A Riot of Colour is Everywhere

What to Do in Your Garden in May

Whatever the weather, higher light levels will mean that the garden is growing fast now. Enjoy all the colour, and think ahead to how your garden will develop over the coming months.  If you plan (and plant) ahead you can have colour right through to the frosts.

If you haven’t much time

  • Hoe on a warm day to keep annual weeds under control.
  • Watch out for forecast frosts and cover tender plants with horticultural fleece, removing the fleece as soon as weather warms up.
  • Ventilate greenhouses and cloches as much as possible on sunny days


Other jobs

Trees, Shrubs & Hedges

  • Prune spring flowering shrubs once their flowers have finished. Do it now because next year’s flowers will form on the new stems that grow this season.
  • Prune off any frost damaged shoots.
  • Carry on tying in shoots of climbers.



  • Last chance to put in place supports – plastic coated wire mesh supports, canes, twigs etc. Tie in shoots is using canes.


Fruit & Veg

  • Indoors, sow tender vegetables like courgettes, cucumbers, runner beans, French beans and sweetcorn early this month, for planting out in early June.
  • Plant tomatoes and leeks sown earlier in modules or pots.
  • Continue successional sowing of salads.
  • Earth up early potatoes so that the crop doesn’t get light on them and go green.
  • Put straw under strawberries to keep them off the ground and prevent rotting.
  • Remove sideshoots from cordon tomatoes (see photo).



  • Feed and weed lawns if not already done.
  • Last chance for sowing new lawns or bare patches.


Containers and bedding

  • Buy summer bedding and basket plants and harden them off by taking them outside during the day, gradually increasing the length of time they stay outdoors.
  • When planting, add to the compost some controlled release fertiliser with a high potash content (‘K’) to maximise flowering and minimise work. Avoid fertilisers high in nitrogen such as Growmore and some MiracleGro, as they will encourage leaf production at the expense of flowers.
  • Plant out bedding later this month if the weather seems warm enough
  • Plant out sweet pea plants, from the beginning of this month.


Copyright 2016 Alexia Ballance