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May in your garden

Plant colour

We have had such a blast of colour this year. The Magnolias were as good as ever. The trees are now all clad in various shades of green and we head for the last of the frosts (probably). Leafy glades are now turning blue with the bluebell season. They are at their best with a few shafts of sunlight coming through the tree canopy.

Blossom in May

This is probably the best time of year for a blast of stunning blossom from the fruit trees and hawthorn. This combined with the pink of the ornamental cherries makes a wonderful sight and raises the spirits.

Colourful plants in May

This month we can expect the Clematis montana rubens Freda with its award winning cherry pink flowers. A shrub that always lifts the spirits is Exochorda x macrantha “The Bride” with clusters of white flowers. The Azaleas with their eye catching colours such as Azalea narcissiflorum with its sweetly scented double pale yellow flowers and darker centre. Then the more Robust Rhododendrons follow on.


The buds are on the roses, so depending on your location and aspect you should have a good showing of the early roses. The Rugosa with magnificent scent and the early yellow Graham Thomas.

Plant feeding

Now is a good time to sprinkle fertilizer over the borders and give the roses a handful of bonemeal around their base

Plants for damp areas of the garden

Fortunately there are plants for all areas of the garden. In the damper areas  Hostas, Astilbe, Ligularia, Cornus and Sambuccus will all do well. If you have room for a tree, then the Alder is a good choice.

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. Peonies are coming through with an array of colours. If gentle pastel is your thing then perhaps Eden’s perfume or Bernhardt. For those who like a deeper colour maybe Red Charm.

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.


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