May Gardening Tips

Best time for bluebells

The advantage of the cold spring has been a much longer display of daffodils and primroses.  The brief spell of warmth in mid April has finally brought tulips into flower.  There were very few ready for the show on 7th April.

BUT May is the month for bluebells, azaleas, apple blossom and all sorts of floral bounty.

30th April – 6th May is National Gardening Week

If the weather returns to normal, here are some jobs to do:

Kitchen garden
* Earth up potatoes when the foliage reaches 23cm/9in to prevent green tubers or, if frost is expected, cover smaller sprouts with soil for protection.
* Sow carrots, radishes, beetroot, lettuce and spring onions for successional harvesting.
* Harden off courgettes and squashes that were started under glass and protect with cloches or fleece if cold nights are forecast
* Hurrah! Start to harvest asparagus spears and rhubarb (don’t cut, pull)
* Direct sow French beans and sweet corn.
* Mulch strawberry plants with straw to keep the fruit clean, and feed fortnightly with tomato feed.

Oriental poppy

Ornamental garden
* Prune overgrown Camellia to young side shoots which will flower next year.
* Prune Forsythia and Philadelphus as flowering finishes
* Remove a third of old wood on Spiraea to open up the bush
* Dead head Rhododendron to make room for new growth
* Plant out Dahlias and Cannas

* Dead head spring bulbs but LEAVE THE LEAVES to feed the bulbs until they die back. If daffodils did not flower well, lift and divide the clumps.
* Take soft wood cuttings of Fuchsia, Anthemis, pelargonium and verbena.
* Mow and feed the lawn
* Support tall and heavy-headed perennials with pea sticks or special supports
* At the end of May, do the ‘Chelsea chop’ on late flowering herbaceous plants like sedum (Hylotelephium) that tend to flop outwards. The flowers may be later but they will be sturdier.

Places to visit this month
Beechenwood Farm, Hillside, Odiham is open for NGS on 2nd,9th,16th,20th ,23rd and 30th
Berry Cottage and Thatched Cottage, Upper Farrington, Alton on 13th
Selborne’, Caker Lane, East Worldham and East Worldham Manor open on 19th & 20th.
2nd and 3rd June 9 gardens in Froyle are open
Refer to for details and other gardens open for charity.

Day Lilies in May

A May Garden










Photographs courtesy of Michael and Jennifer Kelly