Help them thrive! | Garden jobs for May


Yes, the warmer weather is coming but be wary until frosts are gone and ensure optimum siting for plants to bloom, says Pete Harcom.
Foxgloves are biennial – the plants will root and produce foliage in their first year, remain dormant throughout winter
before erupting into beautiful blooms the following year. Foxgloves prefer partial shade – they are a woodland plant and so like woodland conditions

May should be a lot warmer, but as said last month, keep an eye on the weather forecast and protect early outdoor sowings and plantings with fleece.
Gradually harden-off tender plants for outside (and hanging baskets) before planting out after the last frosts which should be by mid-May (possibly)!
Bedding plants may need to wait to be planted out towards the end of May.
Now is a good time to re-evaluate the positioning of plants; try to reduce any failures or poor growth due to their siting in the garden.

The right spot
If you have a shady area in your garden, it’s a good idea to check your individual plants requirements – research any that are unfamiliar. Always ensure they get planted in the correct place in the garden. Check out if the plant’s natural habitat is, for example, a woodland – then you can be sure it will grow best in dappled shade, and not in full sun.
Following is a list of plants and shrubs that prefer to be in dappled shade or even full shade:

Shade lovers
Astilbe, Azaleas, Hostas, Bergenia, Bleeding Heart (Dicentra) Foxgloves, Solomon’s Seal, Pieris, Hydrangeas, Hellebores, Ferns, Forget Me Not, Lily of the Valley, Autumn Anemones, Pulmonaria, Vinca Minor and Major (Periwinkle),
Shrubs – Mahonia, Viburnum, Rhododendron, Holly (Ilex), Berberis, Euonymus, Fuchsia Shrubs, Skimmia, Weigela, Cotoneaster, Daphne, Ribes (flowering currant).
Do note that the leaves of Skimmia shrubs turn yellow if in full sun. You may need to give the plant a tonic of sequestered iron after you have moved it from the sunny position.
Acer Palmatum trees enjoy partial shade – these can be spectacular in Autumn.
You can buy a wildflower ‘shade mix’ of seeds for a ‘wild’ and shady part of your garden.

Other jobs
• Birds will be starting to nest now – please check hedges before trimming them back.
• Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as Deutzia, Choisya, Weigela and Philadelphus. These can all be pruned after flowering to maintain shape.
• Keep tying in Clematis, Sweet peas and honeysuckle as they grow up their trellis or other supports.
• Apply liquid feed to Daffodils and the Spring bulbs to ensure good flowers for next year.

by Pete Harcom at Sherton Abbas Gardening

Sponsored by Thorngrove Garden Centre


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