May 2022 gardening Tips

This year, April and March seemed to swap places in terms of weather, so Magnolias and Camellias were in peak bloom and then ‘browned off’ by frost in my garden. The daffodils, primroses and hyacinths have been more resilient and given a very good show.

Everything else is later than usual – slower to germinate and leaves reluctant to expose themselves to frost.

By the time you read this, though, in May.  It will be greener and maybe warmer and you can get on with some of these tasks…

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 courgette and squash plants that were started under glass and protect with cloches or fleece if cold nights are forecast
  • Start to harvest asparagus spears
  • Direct sow French beans and sweet corn.

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.
  • 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. Other suitable plants are Chrysanthemum, Helenium, Helianthus, Monarda, Phlox, Rudbeckia and VeronicastrumDo not chop lupins, irises, paeonies, acanthus or Hemoracallis

Open Gardens

Beechenwood Farm, Odiham RG29 1JA: open every Wednesday 30th March – 8th June (2-5) also Monday 2nd May (2-5)

Brick Kiln Cottage, Herriard RG25 2PR: open on Saturday 7th, Sunday 15th May (11.30 – 4.00)

‘Selborne’, East Worldham, Alton GU34 3AE: open 28th,29th May and again in July