May Maintenance Jobs for the Garden
This month, more than any other, the astonishing range of greens that unfurl are to be savoured and admired. Just being out in nature can do so much to revive the spirits, so if you have a garden May is the month to truly immerse yourself in it.
Everything is starting to grow fast in gardens now, including weeds, so the most important job at the moment is to keep on top of them. A little and often is the best form of attack. Regular hoeing while weeds are still small is the easiest way to deal with them. Use a sharp hoe in dry soil, cutting off the weed roots just below the surface of the soil. If done on a dry day the weeds will die on the surface of the soil.
Lightly trim formal evergreen hedges, such as box, even if it hasn’t grown very much yet. Box doesn’t take kindly to being cut back hard, so the sooner it’s trimmed the better it keeps its shape. Although it takes more time, this job is best done with hand shears, as opposed to a mechanical cutter, for a better finish. You can also take cuttings from any shoots about 8cm (3 inches) long. Trim each cutting just below a leaf joint, pot into cuttings compost, cover with clear polythene and leave to root in a shady corner of the garden. In a few weeks they should have rooted so you can pot them up to plant in another part of the garden.
Deadhead spring flowering bulbs that have gone over by pinching out the flower head; this allows the bulb to store up more energy to produce flowers next year. You must leave the foliage intact for at least 6 weeks after flowering and if you can, use a general organic fertiliser around the base of the bulbs to encourage the development of new flowers for next year.
Feed and weed lawns during this month and be sure to mow them regularly from now on. Mowing is the best way to ensure you have a good lawn. Once a week is about right. Don’t apply weed killer either just before mowing or just after as the weeds need to be actively growing when they are treated.