May Tasks

Have you got your metal garden furniture spruced up yet? May is the perfect time to plump those cushions and buff that cast aluminium garden table! It might still be showery, but those sunny spells are made for a quick cuppa round the outdoor furniture. And enjoy the odd break while you can, because the garden’s been shooting up all over, weeds and all. There’s plenty to get on with outside …

Tackle the imposters

  • If you suffer from ground elder (I’m afraid I do), now is supposed to be a very good time to attack it with a weed killer based on glyphosate. It is said to be most vulnerable just as the leaves have unfurled.
  • If the weather warms up for a bit, look out for greenfly which can multiply frighteningly fast. You may need to spray if the ladybirds aren’t on top of this one.
  • Protect young plants from slugs (I’m a particular fan of Slug Gone sheep wool pellets as I’ve said before on this blog).
  • Mulching will help to keep down the numbers of annual weeds, so keep at it.



  • Tidy up your daffs by deadheading but not cutting back the foliage. It must die back naturally.
  • Give formal hedging eg box a light trim.
  • Tie in new growth on climbing roses securely.
  • Clear tulips from beds and pots. Conventional wisdom says they’re not worth storing and replanting but I’ve had limited success with mine.
  • This is a good time to sew annuals such as cornflowers and love-in-a-mist. Scatter them where you intend them to flower.
  • Turn your attention to hanging baskets. Replant as necessary. They should be ok outside at night by now.
  • Likewise, move your tender shrubs in containers back outside now that the night temperatures have warmed up a bit.
  • If you want to get ahead, and you’d rather get planting for next year, than enjoy an early alfresco lunch at the patio table, then sew biennials . Plants such as verbascum and wallflowers will flower next year if you plant them now. It’s also a good time to bulk up your perennials by sewing oriental poppies and delphiniums.
  • Where your delphiniums are established, nip out weak growth in congested clumps for a better effect.
  • Lilies will love a mulch of leaf mould now.
  • Feed the lawn and sew bald patches while there’s still plenty of moisture around to get it away.


Veg Patch

  • Finish planting your potatoes and earth up any Earlies that need it.
  • If you grow from seed, you can sew sweetcorn now in a sheltered spot, lettuce, radish and peas.
  • Transplant broccoli and curly kale plants.
  • Sew cucumber and tomato seeds inside.



  • Thin out raspberry canes if needed
  • Tidy up any cordon fruit trees so that growth doesn’t shoot out at the wrong angle.

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