Blue primroses

Seasonal gardening advice for May

By Paul Hervey-Brookes, May 08

Seasonal gardening advice for May

Although summer is just around the corner, nights can still fall below freezing and late frosts are treacherous. Cover tender plants and new shoots at night for protection. Cottage garden plants such as Hostas and Primroses can be lifted and divided as can Daffodil bulbs replant in bold clumps for maximum effect. Spring flowering shrubs, once they have finished flowering, can be pruned and any suckers cut off at ground level then covered with a thick mulch to discourage regrowth. Cuttings can be taken of herbaceous plants, herbs and shrubs to safeguard against winter loss and for local charity garden sales or to increase and spread around the garden.

While continuing with the spring clean and spruce up of the garden remember to check your hedges before clipping for nesting birds, put out nesting boxes and remember to keep your feeders topped up. Clean birdbaths and keep topped up with water. Now is a busy time for nesting birds and also fledglings. Set aside a small area and pile logs and rocks to create a shelter for wildlife.

Flowering window boxWindow boxes, containers and hanging baskets can all be planted up now. Use plants that are in bud or flowering to provide instant colour to your garden and a water retaining compost as they tend to dry out quite quickly. Hanging baskets can also be used to plant herbs and can look attractive outside your back door with an array of edible such as tumbling tomatoes peas. Bring hanging baskets in at night until frosts are gone.

In the vegetable garden, once the risk of frost has gone, you can plant out tomatoes, courgettes and peppers in grow bags that you have warmed up in the greenhouse. Prepare seedbeds and also cover with fleece or polythene to warm the soil before planting and keep on top of weeding to help prevent the spread of pests and disease. Hang a bee nesting box to encourage bees in to the garden and increase pollination. If you have a pond make sure the edges are shallow for access and provide plenty of planting to encourage wildlife.


Paul has his own highly successful landscape design business, and has also designed a range of gardening gifts for Marks and Spencers.

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