May Gardener 2014

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Flowering Cherry in Hertfordshire garden (Prunus cerasifera) Cherry Plum

May, with warmer (hopefully frost free days) and lighter evenings, is the month to refurbish your garden.

Things to do this month:

We all hate weeding but do it now as it’s easy with the ground so wet.  It’s also a good time to move perennials and shrubs while the soil is moist.  Hoe carefully around plants with rain impacted soil to aerate.

Spend time looking for new or replacement plants.  Visit local garden centres, look at RHS Plantfinder and try specialist websites.  Double-check the species if you are buying shrubs, especially the estimated height and width!    Remember also to check the soil and hardiness indicator to find plants suitable for your particular garden conditions.

Remove faded blooms from spring bulbs, retaining the leaves until they turn yellow to re-energise the bulbs.  This is vital to feed the bulbs for next year.

Prune spring flowering shrubs after flowering but before the next buds start re-growing.  Lightly trim pre-July flowering Clematis woody stems – post July Clematis need to be cut hard back, as the latter flower on new annual growth.

Sow fast-maturing annuals and summer bulbs, plant out Dahlia tubers, and prepare hanging baskets.

Remember to keep a close eye on the greenhouse for any spider mite pests.  Water and ventilation are top priorities for the greenhouse and don’t forget to water and feed containers regularly as they are dependent on you.  Slow release fertilisers are highly recommended as well as liquid feed at flowering time.

Water fruit trees, cover ground under strawberries to prevent slugs and snails, collar cabbages, cauliflowers and sprouts to prevent root fly and earth up potatoes.

Sit down, have a well-deserved rest and enjoy the fruits of your labours.