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.


Only a few weeks left until Christmas and the festivities begin.  Just when visitors are likely to see your garden it will be at it most dull and uninteresting.  There are a number of ways to improve the view of your winter garden.  Trees and shrubs can be planted when the ground is not frozen.  Many trees come with interesting bark and will add height and drama to your garden.  Try Betula ut jaquemontii with its crisp white bark and Acer griseum with its peeling  bronze bark.

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Garden Tips for October

Now that summer is well and truly past us and the nights are drawing in  it is time to give the garden a general tidy before the winter sets in.  Growth will have slowed in the garden and deciduous trees and shrubs will be shedding their leaves, these will need to raked off lawns and cleared from paths and water features.  Rotting leaves make a great mulch and are full of nutrients so don’t waste any – add them to your borders or pile them into a corner of the garden so wildlife can shelter in them over the winter.

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