MAY - HEAD GARDENER PLANNER & CHECKLIST

Control weeds now.

Bramcote Hills - image: Flickr/Brian Fagan (CC BY 2.0)
Bramcote Hills - image: Flickr/Brian Fagan (CC BY 2.0)

Weeds They are coming through now, thick and fast, and putting on weight. Keep on top of them with a sharp hoe or knapsack-load of weedkiller as appropriate.

Herbaceous borders Provide stakes and supports as required. Plant dahlias and summer and early-autumn flowering chrysanthemums. Lift and divide any spring bulbs that are overcrowded.

Shrubs Remove fading blooms from rhododendrons, lilacs and other flowering shrubs to encourage further bud formation. Prune those that have finished flowering, such as philadelphus and weigela. Continue to train and tie in new growth on climbers and ramblers.

Conservatory & greenhouse Apply shading. Ensure adequate ventilation when necessary to increase air circulation and lower the risk of Botrytis. Keep paths and benches clean and tidy to reduce opportunities for the spread of pests and diseases. Give weekly feeds of a high-potash fertiliser to tomatoes, peppers and aubergines. Train and feed melons.

Lawns Spiking compacted areas now will help any rainfall infiltrate the surface and benefit the roots. Mow ornamental lawns to 8mm and very fine ornamental lawns to 6mm, but raise the cutting height if drought threatens. Newly sown lawns can benefit from a light roll once the seed has germinated and the grass is about an inch high. Make a first cut, using a high setting on the mower, when the grass is around 2in high. Continue edging work.

Kitchen garden Stake peas sown last month. Make more sowings of lettuce, peas, broad beans, cabbage, carrots, beetroot, salad onions and radishes. Transplant Brussels sprouts and other winter brassicas. Plant out marrows and courgettes. Rub out unwanted buds/shoots on fan trained fruit and prune peaches and nectarines. Thin raspberry canes and tie in new blackberry growth before feeding and mulching. Use pheromone traps to control codling moths on apples. Remove unwanted runners from strawberries.

Staff Ensure sufficient man-hours are available for grass cutting, weeding and watering duties. Hire part-time hands or advertise for additional volunteers if necessary.

Encouraging repeat visits Keep friends groups, season ticket holders and garden clubs up to date with what is happening in the garden via an electronic newsletter. Add a "subscribe" button to your website.


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