Alice, Gardening Year

May is a glorious month for your garden. It is now heading into full bloom, and you can begin to enjoy the results of your labour. You may also see nesting birds feeding their young, pollinators enjoying the blooming flowers, and hedgehogs entering their breeding season. The focus of your gardening this month should be on continuing to support your growing flowers and vegetables for a bountiful harvest come summer. Here is our full list of May gardening jobs.

General

garden lawn

  • Water your lawn: prevent your lawn drying out during hot weather; this is particularly important for newly seeded lawns. Feed with high-nitrogen fertiliser for an extra boost
  • Keep weeds at bay: keep on top of the weeding with regular hoeing, particularly around sensitive plants like onions and garlic. Apple a lawn weed killer to the lawn
  • Optimise watering regime: water early and late, and collect and recycle water whenever possible
  • Keep pests and disease at bay: inspect plants regularly, remove any unwanted insects and combat disease early to prevent an infestation

Plants

Summer Flowers

  • Plant out summer bedding: fill your flower beds and borders for a colourful display. Discover our selection of summer bedding plants
  • Look after finished spring bulbs: let the foliage die back naturally and add liquid fertiliser to the bulb
  • Support flowers: support growing plants with twiggy prunings and tie in climbing and rambling roses and sweet peas
  • Plant hanging baskets: fill with compost, fertiliser, and your favourite flowers and trailing plants
  • Divide spring-flowering bulbs: lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils and other bulb plants
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs: prune after flowering to keep tidy

Flowers to sow this month: zinnias, cosmos, scabious, cornflowers, ammi majus, linaria, verbena bonariensis, nasturtiums, poppies, candytuft, nigella

Shop our full range of flower seeds

Produce

prepare your garden soil

  • Harvest asparagus spears: when they are no more than 18cm (7in) tall. Eat quickly after harvesting
  • Harvest rhubarb: pick one-third of the total amount of stems
  • Earth up potatoes: cover the growing shoots with soil to protect them from frost. Make sure to check out our guide to growing potatoes
  • Support pea plants: use twiggy sticks or pea netting to help the growing plants
  • Support runner beans: make supports for growing plants using bamboo canes

Produce to sow this month: beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, turnips, spring onion, cauliflower, carrots, brussel sprouts, peas, parsnips, radishes, swiss chard, chives, coriander, parsley, dill

Shop our full range of vegetable seeds

Greenhouse

greenhouse

  • Open greenhouse vents and doors: ventilate on warmer days to maintain a consistent temperature. You could also use blinds or shade paint
  • Hang fly traps: keep whiteflies and other pests under control
  • Harden off plants: tender plants such as dahlias, cosmos, fuchsias, pelargoniums, bananas, oranges, and lemons are now ready to transition to outside. Harden them off gradually by exposing them to cool air bit by bit and bringing back under cover if there is a late frost

Plants to sow in the greenhouse this month: larkspur, salvia, foxgloves, aquilegias, delphiniums, tomatoes, courgettes, pumpkins, squash, marrows, lettuce, cucumber, kale, french beans, runner beans, melons, perennial herbs

Shop our full range of herb seeds

Animals

Blue Tit on a branch

  • Top up bird feeders and baths: make sure nesting birds are welcome in your garden. Dried mealworms are great for birds feeding their young, but make sure they do not spill onto the floor as they can be dangerous for hedgehogs
  • Avoid trimming hedges: be careful when trimming hedges as birds can be nesting inside
  • Allow some weeds to flourish: dandelions and some other weeds provide food for wildlife, so allow a few to flourish in a non-damaging area
  • Create a log habitat: leaves piles of logs and stones to provide shelter for insects, amphibians, and small mammals

Animals you may see this month: bullfinches, flycatchers, garden spiders, honeybees, moles, common blue butterflies, large red damselflies

What May gardening jobs have you been up to this month? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

Alice, Gardening Year

April is the month that sees the most change in the garden. In the beginning, spring has barely sprung, but by the end of the month, your garden will be blossoming into flower. Now the weather is getting warmer and the first flowers are blooming, it’s a great time to get out in your garden. This month is also the time to start laying in the groundwork for a bountiful harvest in summer. Here are the main April gardening jobs to get cracking on this month.

april gardening jobs - what to do in the garden in april

General

  • Sow lawn seed: sow lawn seed or apply turf to repair any bare patches or add new lawn areas. Apply a high-nitrogen fertiliser for an additional boost
  • Install lawn edging: border edging adds the perfect finishing touch to your garden design and reduces weed transfer, so take the opportunity to install some now
  • Invest in a water butt: if you haven’t already, invest in a water butt to make the most of the summer rainfall and provide your plants with chemical-free water

Plants

  • Deadhead daffodils and tulips: cut off the head after it has finished flowering, however leave the leaves to die back naturally as they are needed to form a new bulb. The bulbs can be dug up and stored until autumn
  • Divide hostas: these plants can get very large and crowd out other plants, so it’s best to divide in April as they start to show vigorous growth. Dig up plants and segment with a sharp spade or saw
  • Take pelargonium cuttings: cut the plants into shape and use the cuttings to make new ones. Strip off the lower leaves and place cuttings in pots of compost
  • Move evergreen trees and shrubs: take the opportunity to make any changes while the soil is not frozen or waterlogged
  • Tie in climbing and rambling roses: when stems are long enough to reach the supports, tie with cable ties to train them
  • Mulch perennials, trees, and shrubs: apply a layer of organic matter before the hot weather arrives. You can also feed with a slow-release fertiliser . Find out how to mulch with our guide
  • Check tree ties: ensure they are not cutting into the trunk and loosen any that are too tight
  • Remove dead foliage: if you haven’t already, cut back any dead foliage on perennials or ornamental grasses to make room for new shoots
  • Plant hardy annuals and flower seeds: plant hardy varieties that can be sown outdoors this month
  • Take care of houseplants: now the weather is getting warmer make sure your houseplants are well watered
  • Order summer bedding and hanging basket plants: now is your last chance to order these in time for summer, so make sure to check out our summer bedding plants and hanging baskets

Flowers to sow this month: cosmos, poppies, angelica gigas, nicotiana, lagurus, monarda, ipomoea lobata, wildflower seed mixtures, calendula

Produce

  • Prepare seed beds: remove weeds and large stones, and dig in a layer of compost, green waste, or well-rotted manure
  • Build raised beds: raised beds are a great solution to poor-quality soil and reduce the amount of bending needed. Now is a great time to build one, so check out our ready-made raised beds for a hassle-free option. Find out how to build a raised bed with our guide.
  • Plant vegetable seeds: now the weather is warmer, there are plenty of vegetable seeds that can be sown this month, so get planting!
  • Support pea plants: support growing pea plants by pushing sticks around them
  • Harvest asparagus spears: harvest asparagus crops when the plants are no more than 18cm tall (7in)
  • Mulch fruit trees: feed with garden compost or well-rotted manure, taking care not to mound too much around the trunk
  • Protect fruit blossom from late frosts: cover trees with fleece on colder evenings

Crops to sow this month: sweet peppers, spring onions, chillies, beetroot, carrots, leeks, lettuce, radish, spinach, peas, kale, broad beans, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, carrots, parsnips, sweetcorn, swiss chard

Greenhouse

  • Scrub with hot soapy water: this will get rid of pests and let in more light for your growing plants
  • Grow flowers and vegetables: some half-hardy and tender varieties aren’t ready for the outdoors yet, so grow them in your greenhouse ready for planting out in the summer

What to grow in the greenhouse this month: sunflowers, nasturtiums, petunias, scabiosas, marigolds, tomatoes, aubergines, basil, perennial herbs, french beans, runner beans, celery, courgettes, marrow, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, lettuce, strawberries

Animals

  • Sow wildflowers: sow seeds of cornfield annuals such as poppies and cornflowers to provide nectar for pollinators such as bees and butterflies
  • Feed hedgehogs: now the hedgehogs are out of hibernation, leave out a bowl of cat or dog food to get them well-fed for the breeding season next month
  • Provide a bee hotel: bee hotels provide a  habitat for solitary bees so make sure to get one in your garden to provide these useful pollinators with a safe shelter
  • Welcome wild birds: keep birdbaths and bird feeders topped up to keep wild birds fed and watered

What April gardening jobs have you been doing? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!