Personally, I think that May is one of the best months in the garden. As magnolia and cherry blossom begin to fade, wisteria, rhododendrons, poppies and foxgloves all start to take centre stage. As this year’s new foliage starts to appear, we’re treated to a burst of sharp acid green that creates a vibrant backdrop to the emerging flowering plants. Herbaceous plants almost seem to be growing in front of your very eyes and any water in the garden – from streams to ponds to patio pots – begins to team with life.
With all this rapid growth, your plants need water, and lots of it. We’ve had a very dry March and April so this year in particular plants will need plenty of water. So it’s time to dust off your hose, treat yourself to a new sprinkler and get into the habit of watering in the evenings, every day that it hasn’t rained.
Apart from watering, here are five important jobs to do in the garden in May:
- Start now on ‘Weed Watch’. Pull out young ‘undesirables’ every week as they emerge if you want to avoid hard labour and back ache later. Be careful not to disturb any perennials that are just emerging.
- Give your lawn a Spring Feed – there are lots of good products available at your local garden centre that are easy to use and will make a big difference to how your lawn will look for the rest of the year.
- Prune evergreen shrubs and hedging lightly to remove brown or frost damaged shoots. Most evergreens, such as box and yew, don’t like being cut back hard, so little and often is always better.
- Check your climbers and loosely tie in new soft shoots with garden twine to encourage them to spread and grow in the direction YOU want them to! Trim off any wayward shoots to just above a bud.
- If you have a pond with fish, now is the time to start feeding – but be careful not to overdo it. Any food that isn’t eaten and left on the surface could adversely affect the balance of nutrients in the water and the development of your aquatic plants, so make sure you scoop away any food that isn’t eaten within 10 minutes of feeding.
While you’re enjoying your garden in the last throes of Spring, look out for evidence of young wildlife. Robins, blackbirds and thrushes may be nesting in your evergreen shrubs or hedges and the first young could be hatching right under your nose!
Next month is officially the beginning of summer, so get your garden ready now so you can really enjoy it when it’s in full bloom.