At last, here comes the colour. The early leaves are unfolding to give a myriad shades of fresh bright greens. The shrubs are also continuing the succession of colour first started in April with the yellow Forsythia and purple Ribes.
Colourful plants in May
Look out for Clematis montana rubens Freda with its award winning cherry pink flowers. Another excellent seasonal shrub is Exochorda x macrantha “The Bride” with clusters of white flowers. The Azaleas are still going strong, look out for Azalea narcissiflorum with its sweetly scented double pale yellow flowers and darker centre.
Now is a good time to sprinkle fertilizer over the borders and give the roses a handful of bonemeal around their base
Plants for the damper areas of the garden
In the damper areas of the garden you can plant a variety of plants which will thank you for being so savvy! Hostas, Astilbe, Ligularia, Cornus and Sambuccus will all do well.
Plants for sunny locations
If you are lucky enough to have a sunny wall to your garage or house, then a Wisteria will give two good displays each year if pruned properly. However, take care not to attach the runners directly to the house, gutters or downpipes as a mature plant will crush or pull and cause damage. Erect a network of eyes and wires and only use these to train your plant across the width of the wall. Remember that the racemes hang downwards so leave a fair amount of space between each row of wires.
Perennial and herbaceous plants
This is the wonderful group of plants that come up year after year and obligingly disappear back under the soil’s protection in the winter. A few of them like penstemon leave a small woody structure as an added layer of protection. These plants typically grow quite tall and often will benefit from a little helping hand in the form of twigs or a frame to support their new growth.
Nesting birds in your garden
The hedges are now full of young birds preparing themselves for their first flight. Please give them a break and leave the hedge trimming until later in the summer!
Jobs to do in the garden in May
Check roses for the first signs of blackspot, mildew and aphids
Start to clip evergreen hedges – so long as no birds are nesting in it,
use hand tools or leave until September
Watch out for the pillar box red adult lily beetle
Put grow through frames in place over the taller type herbaceous plants
Put up pheromone traps in apple trees to catch codling moths
Complete the pruning of early flowering shrubs as there blossom fades
Start to dead head azaleas and rhododendrons.