to work off some of the festive excess with some fresh air and exercise.

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