Gardening year May flowers vegetables



Bindweed, the gardener ©

On this page we hope to keep you up to date with what to do in the garden throughout the year.

Gardening Year




Final selections for planting should be made this month. Start hoeing to remove the weeds that are now beginning to show themselves and finish off the digging and rotovating to prepare the beds for planting. In dry weather some watering should be undertaken, but sparingly to conserve water from now and throughout the summer. Consider installing a water butt under the house rainwater downpipe. Keep an eye open for pests and diseases.



Clematis Ranunculaceae (Vyvyan Penell)

Hardy annuals raised under glass should be planted out. Bulbs want tidying after the foliage has died down. Remove old leaves from Carnations and pinks and loosen the ground round them. Make sure they are free from weeds. Sweet peas will need supporting and tying up. Put corks on short canes to protect people from injury. Check the support for other climbing plants and look at plants that need staking and pegging down.

Look through the seed packs that you have bought to see what has to be sown. There is still time to buy those that have been overlooked whilst making lists by the winter fire. Some seeds to be sown are asters, hardy annuals and night-scented stocks.

Plant antirrhinums, begonias, Calceolarias, dahlias in pots and half-hardy bedding plants. Divide Spring flowering plants, such as primroses, for next season. Plant out the late flowering annuals. Thin out and transplant where necessary.


Clean the greenhouse thoroughly. The temperature should remain at 15c (45f) by night and 19c (65f) by day. Water regularly to maintain a moist atmosphere. Maintain a good air flow through the house. Automatic vents will help. Look out for pests and keep under control. Carnations should be given a little liquid manure twice a week and should be shaded when flower buds appear. Move bulbs out of doors so that the leaves can die down. Shrubs should have old wood removed and thinned out. Read the seed packets and start to sow your choice such as begonias, gloxinias and primulas. Start taking cuttings from now on. Look to see what plants need re-potting. Now thin out those seedlings.


Asparagus should be cut when the shoots reach 150mm (6"). Many herbs can be increased by means of length way cuttings (slips).

Maintain the succession of seed sowing with seeds such as carrots, lettuces and onions to give a succession throughout the summer salad season. Put the main crop of runner beans in. Sow late broccoli, and find somewhere warm for French beans. Peas for picking in August should be sown now. Herb growers should sow parsley and chervil for winter use.

Now is the time to plant out previously sown Brussels sprouts, but make sure the land is well limed. Cauliflowers, celery, celeriac, leeks, onions, marrows and savoys need night protection. For the adventurous try a pumpkin or outdoor tomatoes. Just time for a few late potatoes.


Vegetables such as carrots and potatoes that were grown under polythene or in frames should now be ready for the table. Replace the soil in frames and get them ready to be used again. Cucumbers need ventilation during the day, but protection from the late afternoon chill. Do not forget to water them before closing the frame. Melons need well prepared pits on which to thrive, so put the effort into this and finish them off with water twice a week.


All fruit will benefit from a mulch. Apricots, peaches and Morello cherries should be disbudded back. Keep a look out for eggs on the Gooseberry and dust with Derris if they are spotted. Give the unwanted raspberry suckers to your friends to leave around four to six to each stool. Tidy the strawberry runners, planting new beds and give the unwanted ones away. Straw should be placed between plants to protect the fruits from the ground.


Fruit trees should be sprayed with water in hot weather, but this should not be overdone and do not forget the ventilation. Remove leaves that cover fruit to aid ripening. Figs planted in the greenhouse soil that have ripening fruit should have the watering stopped. Grapes should have their temperature maintained at 19c (65f) with a dry well ventilated atmosphere to aid the formation of the fruit.


There is no point in having a garden if you cannot sit in it and admire the fruits of your labours, so do not spent all your time cutting the grass and clipping the hedges. Put the table on the lawn or patio with the umbrella and sit and watch the garden perform its seasonal plays. You will, after a rest, have to prune the Spring flowering shrubs. Should you have visited the garden centre you may have to plant an Azalea or any other shrub that took your fancy. Ah, that's gardening for you, it never stops.

Enjoy your days in the garden.

Gardening Year

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