May is a blooming lovely month – plants are beginning to flower and show their true colours and inspire us to get out into the garden a little more.
But it’s not just the May sunshine that is inspirational.
Not only is there possibly the best flower and gardening celebration in the world taking place this month, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (19-23 May), but Cultivation Street is up and running and looking for community gardening projects to enter their annual online competition www.daviddomoney.com/cultivation-street which is helping to bring back front gardens and revitalise our streets, while at the same time encouraging people to take up gardening and grow their green skills.
The front garden is often overlooked as a growing area – with a solitary tree planted and not a flower in sight.
Gardening myth of the month is that you can’t plant flowers under trees, a myth that’s not founded in fact at all, as flower beds can actually help keep trees healthy.
They are also more sustainable than grass in the long run because flower beds require less water.
Choose perennials to minimise soil disturbance, and choose the smallest plants possible for the same reason.
Carefully work them into the soil that’s there, rather than adding more soil or compost for planting, and choose colours that tone well with your tree foliage.
Early colour comes this month from the popular pelargonium, commonly known as geranium – they flower from spring right through to late autumn.
If you protect them from frost during the winter months they will continue to thrive for many years and so long as they have a bit of sun, they can be grown pretty much anywhere.
Pelargonium fan Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE is an ardent admirer.
She said: “When I see pelargonium my heart sings with joy.
“They are one of my favourite plants and they are such an easy patio plant to grow.
“I particularly love the vibrant flower colours that look stunning against their dark green foliage.
“Their scents are irresistible and fill the air with hints of rose, lemon, mint, fruit, nut, and spice”.
May is the month when everything gets busy in the garden and even the most relaxed of gardeners gets going.
Watering and weeding are both key, as is sowing and planting out, depending on regional weather. It’s also time to get back into the swing of mowing the lawn.
Top jobs for this month
Watch out for late frosts and protect tender plants
Liquid feed containers every two to four weeks
Plant out summer bedding
Collect rainwater and look at ways to recycle water for irrigation
Open greenhouse vents and doors on warm days
Mow lawns weekly
Sweet peas need training and tying in to their supports
Watch out for greenfly and black spot on roses
Plant hanging baskets