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5 must-do gardening jobs for May

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Five must-do jobs for May

After the beautiful bank holiday weekend, the sun seems to have disappeared again (boo), but the long range forecast is good apparently and gardens need tending in good weather and bad. So out you go and give your shrubs a bit of TLC!

Here are 5 must-do jobs for May from the brilliant Simon,  better known as The Oxfordshire Gardener.


1. Plant up hanging baskets and summer containers

pink flower baskets hanging on brick wall


Now the risk of late frost has passed (in Bucks/Oxon it’s usually the second week of May) it’s the perfect time to plant up hanging baskets and summer containers. Geraniums, begonias, petunias and fuchsias are pretty, traditional summer bedding plants or if you want something more unusual try trailing strawberries or tomatoes….pretty and delicious.

2. Check the temperature in your greenhouse

Now that the days are getting warmer, avoid high temperatures in your greenhouse by applying shading or securing blinds. Greenhouse shading can be applied with a brush or spray and you can build up layers to increase the shade density. And don’t forget to open the doors and vents of your greenhouse on hot, sunny days – the movement of air over the leaves has a cooling effect on the plants.

3. Get sowing your veggies


Now is the time to direct sow runner beans and French beans outdoors; simply erect your supports and sow one or two seeds at the base of each cane or pole. Continue to sow lettuce, radishes, spring onions, carrots, beetroot, spinach and peas in short rows every few weeks to give a continuous supply of vegetable throughout the summer.

4. Prune spring-flowering shrubs

Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as forsythia, choisya, ribes, chaenomeles (pictured), pyracantha and kerria after they have finished flowering to help maintain their shape, health and structure for the year to come. Cutting back choisya will help promote a second flush of flowers in the Autumn.

5. Lift and divide congested spring-flowering bulbs and perennials

It’s a good idea to life and divide congested spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and primroses. When flowering has finished, carefully lift each clump and gently separate the bulbs or plants – it’s an inexpensive way of fill your garden rather than having to buy new again, and allows space for the bulbs to produce more flowers next year. Plant some back in their original position and find new homes for the others. Keep them watered them until they are established.

The Oxfordshire Gardener, Tel: 07771 813558.

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