In The Flower Garden This May

Start planting out summer bedding at the end of the month. Bedding plants provide a temporary decorative seasonal display for beds, borders, containers and hanging baskets.

Thin out drifts of hardy annuals.

Plant summer hanging baskets, adding good-quality compost, slow-release fertiliser and water-retaining crystals, to keep them in top condition.

Continue dividing herbaceous border perennials to improve vigour and create new plants.

Harden off half-hardy plants by leaving them outside during the day and bringing them back under at night for 7 to 10 days before planting outdoors.

Tie in sweet pea plants with sweet pea support rings to encourage them to climb.

Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs.

Top-dress permanent pot plants to refresh the compost.

Take softwood cutting of shrubby herbs.

Take cuttings of tender perennials, such as fuchsia and pelargoniums. The new shoots of hardy perennials can also be used for cuttings.

Top Tip:

Look after your finished spring bulbs for next year. Once they’ve gone over, resist the temptation to cut back foliage. Instead let it die and break down on it’s own and add liquid fertiliser all around the clumps. This will give you an even better display next spring.

This Month's Key Tips
  • Mow lawns weekly.
  • Plant out summer bedding towards the end of the month, when the weather gets warmer.
  • Open greenhouse vents and doors on warm days.
  • Watch out for late frosts. Tender plants will need protecting.
  • Water early and late to get the most out of your water, recycle water when possible.
  • Check for nesting birds before chipping hedges.