At last spring is in the air and summer is coming. We should be mindful of climate issues but not let it put us off gardening forever
May and June are often thought of as a difficult time as often there is a lot of foliage and not many flowers. I am often asked how do I fill this gap…?
I think we all deserve a treat after the horrendous weather extremes we have been dealt. We can’t choose plants will survive every eventuality we can only do our best. If May is a time when your garden is very green there is nothing like a trip to the garden centre. If the plants are hardened off and used to the outdoors they will be on sale outdoors. If they are in flower when you buy them you would assume they will flower at the same time next year. Don’t be tempted to buy plants sold undercover and put them straight into your garden, they need to be acclimatised to the outside first. You will need to do a bit of research so it’s not totally impulsive!
Most flowering plants can be describe as five minute wonders or those that reward us for a longer period of time. Irises and Aquilegias I would not be without along with many alpines but they don’t last long. Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ is a perennial wallflower that flowers for the whole of the summer. It tends to only live for a few years but not expensive to replace. Hardy Fushsias and Roses are also reliable bloomers all summer long as is Geranium ‘Rozanne’. It’s important to know the proper name of the plant and ‘what it does’. It is also essential to know your soil pH and if it likes sun, shade, sandy soil, wet soil etc etc. Luckily these days there are very educational label. Bedding plants are available now but be aware there can still be frosts in May!
Jobs to do now
It’s very important to weed and mulch but not excessively, a lot of ‘weeds’ are beneficial to wildlife and don’t discount the beauty of flowers. Consider leaving red and white dead nettle and dandelions as well as nettles in some areas of your garden. Planting is great at this time of the year but remember how important it is to learn how to water properly. So many plants are lost in the first season due to lack of water.
The Chelsea chop
This is something you can do at the end of May to encourage more flowers on some perennials like Helianthis, Helenium, Lynchis and many others. It can also encourage them to become sturdier and self supporting.
We should probably be buying more plants in season and enjoying them for as long as we can. Learn about your soil and how to improve it. Courses and workshops can create confidence and are great fun. Learn how different plants can contribute to your outdoor space.
Please ask for details as I am running pruning courses throughout spring and autumn. Each plant has a different requirement and learning about pruning techniques is addictive! I can also come and teach you in your own garden.