May hints & tips
As your spring bedding plants go over, remove them and compost them. Once the display is completely over, dig over and prepare the ground ready for your summer bedding plants. Beware of late frosts and have fleece on stand-by ready to protect any summer bedding and other tender plants that have already been planted out. You can also take cuttings of pansies and violas for next year. Take a good look around today for plants for the summer and any products you need to protect and feed them for a superb display this year.
Garden Health Check
Keep your Spring bedding displays – including bulbs – flowering well by feeding weekly with a high potash liquid fertiliser. And remember to deadhead – that is removing the faded flowers – and you’ll be rewarded with a further flush of flowers or an extended display. Many border plants will need support and tying in to prevent them from being damaged and flopping all over the garden. Make sure the supports are in place early as it can be difficult to do when they’re in full growth.
As greenhouse plants will be growing quickly now, check them regularly to see whether they need repotting. If they do, repot into the next size pot using a good quality compost. Good ventilation, regular watering and maybe even some shading are vital at this time of year to keep plants strong and healthy. The greenhouse is a superb environment for growing plants to perfection – but it’s perfect for pests too – especially whitefly. So keep a close eye on all your plants and treat any pest outbreaks as they occur. Don’t forget to pick up everything you need before you leave or ask a member of our friendly staff for help.
There’s no better way of turning a house into a home than by decorating it with houseplants. Whether it’s ferns for the bathroom, specimen foliage plants for the living room, a splash of colour wherever it’s needed from begonias, orchids and other flowering houseplants, or even something exotic for the conservatory – your home will soon come to life with plants. Or try our ready-planted arrangements for an instant effect – just take a look through our houseplant section to see what we have to offer.
Your lawn should be growing fast this month so you will need to cut it regularly – once or twice a week – to keep it looking good. Now’s also a good time to feed the grass for a lush, healthy lawn, so check out our range of lawn fertilisers. Weeds and even moss may also be growing strongly this month, so take action to keep them under control with a lawn feed, weed and mosskiller. Then re-seed any gaps with lawn seed. If you have any questions about your lawn just ask – we’re here to help.
The late spring weather is perfect for many pests and diseases to get a stronghold in the garden, so make sure you carry out regular health checks on all your plants, but especially roses, bedding plants and herbaceous perennials. Prevention is always better than cure so keep looking over your plants and deal with any problems as soon as you see them. A ready-to-use spray ensures you have something ready to hand as soon as you see the first signs of trouble. Slugs and snails will also be very active now, so protect your plants from these ravenous eaters with your favourite control methods.
Plants of the Month
Brighten up your garden with our Plants of the Month. At this time of year there are so many shrubs and climbers to choose from, including: Ceanothus, choisya, Cytisus, rhododendrons and a vast array of evergreen foliage plants. Clematis Montana, wisteria; plus plenty of herbaceous perennials like aquilegia, dicentra, euphorbia and peonies.
Plant Up Containers
Summer containers and hanging baskets can be placed outside at the end of May or early June – after the last frost. But, you can plant them up as soon as you like, as long as you have somewhere protected from frost, with good light. By planting now they’ll look full and ready to burst into colour for the summer. If you need any help and advice on which plants to use and how to do it – just ask – and remember to pick up your plants, containers, baskets, liners, brackets, compost, water-retention gel and feeds.
Plant Up Tomatoes
Now’s the time to plant out greenhouse tomatoes for a bumper crop; and we have a good selection of plants in stock. You’ll need something to grow them in – such as growing-bags, 8 inch pots or growing rings filled with potting compost. If you find that growing-bags dry out too quickly – and the bottom of the fruit turns black – then cut the bags in half widthways, stand them on end and put one plant in each half. And don’t forget you’ll need to regularly water, feed and support the plant, so take a look at the products we have available.
This is a good time to get hedges back into great shape. And you can even rejuvenate overgrown evergreen hedges – but not conifers – by cutting them back hard. When cutting, make sure the hedge is wider at the base then it is at the top to prevent it becoming bare at the bottom. To do a good job you’ll need the right tools, so take a look at our secateurs, shears, loppers and hedges trimmers.
Roses will fill your garden with flower power and we have plenty of quality potted roses in stock. Roses need plenty of feeding if they’re to produce dramatic displays, so give them a diet of granular rose fertiliser. A feed now, and then again in mid-July will bring out a profusion of perfect blooms. Remember to check regularly for pests,
blackspot and other diseases and spray if necessary with a recommended insecticide and/or a fungicide. Don’t forget to pick up some new plants, fertiliser, fungicide and insecticide before you leave.
Hardy annuals such as pot marigolds, clarkia, cornflowers, agrostemma, echium, love-in-a-mist and annual chrysanthemums can be sown outdoors now where you want them to flower. Indoors you can sow annual climbers such as asarina, eccremocarpus, cobaea, ipomoea, tropaeolum and rhodochiton. And there’s now a wide range of herbaceous perennials that will flower in their first year – so start sowing now. Remember to pick up your seeds, seed trays, cell trays, small pots, propagator, compost, labels and anything else you need for perfect results.
Stop Codling Moth
If you’ve bitten into an apple only to discover a maggot inside, then you’ll need to be on the look out for codling moth. Now’s the time to take measures to stop maggoty fruit this year. One of the most effective methods is to hang a codling moth trap in the tree. It’s completely organic – it doesn’t use any pesticides. The trap contains a pheromone that attracts the male moths, which become stuck to a sticky pad. No males means no fertilised eggs and so you can say goodbye to the maggots. Alternatively, spray with an insecticide containing bifenthrin after the flowers have faded, and again three weeks later.
To ensure a long succession of tasty vegetables throughout summer, you can sow seeds of many types – especially salad crops – regularly at 10 to 14 day intervals. Now’s also the perfect time to sow French and runner beans outside. Don’t forget climbing varieties will need some form of support. A double row of 8 foot bamboo canes strengthened with horizontal canes is all that’s needed. Or grow ornamental varieties in beds and borders supported on a wigwam of bamboo canes. Late frosts and pests can be a problem at this time of year so be prepared to protect young plants with fleece. Take a look at the vegetable seeds we have in stock and get sowing today.
Take the strain out of watering with a watering system. They are quick and easy to install, and when used with a watering computer you’ll have a system that will use water wisely and water your plants even when you’re out at work or away on holiday. They are very versatile and there are systems for containers and hanging baskets, for use in the greenhouse or even beds and borders. Take a look at what we have in stock before you leave, or ask a member of staff for help and advice.
Weeds can soon take over the garden and they can smother your prized plants and steal valuable water and nutrients from the soil. Now’s the time for an all-out assault using a hoe for annuals and small weeds, mulches and planting membranes to keep beds and borders permanently weed free, and weedkillers to stop even the most persistent weeds taking over. Attack weeds now and they’ll be less of a problem in the summer when you want to enjoy your garden.