Gardening in May

Its been a strange spring so far and the cold and frosty weather at the end of April has certainly set things back. I think that in our North Yorkshire garden we are about two weeks behind. However, it will only take a few weeks of warm, sunny weather for the majority of plants to catch up and hopefully the alliums and apple blossom will soon be in full bloom making the garden look great.

One of my favourite plants at this time of the year is Geum ‘Bell Bank’ with its nodding, dusky pink flowers. If was first discovered by Geoffrey Smith and its a hardy, reliable plant that will flower from late April through until mid-summer. The secret with it is to continually dead head and that way it will keep producing more and more beautiful flowers.

Geum 'Belle Bank'

Geum ‘Bell Bank’

Tender vegetables such as courgettes, sweet corn and squashes that have been started under cover can be growing under cover can be hardened off in a cold frame ready for planting out after the danger of frost has passed.

Plant dahlia tubers where you want them to flower. The top of the fleshy tuber should be an few inches below the soil surface and as new shoots starts to emerge, protect them from frost.

Now is the ideal time to plant up summer hanging baskets and summer containers with a selection of bedding and baskets plants. Once planted let the plants settle and establish in a light, frost-free place for a few weeks before standing outside.

As greenhouse tomatoes start to make strong growth in the warmer weather, keep pinching out the side shoots between the leaves and main stem to keep a straight, single main stem. Ideally do this at least once a week.

Side shoot regularly

Side shoot regularly

Lawns can be treated with a weed and feed to keep the grass healthy and to kill broad-leaves weeds.

Keep sowing carrots, beetroot, lettuce, radish into the garden.

Sow Runner beans either in cell trays in a cold greenhouse or directly outside if you have well-drained soils.