10 things to do in the garden during May

Prep your pots

As the weather warms up, it’s time to fill your patio containers, hanging baskets and window boxes with summer bedding plants. Add moisture-retaining crystals to the compost to help reduce the amount of watering needed and feed every two to four weeks to promote healthy growth.

Winning combinations

Putting a little thought into your plant pairings is always worth the effort. One of my favourite combinations at this time of year is Syringa vulagaris ‘Madame Lemoine’ paired with Camassia cusickii.

Ready, steady, sow

If your soil feels like it has warmed up, most vegetable crops can be sown now. With quick growing crops such as salads and spinach, repeat sow every 10 days to ensure a consistent supply of fresh leaves. Start sowing runner, dwarf and climbing French beans too for a bumper summer crop.

Just peachy 

The colour peach is trending for 2024. It’s the Pantone Colour of the Year and if you want to add some peachy hues to your garden, try Dahlia Labyrinth, Narcissus Waldorf Astoria and Verbascum Tropical Sun.

Make a chopping list

It's time to take the secateurs to later-flowering herbaceous perennials. Shrubs that have finished flowering such as Viburnums, Ribes and Forsythias should be pruned and trimmed back. Pruning immediately after flowering guarantees healthy new growth for the year.

Great British Life: Aquilegia vulgaris will brighten a shady spot. Aquilegia vulgaris will brighten a shady spot. (Image: Getty Images)

Shady characters 

In almost every garden, there’s a shady spot where you need more colour. Alchemilla mollis is a very popular hardy perennial with vigorous growth, excellent for filling large areas with its spray of tiny yellow flowers. Or Aquilegia vulgaris, with more compact growth, is ideal for smaller, more contained areas.

Vine time

Plant out tomatoes in the greenhouse now and you’ll be picking fresh tomatoes by summer. Erect strong supports before planting as mature fruiting plants will be heavy. Start feeding when the first flowers appear.

Cut backs

Your spring bulbs will probably have finished now. Deadheading daffodils not only looks neater but also means the plant’s energy is returned to the bulb. Leave foliage to die down naturally, again strengthening the bulb for next year.

Support system

Climbers such as clematis, sweet peas and passion flowers will be putting on spurts of growth now, so take a bit of time to tie in new growth to their supports. Use garden twine in a figure of eight shape to attach the stem to the support with the knot on the support side.

Weed and water

Remember to weed and water, keeping an eye out for greenfly, blackfly, other aphids, caterpillars, slugs and snails. And when you’re done, take time to sit back and enjoy being outdoors in the garden again.

Great British Life: Rhododendron yakushimanum 'Golden Torch'Rhododendron yakushimanum 'Golden Torch' (Image: Getty Images)

Plant of the month 

Rhododendron ‘Golden Torch’ is a compact, upright shrub with lovely salmon-pink blooms.