Gardening tips for May

Summer is nearly upon us! Follow these expert gardening tips to help your garden bloom in the summer months.


  • Plant summer bedding
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs to prevent them from becoming overgrown
  • Finish sowing hardy annuals: the later they are sown, the later they will flower
  • Put support frames into herbaceous borders to support plants with a floppy habit i.e., Lupins
  • Dig up, divide and replant polyanthus after they have flowered, discard any with disease
  • Start to harden off bedding plants by putting them out for the day and back in for the night
  • Protect susceptible plants from slugs
  • Clear out spring bedding from beds and borders when it fades, and fork in fertiliser
  • Plant hanging baskets and put them in the greenhouse until the risk of frost is gone
  • Watch out for pest and disease on all plants
  • Deadhead spring bulbs (but do not cut the foliage back yet)
  • Ensure newly planted plants are kept watered in dry spells
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs to prevent them from becoming overgrown


  • Mulch around strawberries to prevent the fruit being spoiled, use straw or black polythene
  • Destroy any leaves of Peach and Nectarine which show signs of leaf curl
  • Spray a systemic fungicide on Gooseberries if mildew is a problem
  • Water newly planted fruit trees and bushes in dry spells
  • Harvest any early Rhubarb


  • It is possible to plant out brassicas (cauliflower/cabbage) if they have been grown in a greenhouse. Remember to use a brassica collar to keep cabbage root fly away
  • Most vegetable crops can be sown but delay if the soil is cold and wet
  • Plant a main crop of potatoes
  • Earth up early crop potatoes
  • Weed between any vegetable crops that are growing
  • Harvest any asparagus spears that are showing


  • Apply a weedkiller and fertiliser combination
  • Seed new lawns and cover to keep birds away
  • Mow lawns once a week if needed. Avoid cutting if there is frost on the grass
  • It is now a suitable time to spot treat lawns if no general lawn weedkiller is used
  • Lay new turf and keep well watered if a dry spell ensues


  • Tie in the lengthening growths of Vines
  • Ventilate well and damp down on sunny days as long as seed are not being raised
  • Continue pricking out half hardy and tender seedlings
  • In a heated greenhouse remove side shoots from tomatoes, but not bush varieties
  • Pinch out side shoots of melons and cucumbers when two side shoots have been formed
  • Watch for pests and treat immediately using either a chemical spray or a biological control
  • Ensure heating is still available in case of a cold night


  • Plant up new aquatic baskets with Water Lilies and oxygenating plants
  • Feed fish if they are near the surface
  • Keep pumps and filters running constantly

General Tasks

  • Control slugs and snails by trapping
  • Visit the garden centre for new pots and basket plants
  • Watch out for late frosts and keep fleece handy
  • Check watering each day as temperatures rise

Plants at their best

Granny's Bonnet
Himalayan Blue Poppy
Perennial Cornflower
Shooting Stars
Winter Sweet
Kilmarnock Willow
Daphne Mezereum
Golden Bells