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Sow seeds now, reap reward later


May is an ideal month for gardening; warm days, cool nights and less humidity encourages a return to digging and planting.

Spring can be unpredictable, with hot days demanding new plants be watered daily, whereas autumn still gives newly planted trees and shrubs some warmth to stimulate growth but watering isn’t such a chore.

It is time to plant out spring bulbs before the end of May.

Tulips and hyacinths need a couple of weeks in the fridge crisper to trick them into thinking they are under the snow.

One of my favourite plants, Cymbidium orchids, will begin to bloom towards the end of May.

They are wonderful to have indoors during the winter months; their green, strappy growth from which the blooms emerge provide a real highlight as the flowers open.

May is an ideal time to divide strawberries. After transplanting the new strawberries, apply Flourish regularly to establish the runners.   

Try growing strawberries in a wall garden. The elevation prevents them from being eaten by slugs, snails and grubs.

May chores can be endless, but the work will produce great new plants for spring, for example, divide clivia and agapanthus now while the weather is cool – after division, water well and apply Bounceback, which is a slow-release to encourage growth until winter.

Sasanqua camellias now in bloom are ideal for sun or shade, whilst Japonica camellias flower in winter will need disbudding shortly – this encourages larger bloom and less bud drop.

Once heating is turned on give house plants a little extra care. Some plants may need to be moved where more light is available and ferns such as Maiden Hair will need a fine mist spray each morning as they dry out easily.

Keep an eye out for the emergence of winter grass; these pretty green tufts fool many gardeners.

It should be sprayed now before it goes to seed.

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