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!

Alice, Bulbs, Gardening, Gardening Year, Gardens, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, Plants

When the weather turns colder, the last thing you want to do is get outside in the garden. Flowers bloom and vegetables are ready to be planted and harvested during spring and summer, while winter tends to be the quieter season. However, while your plants are dormant, there’s plenty you can be doing this season to prepare your garden. Laying in the groundwork now can ensure a blooming spring, and help you beat the winter blues.

preparing your garden for spring in winter

Clear the soil

As many plants will now be dormant or have finished their life cycle for the year, now is a great time to clear the soil ready for planting new crops next year. Remove leaves and other debris from flower beds, borders, and your vegetable plot to get back to the bare soil; these can be placed in your compost heap if you have one. You can also remove any weeds or large stones ready for new growth.

Position dormant plants

Take the opportunity to get your shrubs and fruit trees all set for spring now they are in their dormant phase. Now is the perfect time to move any plants you would like to reposition as they are much easier to transport without their foliage. Dig a trench around the plant and try to take out as much of the roots as possible before planting it in its new position at the same level it was previously in the soil. It is also the season to plant any new trees and shrubs in their bare root form; at Primrose we have a great selection of bare root fruit trees, roses, and more. Make sure to prune any dormant plants now to promote growth, develop a good shape, and encourage flowers and fruit.

Prepare the soil

Get ahead with your spring planting and get your soil prepared now. Dig in a layer of organic matter such as compost, well-rotted manure, or recycled green waste so it has time to permeate into the soil so by the time spring comes, it will be ripe for planting.

Clean and stock your greenhouse

Now is the perfect time to give your greenhouse a good clean ready for planting seedlings next season. Sweep out any debris from the floor and benches and wash them with a garden disinfectant. Wash the inner and outer walls with a disinfectant or detergent to remove algae, moss, dirt, and grime, and wash out your pots and seed trays to help prevent disease. Now is also a good time to inspect your greenhouse for any damage, replace any broken parts, and stock up on greenhouse accessories. At Primrose, we have a great range of greenhouse accessories including staging, potting tables, ventilation, heaters, and more.

what to do to prepare your garden for spring in winter

Organise your garden shed

On a dry day that’s not too frosty, take the time to sort through your garden shed. Clear it out and recycle anything you no longer need, check security, and organise and clean your tools ready for spring. It’s also a good time to order any new tools, or put them on your wishlist in the run-up to Christmas! At Primrose, we offer a fantastic collection of gardening tools for a range of purposes.

Remove garden pests

Removing hibernating garden pests now will save you a lot of trouble when spring and summer comes. Inspect the crowns of your perennial plants and remove any sheltering slugs, snails, or aphids. Clear last year’s pots of summer bedding and remove any white vine weevil you find.

Plant spring bulbs

Spring-flowering bulbs need to be planted during autumn and winter in order to bloom come spring.  Take the time to plant bulbs such as crocuses, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, bluebells, and fritillaries before the frost sets in for a glorious display of colour next season. Our collection of flower bulbs and tubers have a wide selection of flora to bring your garden to life.

Install a water butt

Make the most of the winter rainfall by installing a water butt in your garden. Rainwater is the best type of water for your plants, and harvesting rainwater rather than using the mains supply is also great for the environment. Position your water butt underneath a downpipe from your home or shed, or obtain a diverter kit if you have a closed drainpipe.

Plan next year’s plants

As the gardening year comes to a close, now is a great time to reflect on your garden’s performance this year- what worked well, and what didn’t- and start thinking about what you would like to grow next year. At Primrose, we stock a fantastic collection of Mr Fothergill’s seeds, which include high-quality flower, vegetable, and herb seeds to make your garden flourish.

What have you been doing in your garden this season? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

 

Callum, Garden Design, Gardening Year, How To, Planting, Ponds

Daffodils 2

Lawn

Britain’s climate allows us to grow the very best grass in the world so wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t make the most of this wonderful opportunity? Start by removing all the dead leaves, sticks and any other unwanted debris to give your lawn a chance to breathe. Then it’s time to get your rake out, dethatch the lawn and remove all the dead roots and grasses.This process will clear the way for watering, mowing and planting seeds. For larger areas you can seek a scarifier with a motor. The debris will still have to be raked up and removed. Now if you want your lawn to have the best drainage system then a good old fashioned forking wouldn’t go amiss. Simply push the fork into the lawn every 12 centimetres and wiggle it around to break the soil and reduce the compaction.

Lawn

Alternatively, if forking isn’t for you, an aerator can be used instead. This is a very simple tool that pushes into the lawn like a fork and will remove small plugs of soil which can then have lawn sand brushed into them. Your final step is to add lawn feed and place seeds wherever there are bare patches. I’m sure it goes without saying but it is vital you stay off your lawn as much as possible until your lawn has finished its growth period to give your grass the best chance to prosper.

Soil

Sadly your soil just isn’t the same as it was a half a year ago. Months of rain and numbing temperatures will inevitably take their toll. Now you’ll need to really show your ruthless characteristics at the start of this process. Give your beds a thorough cleaning, remove everything except for perennial plants. This will make it easier to maintain your soil and help you to determine what to plant this year.

Soil

The next step is to test your soil. Get a baseline of your soil’s PH by using a testing kit. Test several places in your garden as results can differ across different areas. The ideal P.H is between 6-6.5, if it’s below that then your plants will have a hard time absorbing nutrients. If the P.H is below the magical 6.5, then add some garden lime and use according to the packaging directions. It is unlikely it will be above this, but if it is then add some pure sufler to these alkaline areas or alternatively you can just plant alkaline loving flowers. Finally add an inch or 2 of compost, either homemade or purchased. I would recommend commercial compost as it has a finer texture than homemade, and then simply rake over the surface of soil to even it out across your bed.

Pond

Ponds provide a beautiful sense of sound, movement and reflection in the summer months which many of us like to exhibit to our close friends and families. If you ignore your pond however, then the urge to boast this potentially beautiful spectacle might disappear and regret will sink in. Now (unfortunately for some) it’s time to clean your pond and work that elbow grease. If your pond is murky with no sign of life, start by giving it a good clean. Bail out the water with a bucket and remove any plants, standing them in bowls of water in a shady spot. Scrape the sludge off the bottom of the pond with a spade, being careful not to damage the liner, then scrub the sides and floor with a stiff brush.

I would then recommend supplying yourself with a pond vacuum. This neat mechanism attaches to your hose. The water pressure creates a vacuum venturi effect which sucks up any dirt and debris, collecting in a reusable bag allowing the clean water to pass through. The brush attachment then has special rollers which glide easily over the pond bottom, gently removing the dirt whilst protecting pondlife and fish.

Pond

By following all of these steps your garden should have all the essentials to produce the frameworks for an aesthetically pleasing garden ready to show off to all your fellow friends and family. Happy gardening everyone!

 

Callum is currently on his placement year here at Primrose with his parents being huge garden enthusiasts.Callum

In the time he has free from his parents rambling on about the garden, he is being a typical university student experiencing life to the full and supporting his beloved Reading FC.

See all of Callum’s posts.