May’s a busy time in the garden!

It’s been a busy month for us at Ivy Cottage, both in the house and garden. The builders are on the last leg of renovations and the house is starting to be put back together after removing walls, dealing with damp, laying new floors, electrics, plumbing, fitting a new staircase and lots of plastering. It will all be worth it when it’s finished! In the garden we’ve done more planting, the greenhouse has been paved and later this month it’s the turn of the patio. My plan is to have the bulk of the work finished by the end of June, if possible!

There will still however be loads of other smaller jobs around the garden to keep us busy!

It’s also show season and this week we’re off the RHS Malvern Spring Festival where Jill and I will be on the Potting Shed stage giving talks and Q&A sessions, joined by some of the show guests and nursery exhibitors.

Fast forward to June, we’re delighted to be at the Lincolnshire Show on 19th & 20th June, which is only five miles from home!  I’m working with the show to help increase the gardening section and I’ve managed to get 10 nurseries (many of them Gold medal winners) to each create a small outside exhibit and sales area that will be judged. It’s in an area next to the Floral Art and W.I. marquees and each day we’ll have a full programme of gardening, cookery and flower arranging talks and demos on Potting Shed stage. If you live in or near Lincolnshire, please spread the word so that we can develop and extend this part of what is already a lovely show.

If you are planning to be at any of the shows we are at this summer, please do come along and say hello. A full list of shows we are attending is on our website –

Jobs for May

It looks like roses might start flowering early this season. If you’ve not already fed, now is the time to sprinkle a little general fertiliser around the plants to boost growth and encourage plenty of flowers.

In warm, moist soil weeds grow very quickly, so keep on top of them to prevent a problem later this summer. We prefer to hoe through borders and the veg plot every couple of weeks to chop off small seedling weeds.

Support tall growing perennials as they grow with frames or twiggy stems pushed in the soil around them.

Continue to deadhead and feed spring flowering bulbs after they have flowered to help build up the bulbs for next year.

Gradually harden off tender plants outside on fine days but be prepared to bring them undercover or cover with fleece if the night temperatures drop below 5oC (40oF)

Lawns are growing fast and the best way to keep them under control and looking good is to mow little and often. I don’t do ‘No Mow May’ on my lawns, because I don’t think a month is long enough to make a difference, plus come June it will take several weeks to get the lawn back to a good condition. Instead, I leave an area of grass to naturalise in front of our hedge where I’m introducing bulbs and wildflowers.

There is still plenty of time to sow lots of flowers and vegetables such as summer flowering hardy annuals, runner beans, courgettes, French beans, squashes, cucumber, lettuce & salads and winter brassicas all through May and into June. If you haven’t bought seeds yet or want more, Kings Seeds who are one or out Pots & Trowels video sponsors has kindly offered a 10% discount to our followers (and that includes you!) There’s no catch, just go onto and quote PT2024 to get 10% off seeds. (valid to 31-12-2024 T&C’s apply)

As potatoes grow, earth up soil around the stems to form ridges which encourages more tubers to develop. Potatoes growing in pots need regular watering and feeding to help the tubers develop.

Sow lettuce and salad leaves little and often for a continuous supply through summer.


If tall flowering stems appear on your rhubarb plant, simply cut them off and add to the compost heap.

For more weekly gardening tips and advice, you can watch our gardening videos “Pots & Trowels” on Facebook or subscribe on YouTube for free. And don’t forget our weekly P&T podcast where we chat to gardening guests, give a few jobs for the week and answer your gardening questions. Available through your normal podcast provider or listen on


Happy gardening