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What to do during May in your garden and greenhouse?

Garden Maintenance

· Garden maintenance

· Put soft tops on the tips of all canes, in borders, veg plots, pots and greenhouses, to prevent injury to eyes

· Apply wood treatment to wooden garden furniture to condition it for summer

· Apply nitrogen-rich summer lawn feed to encourage leafy growth

· Mow grass pathways through wildflower areas so you can walk in among the flowers

· Hoe bare soil and hand-weed beds weekly, so weeds don't have time to establish and set seed

· Put supports in place for clumps of perennials that are prone to flopping, such as top-heavy peonies or phlox

· Check shrubs for nests before you start any pruning, to avoid disturbing nesting birds

· Build sturdy wigwams and supports for climbers such as runner beans, sweet peas and morning glory


· Continue sowing annuals, such as California poppies, into gaps in borders for colour from August into autumn

· Apply liquid feed to tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs to encourage a good display next year

· Remove faded spring bedding, such as wallflowers and forget-me-nots, once faded and add to your compost bin

· Harden off tender plants raised indoors, but bring them back in at night to protect from late frosts

· Pinch out the shoot tips of bedding plants and young annuals to encourage bushier growth

Fruit and veg

· Reduce snail populations by going on regular evening hunts, especially during damp weather

· Pick rhubarb stems as they develop, and water plants with liquid feed

· Hang pheromone traps in apple and plum trees from May to July, to control pests

· Thin out seedlings from earlier sowings to ensure you get healthy, strong-growing plants

· Remove all strawberry runners, so plants put their full energy into fruiting

· Keep plenty of fleece handy to protect young seedlings or fruit blossom, if late frosts are forecast


· Plant heat-treated freesia corms in pots for fragrant flowers this summer

· Check plants regularly for pests, on shoot tips and the underside of leaves, and treat with biological controls

· Put up shading to lower daytime temperatures and reduce scorching

· Open doors and vents on warm days, but close them in the evening as nights can still be cold

· Keep pricking out seedlings as soon as they get their first true leaves, to avoid overcrowding and fungal diseases

· Repot any houseplants that have become top heavy, or pot bound into larger containers

· Start to harden off tender plants and bedding, ready for planting outside after the last frost

· Take cuttings from fuchsias, dahlias and pelargoniums

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