On this page we hope to keep you up to date with what to do in the garden throughout the year.
Weeds will now start to fight their way into the garden, so the hoe will become a bigger part of your armoury if you are to keep the garden looking nice. What looks better than freshly broken ground with plants fighting to present their flowers to the world. Keep an eye open for any sign of frost and protect young shoots that need your help. Pests such as greenfly will appear as soon as conditions are right, so make sure that you have a deterrent ready to deal with them, be it spray or biological. Slugs and snails will need controlling or your plants will suffer. Give attention to the lawn, roll it to flatten the worm casts and tidy its edges, give it its first cut when conditions are right. Think about repairs to walls and paths and repair where necessary.
Start to prepare the summer bedding and at the same time lift any bulbs that may be in the way of future plants. Have a look round and stake and tie any plants that need a little help. Keep a look out for plants that still need protection from cold winds such as Azaleas and other tender shrubs. Keep the weeding going. Auriculas and Ranunculus should be kept tidy and helped with a little manure water in the mornings.
SEEDS TO SOW
Hardy Annuals should be sown this month with Half Hardy Annuals being sown from the end of the month. It's a matter of opinion as to whether annuals should be started off indoors or sown directly into the bed. My own opinion is that you will tend to get more plants if you start them off indoors and transplant them when they are established. Biennials and Perennials can also be sown if they are to flower during the summer. Check your seed packets and start your summer sowing.
Now is the time to propagate Hardy Perennials, so seize the opportunity to put old favourites in other parts of the garden. Antirrhinums (autumn sown), aquilegias, calceolarias, carnations, dahlias, dianthus, hardy ferns, hollyhocks, irises, pansies, penstemons, pinks, stocks, summer-flowering bulbs such as gladiolus, tigridia are some that you could try. Do not forget the pond, as the water lilies can be divided. Look at the rock garden and check if any of the plants need to be propagated by division to keep their number up. Try some new varieties from seed and give the spare plants to your friends. Of course you will have to thin out those plants that have tried to take over the garden. Remember to prune the roses and cut last year's growth back on shrubs such as Buddleia Davidii, whilst leaving Buddleia Globasa and Alternifolia just to be tidied.
Temperatures should be maintained at 11C (65F) by day and 8C (45F) by night. Use auto vents where possible, if not admit air freely in mild weather and give the plants adequate water. As the sun shows itself more and more start to use the shades. Some plants will need repotting. As the plants start to flower give them a feed of weak liquid manure. If you feel the need to retard blooming plants such as Azaleas to secure a succession of bloom apply some shade. Do not forget the insects and deal with them before they cause trouble. If you have an Aspidistra it should be divided up and re-potted. Asters and Stocks will need pricking out as they start o show maturity.
Time to harden off summer bedding plants that were sown last month. Pinch out the top to make them bush out. Begonias and Gloxinias will start to grow so make sure that they are in the required flowering postion, as should Calceolarias. Carnations should be put into their flowering pots.
Trim and tidy up all climbers before they start into growth.
SEEDS TO SOW
Half hardy annuals such as Ageratum, Asters, Auriculas, Balsam, Cinerarias, Freesias, Nemesia, Petunias, Phlox, Stocks, Tree Carnations should be sown in boxes.
Time to take cuttings of all soft wood plants and strike them in pots or boxes. It is not too late to start Fuchsias in heat or take cuttings.
Look to see if any plants need larger pots, but remember a larger pot does not always mean more flowers. Re pot Azaleas after they have flowered.
Get the ground ready for plants and seeds such as frame grown Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower, and Lettuces. Cabbages should be given a feed of nitrate of soda(25gm (1 oz) to the square metre (yard)). Celery trenches should be dug, and Asparagus beds got ready. Runner Beans raised in boxes should be planted. Watch out for frosts and birds if you are to present good looking plants. Prepare beds for Cucumbers, Marrows and Tomatoes. Try a Mushroom bed. Peas should be given a feed to help them on their way. Potatoes should have the soil drawn up over the leaves to protect them from frost.
SEEDS TO SOW
A lot to do this month. Herbs, salading and vegetables can be sown from now on. Put beetroot in warm postions. Broccoli and kale should be sown. If you have chalky soil try some Chicory. Carrots need to be sown half way through the month. If you have put Lettuce in it will not move until the weather becomes warmer so do not despair if they appear to have stopped growing. French Beans should be put in. Those wanting to try Spinach, Kohl Rabi, Ramion and Salsify can still put the seeds in.
If you have forgotten to plant Artichokes get on with it. Plant those Brussels sprouts, Cabbages, Potatoes (main crop), Rhubarb, Seakale, and early vegetable Marrows. Marjoram, mint, sage, thyme can be lifted, divided and replanted, but remember mint goes everywhere unless contained. Thin out carrots, onions and parsnips.
Sow Runner Beans, cucumbers, marrows and melons. Prick off celery and tomato seedlings. Harden off Brussels Sprouts, cauliflowers and lettuces.
Pruning and grafting should have been finished. Continue with the protection of blossom and spray with insecticide to give protection from pests. Only plant container grown fruit trees from now on, never chance dug trees. Wall trees will need moisture from now on.
The temperature of fruit under glass must be kept constant as the weather is changeable. Fertilise Apricots, Nectarines and Peaches by passing a feather or a rabbit's tail from flower to flower. Figs will need spraying daily and their temperature kept at 15C (60 F). Grapes will require their small berries removed in order to swell the size of the remainder. If you want to try Strawberries make sure that they are well ventilated when in flower.
TREES AND SHRUBS
As with fruit time is running out to graft and prune. Division may still be attempted, but be quick. Make good all losses in hedges, such as Box, and then give them their first clipping and a little water. There is still time to plant plot grown Azaleas. Lots to do, but lots to admire as the summer passes by. Enjoy it.