What to do in the garden in May
Aside from sip a large G&T? Garden expert Jane Follis shares her list of gardening jobs for the merry month of May
Somerset-based Jane Follis of Jane Follis Garden Design has been creating unique outdoor spaces across the south of England for 20 years, from rolling country estates to compact urban courtyards. She’ll sort out your garden too, if you ask her. Jane put down her trowel to give us her list of gardening jobs for May…
1. Love your lawn
Lawns can look a bit scraggly and patchy after the winter, so now’s the time to pamper yours a little. Get rid of any pesky weeds, apply a feed following the manufacturer’s instruction (it will look bad for a while but stay with it) and re-seed any bald patches.
2. Border control
Weed through flower beds. Stake perennials so plants can grow through the supports before the shape is spoiled. Fill any gaps in the border with bedding plants (Cosmos ‘purity’ flowers continuously from June through to the first frost). If your soil is free-draining, leave post-flowering tulips in the ground. If it’s heavy and claggy, lift and store in a cool, dry place before planting out again in November.
3. Tame your climbers
Climbers will be starting to romp away now so tie in any wayward shoots and if it all seems to be getting out of hand, don’t be afraid to cut back quite hard.
4. Prep your pots
Refresh your pots by slicing off the top layer of old compost and replace it with new. Sprinkle on some slow-release fertiliser to give an extra boost. Planting up new terracotta pots? Soak them in water first to prevent the porous terracotta sucking out moisture.
5. Go shopping
Here are five plants that will add all-year-round interest, with a special wow factor in the summer.
- Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ – a shrub with intoxicatingly fragrant Japanese-like pink flowers
- Knautia macedonia – long-lasting dark berry coloured flowers like nodding blackberries in summer and seed heads into winter
- Sesleria autumnalis – bright green evergreen grass topped with creamy white flowers in summer
- Verbena bonariensis – the garden designer’s favourite with very tall, stiff stems with clusters of small purple flowers
- Gypsophila ‘Rosenschleier’ – or ‘baby’s breath’ is a haze of minute white/pink flowers
A member of the Society of Garden Designers, Jane has over 20 years’ experience in garden and landscape design. Inspired by nature, art and sculpture, she uses both traditional and contemporary styles and her knowledge of plants and horticulture to create beautiful, personal gardens. Yes please.