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  • Writer's pictureGraham Tapp

May Gardening

What to do in your garden in the month of May

In Britain, at the beginning of May, we hope that the rain has stopped, and the sun is warm and shining.

What to do in May?

Hanging baskets and summer bedding should be at the top of your mind, but be aware of late cold snaps that can cause severe damage to your plants.

If you still have your heating on at night, do not leave the plants out in the cold, bring them into the warmth, possibly in your conservatory, greenhouse or even your garage.

Any cold damage now will severely reduce the quality of flowers or edible crops and by the time they produce, will be in Autumn.

By mid-May, have a think about how and when you water your plants; if you haven't top-dressed your planted area, you will need to get it done as soon as possible. Don't forget your lawn (if you have one)! I would suggest you feed your lawn now, if you haven't already and try and cut your lawn a little bit higher than you usually would; this will help the lawn survive any drought weather we may have to come and will help it keep a sound root system ready for the following winter.


Your Lawn

It looks as if wet winters are here to stay, so if you get the chance, try and aerate the lawn with a coring tool or with a garden fork; the core holes can be filled with sharp sand, as can any fork holes you make.

This all may sound like hard work, but in the long run, it will be worth it by reducing moss.

Flower, Fruit & Vegetable beds

Flower, Fruit and Vegetable beds will need a top dressing appropriate for t

he crop or type of plant. I suggest refraining from using Growmore, as there are much better formulations that are kinder and more appropriate for the chalk soil in Baldock and the surrounding areas.


A thick layer of material placed over the soil and around the plants, used to suppress weeds and lock in moisture into the soil, while acting as a physical barrier to drying winds and direct sun.

Mulching is a valuable tool against the hot summers, as it helps keep roots from getting hot and retain valuable moisture. Another great way to preserve moisture is to plant taller shrubs, and some medium-sized trees pruned to give a dappled shade over the garden.

Mediterranean-style gardening

We will eventually change our planting schemes to Mediterranean style, so that we can continue to enjoy our planting, without so much hard work.

I don't expect that we will be planting bananas and coconut palms (one can dream), but we will need to grow more silver and needle-shaped plants. Perhaps some exotic Pines, Cypress and Olive trees.

For now, we will have to live with what we have and water when we can. Convert our roof-down pipes to fill water butts and other catchment areas like ponds.

At the Garden Centre, we save 90% of our roof water to irrigate our home-grown plants, of which we have tens of thousands of gallons.

Keep gardening



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