‘Just living is not enough,’ said the butterfly.
‘One must have sunshine, freedom,
and a little flower.’
Hans Christian Andersen
Well with all those long weekends that we’ve all enjoyed lately I’m sure your gardens are looking beautiful, It was hard to tell what season we were in at times, everything seems to have had a huge growth spurt and at times it has had the feel of summer.
This is the month when for nature in the garden everything is happening – animals and insects are raising their young , the lovely chirping in the nests of the fluffy baby birds, native plants are coming into bloom, butterflies fill the air – if your garden isn’t as butterfly packed as you would like, try planting Honeysuckle or Buddleia ; there is now a new dwarf variety that can be grown in pots for your patio and won’t grow to the size of your house within a couple of years!
It’s time to start thinking about the summer garden. If you want to enjoy colour during the summer, spring is the time to plant out the summer flowering annuals, bulbs, perennials and shrubs. There is in fact so much to be doing this month that I could with a dozen or so pages, below I’ve listed the most important (and fun jobs)
· Lilacs should be pruned lightly after they finish blooming, removing sucker growths and dead blooms. Feed lilacs in May with a good all purpose fertilizer after they have finished blooming
· Prune privet lightly this month (wait till June if its exposed).
· After flowering, reduce tangled growth on clematis montana in positions where it cannot be allowed free rein. (The growth made this summer will flower next spring.) If space is tight, prune every year. If not, do it every few years. Clematis montana can be left unpruned indefinitely, but one day there will be a great big tangle to deal with.
· If you missed sowing some annual flowers sow some now, choose evening flowers, especially if you are out all day, then you can enjoy there fragrance in the evening…fragrant night-scented stocks, white-flowered cosmos ‘Purity’ and annual evening primroses, which open their brilliant lemon flowers at dusk, so that moths can pollinate them. Scatter them where you want the flowers.
· This is the best time to buy summer bedding plants for perking up flowerbeds and containers, as garden centers still have plenty of choice.
· Dahlias, gladiolas, tuberous begonias, lilies and cannas and other summer flowering bulbs can be planted this month. Gladiolas bulbs may be planted at 2 week increments until the first of July to provide you with cut flowers until the first frost.
· May is the month for sowing most vegetables outdoors – French and runner beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, carrots, kale, leeks, lettuce, spring onions, parsnips, spinach and turnips. Stagger the sowings so that they crop over a longer period
· Lower the lawnmower blades to summer height and begin to cut regularly