May Gardening Tips 2023
I like to think of May as a particularly cheerful month in the garden. This is because by about 10 May the danger of frost should have passed in our area, so all those wonderful bedding plants can be planted out without fear. I think bedding plants are an under-appreciated group of plants. They flower their socks off from now until the first frosts of autumn. Admittedly, they do not usually over winter, but they generally flower for a much longer period than shrubs and perennials. They also add a real blast of colour, which can be as subtle or bold as you wish. The secret is to keep them well watered, fed and to deadhead regularly to promote more flowers.
Of course, this year we also have the Coronation to celebrate. I think there are a couple of really good options for a stunning plant display. How about a regal purple theme? I am currently planting up some containers with some purple petunias, pansies, ageratum and fuchsias set against some white osteospermum and nemesia for a sophisticated take on the Coronation celebrations. However, there is still a lot to be said for good old red, white and blue. Perhaps red geraniums surrounded by white “New Guinea” impatiens and then interspersed with bacopa “Blue”. Here is my step by step guide to planting a container that will give you long lasting colour and a huge amount of enjoyment all summer long.
Gather together a suitable container, a good peat-free multi-purpose compost, your selection of plants and some stones or broken pots (‘crocks’) to aid drainage, helping avoid plants getting waterlogged. It is also good to add a feed to the container at planting stage, and consider using water retaining crystals, like Aqua Gel, mixed with compost.
It is a good idea to give your chosen plants a good water before you do anything else.
Pop pieces of broken pots or stones – or a mix of the two in a clean container.
Add peat-free multi-purpose compost on top of the broken pots and stones to fill the container to about three quarters full.
Carefully remove the plants, gently easing them out of their pots and place them in the desired spot in your container, firing them in gently and filling in any gaps between your plants with some more compost.
Once everything is planted, water well.