Lavant Horticultural Society, Chichester

Lavant Horticultuiral Society
White flowers of Philadelphus (mock orange

A short selection of things to do in the garden this month, with links to more comprehensive advice.

May (to return to June, click on the rose to the right).

Don’t let the warm sunshine tempt you to put plants out too soon - frosts are still possible. Harden off Indoor-raised plants by putting them out in the warmest part of the day first and then extending the time they spend outside. If in doubt, leave very tender plants, like dahlias and cannas, until June starts – they can quickly make up for a short delay, but a cold night can really leave them struggling.

Philadelphus coronarius 'Aureus' (golden mock orange)

Even with greenhouse doors and vents open, shading will be needed to prevent plants wilting or being scorched on very sunny days. Shade netting  can be drawn back in cooler, cloudy weather.

Prune spring-flowering shrubs, such as Forsythia, Berberis, Chaenomeles (Japanese quince) and Choisya, as soon as flowering is over; this keeps them compact, whilst giving the new growth plenty of time to build up reserves for a good show of flowers next spring.

Check lilies for the bright red lily beetle and their larvae (usually hidden under their own wet black excrement), which are active now and can quickly strip the leaves if they are not removed.

Pot on plants showing signs of being root bound, but first tip out the root ball to see if there is another problem. Vine weevil larvae become active this month. Check for the creamy, orange-headed maggots, which tend to curl up into a ‘C’ shape. There are various chemical & biological controls available.

Lift and divide overcrowded daffodils. Remeber to apply a high-potassium (tomato) feed on tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs; you will see the benefits in next year's improved display.

Continue sowing annuals into gaps in borders for late colour.

Increase primroses by dividing large plants after flowering; plant the divisions directly where you want them to flower next spring or in a nursery bed to develop, ready to be planted out in the autumn.

Twining climbers, such as honeysuckle, Clematis and Wisteria, need regular tying in and twining around their supports.

Put out codling moth pheromone traps by mid-May. These help protect apples & pears from caterpillars that ruin fruit with maggoty holes. Plum moth pheromone traps can help protect plums, gages & damsons.

Click above to return to


Click below for more comprehensive RHS

advice for this month

Fruit trees and bushes

Fruit is an asset to any garden. However, choosing from the vast array of varieties, to get good cross-pollination and fruit set, can be quite a puzzle.

Click the picture above for some useful guidance.

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