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Chelsea 2008

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may, spring, garden, gardening

This is a nervous month for gardeners, with the late frosts punishing the over confident gardener. Some years May offers you early summer weather, with almost mini-heatwaves and drought, other years can give you late frosts and a reminder that winter has only just gone.


The beginning of May denotes the start of Beltane, which to the Celts denotes the start of Summer. In modern times a May Day festival starts the beginning of Beltane, which celebrates fertility. For the gardener May also denotes the start of a period of fertility, and hopefully the start of summer.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is this month so plenty of excitement to look forward to.

May is a busy month for the gardener, with seeds to be sown, and weeds to be removed, so make sure you keep on top of the jobs that need doing.

  • Hoe Weeds
  • Prick out seedlings
  • Look out for late frosts
  • Build hanging baskets
  • Sow vegetables outside
  • Tie up soft fruit cordons
  • Sow Beans
  • Fertilise Roses and Shrubs
  • Treat wood with a stain

The Vegetable Garden in May

  • Plant Onion Sets
  • Protect crops from late frosts with Fleece
  • Fertilize vegetable beds


The Fruit garden in May

  • Protect blossoms from frost with Fleece
  • Water trees
  • Start thinning grapes as required
  • Place straw around early strawberries

Keep and eye on the frost and cover blossom if required

Fruit trees positioned against walls will need watering in dry conditions. This year is very dry for most of us so get the watering can out.

Grapes will need thinning to reduce the stress on the vine and allow the remaining grapes to swell. Some wine producers recommend no more than 6 bunches of grapes per vine.

The Flower garden in May

  • Feed and re-sow Lawns
  • How weeds
  • Tidy Bulbs and dead foliage
  • Divide Primroses for next year
  • Take cuttings


Preparation is the word of the month. Beds and borders should be prepared for biennials and perennials. Bedding plants can be planted out, but keep the fleece handy for late frosts.

Tidy up the lawn, and if required re sow patches that look bare or damaged.

Prune roses

Make sure you have enough fleece insulating your cold frames.

The Greenhouse in May

Time to sow the bedding plantsLeaves

Prick out any seedlings that are ready

Sow seeds in cellular trays

Train and prune bushy Fuchsias

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