Peter’s Gardening tips for May 2019
The gardening explodes into unbelievable growth!
Trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, grass, climbers have all gone berserk! After a very dry spring with just enough moisture topped with bouts of very warm sunshine have made for perfect growing conditions.
Quite extraordinary. We’ve seen wonderful blossom on so many trees, hawthorn tree, fabulous candles of flower on the horse chestnuts, and the myriad of fresh green leaves on everything else – delicious! The wonder of nature…..
It is a very busy time now in the gardening calendar, it’s a job to know what to tackle first!
Very lush growth. Compost your grass cuttings if you can. Mix with 50% carbon based materials – newspaper, cardboard, straw, twiggy stuff, shredded cuttings. Keep your mower blades sharpened – better for the grass and less work for the mower engine! Scrape out old grass from under the mower deck. If a petrol mower, tip up so the exhaust is uppermost, or else the engine oil goes into the exhaust and the mower won’t start. If the mower won’t start leave for 30 minutes and try again to start. There might be a cloud of blue smoke!
Pruning and cutting back:
Early flowering shrubs such as Forsythias, Ribes (flowering currants), berberis, camellias and rhododendrons can all be reduced in size. The general rule of thumb prune after flowering.
Do clean your secateurs regularly, use a knife or blade to scrape off black deposits and rust, a rub with a scourer or fine sandpaper, sharpen and a drop of oil. This will stop any transmitting of diseases or infections. Keep the blade clean, spray with oil and wipe excess off on a regular basis.
Amazingly lush growth. Cut back by 50% plants like – Asters (Michaelmas daisies), phlox, helenium, sedum spectabilis, nepeta six hills giant. You may think I’m mad but this will pay great dividends – stronger more compact plants, more flowers and less supporting required. This cutting back has been called the Chelsea chop because it coincides with the Chelsea flower show.
Put in place plant supports, pea-sticks, canes,
Lift, divide and replant daffodils if not flowering well. Water and liquid feed when replanted. Deadhead tulips. Feed all bulbs now for more flowers next year – Vitax Q4.
Triffids spring to mind! Strangling honeysuckle, clematis, roses,
Potatoes keep earthing up – covering up the foliage with soil. Sow salads every two weeks for a continual supply.
Another important month for seed sowing for autumn/winter crops – parsnips, swede, celeriac,
Also sowing climbing french beans, runner beans, courgettes, marrows, ridge cucumbers.
Try and keep on top of them. Easy to pull out with the ground moist. Don’t allow to flower or set seed!
Keep vegetables weed free-less for less competition. Hoe on sunny days, leave the weeds to wither in the sun.
Apply weed killers on a dry day with no wind – no spray drift.
Still a great month for sowing any annuals or perennials. Keep watered if we have a dry spell until germinated at least.
Looking ahead, it could be a rollercoaster month. Wet, windy, showers, warm, cool,
Perfect planting weather. Visit your local nursery or garden centre. Check out gardens open with the National Garden Scheme – a great way to be a nosey gardener and pinch ideas!
Don’t forget to make time to enjoy your hard work in the garden. Stop look and listen. The dawn chorus is amazing, and the scents are exquisite. Fill your senses.
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