Make sure you take time out to enjoy your green space
As May blossoms your most important job is to take time out from the hard work to relax and enjoy the garden. Too often we get so engrossed in our tasks, we forget to enjoy the fruits of our labours.
Consider it essential research that requires sitting down with a drink of your choice and just watching the garden grow – and grow it does in May.
After your chill-out time, jobs you must do are thin out any direct sown drifts of annuals, and harden off the half hardy plants. This is done by leaving them out during the day and fetching them back in overnight for a couple of weeks.
For a change, a “must not” and that is you mustn’t cut back spring flowering bulbs – allow them to die back naturally. Instead, prune your penstemons to the base now, providing there’s growth at the bottom of the plant. If there isn’t, then cut back to just above the lowest set of leaves. And tie in sweet peas to encourage them to grow and avoid the damaging wind.
Tip of the Month
Protect crops from carrot fly by covering with horticultural fleece or enviromesh
Q: We used to have lilac in our garden when I was a child, and I’d like to plant one now; what advice would you give?
A: Lilacs are wonderfully carefree shrubs. I too had one in my childhood garden and have gone on to plant one in our garden. Their needs are simple: plenty of sunlight, good drainage, fertile soil and annual pruning. They can be planted now, once the risk of frost has passed, and ideally in a position that gets full sun for at least half the day. They can get quite large, so check there’s height and space for the spread of the variety you pick. They also like good drainage, so add grit and sand if the soil is heavy. Water regularly during the growing season for the first year and the following spring you’ll be rewarded with a plentiful supply of blooms.
Got a gardening conundrum? Ask Andy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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