The Gardener’s Calendar in May
Breadth of the English shires, Hummock and kame and mead,
Tang of the reeking byres, Land of the English breed,
A man and his land make a man and his creed.
– Vita Sackville West
May, characterised by the first really warm days of the year. The garden should be drying out nicely after the winter/spring (depending on how wet it has been) and digging is easier. This is when your garden really stats to take off, leave it for a week and you’ll notice a huge difference when you get back out there. The detritus from winter should be gone by now (if not be sure to clear it away to avoid it harbouring pests) and the new growth will be looking good.
With the sun rising at 5:30am at the beginning of the month and 4:50am at the end of the month there’s plenty of time to enjoy:
- Start mowing lawns once a week. Spike badly drained areas. If you want a “Lawn” apply weedkiller/moss-killer but if you want lots of wildlife in the garden then a few dandelions and daisies are a small price to pay.
- Plant out half hardy annuals when the risk of frost has passed. Sow biennials such as Foxgloves, Sweet Williams and Wallflowers.
- Remove faded flowers from winter and early spring flowering plants. Top dress heathers with peat to keep the soil acid.
- Straw-up strawberries, mulch gooseberries, blackcurrants and other fruit bushes. Tie in new shoots of blackberries/loganberries etc
- Plant out Dahlias after danger of frost has gone. Likewise Chrysanthemums, plant out early in the month and then “Stop” them towards the end of the month to get more flowers and a bushier plant.
- Weed borders regularly, hoe around plants where the soil looks compacted to allow the air in.
- Apply general rows fertiliser and spray against aphids.
- Prune early flowering shrubs such as Forsythia if this wasn’t done in April.
- Water house plants more regularly and start to feed with liquid feeds
- Depending on the weather water early seedlings which can suffer if May is particularly dry. Hoe close to seed rows if the soil surface forms a crust or they’ll have difficulty breaking through.