"A May flood never did good!"
"Mist in May, Heat in June,
Make the Harvest come right soon!"
May is the month of explosive growth, long days and warm sunshine lead to amazing growth. It's the month that the Dawn Chorus really comes to a crescendo. Enjoy the bird song, watch out for butterflies - Orange tip flitting past, bumblebees are busy and the first swifts arrive back from Africa.
Tulips, Bluebells, Fruit Blossom, Wallflowers, the first roses possibly and the stunning sea of green foliage is awe inspiring - all the different shades of green!!
And we can't forget the froth of Cow Parsley and Hawthorn in flower - just gorgeous.
Jobs to do, or try to achieve....
Hoeing or swoeing on a dry day to keep the weeds down
Prune spring flowered shrubs after flowering - Forsythia, Spirea, Kerria. A good tip is to prune shrubs after flowering even Rhodos, Azaleas and Camellias and Magnolias.
Protect small fruit trees and veg plants with fleece if frost is forecast - "Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out"
Earth up potatoes- pull the soil up over the new growth of the potatoes, in essence bury the foliage. It will grow through the soil again. This protects the young growth from frost damage and stops the potatoes going green which makes them poisonous.
Let your grass grow long - "No Mow May!"
Lift and divide clumps of bulbs that have finished flowering - Snowdrops, daffodils. An easy way to bulk up your own bulbs for free....
Sow Annual wildflowers on a patch of bare earth in the sunshine, rake the seed in and water. You will have a riot of colour in a few weeks time full of beneficial insects, butterflies and bees...
Those jobs in the Vegetable garden....
Continue to sow Carrots, Spinach and Lettuce
Direct sow Squash, Tomatoes, Courgette, Peas, Runner Beans and Climbing French Beans
Harden off early sown Tomatoes, Courgette and Pumpkins - take the plants outside during the day and bring them in at night to avoid any frost damage
Cover Leeks, Carrots, Radish with Horticultural fleece to protect from pests
Create a support structure for Climbing Beans or Peas. Make it strong enough to withstand winds when covered with foliage!
Buy Pheromone Traps for Apple and Plum trees to reduce Codling Moth and maggots in plums.
Use and /or buy Nematodes for Slug Control
- Tie in new Climbing Rose stems and Clematis
- Feed Roses and any anaemic looking plants
- 'Chelsea Chop' of vigorous herbaceous plants, cut back by 50%, this will make the plants more bushy and more flowers produced.
- Remove excess algae from ponds to the side of the pond, allowing Tadpoles and young newts etc to crawl back into the pond
- Make time to visit 'Open Gardens', enjoy the Spring flowering Magnolias, Azaleas, Rhododendrons.
- Don't forget the NGS - National Garden Scheme or Yellow Book for open gardens to visit in your area.
Above all enjoy the scents and sights of May and of course Chelsea Flower Show at the end of the month