Long days, warmer temperatures and spring showers all combine to make May a month of abundant blossom and vigorous growth. The winter silhouettes of trees and hedges have now filled out and are providing cover for nesting birds and mammals. Everything in the garden is busy as plants renew and animals prepare for new life. There are plenty of jobs to do in the garden, but it’s also a lovely time to just look and enjoy the space around us.
No Mow May
The environmental charity Plantlife has established the No Mow May campaign to encourage people to allow their lawns to go wild for a month, allowing wildflowers to flourish and bloom. This encourages plant diversity and provides valuable food for hungry pollinators. At the end of the month participants can join in the Every Flower Counts survey which will help build a picture of the health of Britain’s wild flowers – this could make a good half term activity! More information available at:
Everything is growing quickly at this time, so try to keep on top of the weeding to give the plants you choose to grow the best chance. If it is starting to feel too much like hard work, try using thick mulch around your plants to supress the weeds. This also helps to lock in moisture and reduce the need for watering in dry periods.
Cutting back and clearing up
Spring-flowering shrubs such as forsythia can be cut back after flowering to keep them compact. When cutting back dense vegetation at this time do check for anything that may be nesting and if you find something, rather than disturb it, wait until autumn when any young will have departed.
When spring bedding plants such as wallflowers have faded and past their best, they can be removed to make way for summer-flowering plants.
Scoop out excess pond weed and leave it for at least a day by the side of the pond so any water creatures can make their way back home before you compost the weed.
Sowing and planting out
There are still many fast growing flowers and vegetables that can be sown in May; including borage, nasturtiums, peas, beans, courgettes and squash – all of which are edible. Even if you don’t have a vegetable patch you may like to integrate some attractive fruits and vegetables into your garden and benefit from the harvest they yield.
Earlier sowings of tender plants can be gradually acclimatised to outdoor conditions, then planted out when all danger of frost has passed.
Increasing your bounty
Lifting and dividing daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs will give you more plants next year.
You can take cuttings of woody herbs such as rosemary, thyme and lavender. Simply trim approximately 10cm lengths from the plant and strip the lower leaves. Place in pots of gritty compost, water and keep in the shade until established.
Cuttings can also easily be taken from fuchsias, dahlias and pelargoniums. The additional plants can be used in your own garden or given to friends and family.
Garden waste service
The current subscription year expires on 31 July 2022. New registrations and renewals for the year ending July 2023 are available now by visiting www.wealden.gov.uk/gardenwaste. Customers can register for up to four bins at £55 per bin To avoid any disruption to service, please renew by 13 July. All customers that sign up online by midnight on 13 July will be entered into a prize draw to be one of ten lucky people to win back the cost of a garden waste bin. For details see: https://www.wealden.gov.uk/recycling-and-waste/garden-waste-service/