Explore things to do in your garden every month

Gardening in May

May is a busy time in the garden, getting everything ready for what will hopefully be a wonderful summer. Luckily, the days are getting longer and there are two Bank Holidays to enjoy and spend gardening. The warmer temperatures provide great growing conditions, but frosts and cold nights are still possible, so keep an eye on any young and tender plants, which may suffer, and be prepared to protect them with horticultural fleece.

Things to do in:
Things to do this month
Plant summer-flowering bulbs, such as begonias, cannas, dahlias and gladioli.
Take stem cuttings of half-hardy perennials and patio plants, such as fuchsias and pelargoniums.
Harden off young plants grown indoors, acclimatising them to outdoor conditions for 7-10 days.
Sow hardy annual seeds outdoors where you want them to flower.
Plant up patio pots with permanent hardy plants - trees, shrubs, perennials and even fruit.
Feed all outdoor plants with a plant food.
Water container plants regularly - possibly daily, depending on the weather.
Sow fast-maturing vegetables, such as salad crops, every 10-14 days to ensure a continuous supply.
Sow tender vegetables, such as sweet corn, marrows and courgettes, outside in the ground.
Sow cauliflowers and purple sprouting broccoli seeds.
Transplant Brussels sprouts plants to their final cropping positions.
Plant container-grown fruit trees and bushes to provide you with lots of delicious home-grown fruit for many years.
Thin out excess and overcrowded raspberry canes.
Carefully deadhead azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons to remove faded flowers.
Prune spring-flowering shrubs after they have finished flowering.
Check plants regularly to see if they need watering. If they do, give them a thorough soaking.
Feed wild birds daily with suitable bird food. They have young that need a lot of feeding.
Keep secateurs and hoe blades sharp, so they cut well. Always have a tool sharpener handy.
As the weather warms up, stock ponds with new plants and fish.
Remove suckers from grafted trees and shrubs by carefully pulling them off.
Remove excess algae and blanket weed from ponds to stop them taking over and choking them.
Keep bird baths topped up with water as birds need a daily supply of fresh water.
Clean tools with an oily rag after use to keep them clean, looking good and prevent rusting.
Cut out reverted all-green shoots from variegated evergreen shrubs, otherwise they’ll take over.
Mulch borders with bark to help retain essential soil moisture and keep down weeds.
Plant containers and hanging baskets with summer-flowering bedding - but protect them from frosts.
Mow lawns at least once a week - whenever the grass is growing and they need it.
Feed your lawn - especially if you didn’t do it last month.
Control moss in lawns by treating it with a mosskiller.
Control weeds in lawns with a feed and weed or liquid lawn weedkiller.
Edge lawns weekly to keep them looking neat and tidy and prevent grass growing into borders.
Cover soft fruit, especially strawberries and redcurrants, with netting to protect them from bird damage.
Control plant pests before they get out of hand and become a problem.
Protect roses from blackspot, rust and mildew by spraying with a suitable fungicide.
Keep on top of weeds as they appear, and deal with them quickly - either by hoeing or spraying with a suitable weedkiller.
Spray perennial weeds with a weedkiller containing glyphosate or completely dig out the roots.