Well, I am writing this in early May and 2 days of sunshine with more forecast to follow, should make us all look forward to a summer in the garden.
Time now to get those baskets and tubs planted up. Add some slow release fertiliser and water crystals before planting and they will give you a good long season of colour. Dahlias and Cannas can also go in the ground now, though I have found that Dahlias and Cannas do very well in large tubs as well. If you are buying Dahlia plants, the single ones are very good if you want to encourage bees. Perennials need staking before they get too tall. The foliage of bulbs in the ground or tubs should have died back by now and they can be removed, dried off and stored for next year. Take out spent forget me nots, best not to compost them or they may produce a lot of new seedlings where you don’t want them. Sweet peas need planting either in a row or round a pyramid of canes. Watch out for red lily beetles, they will quickly make a mess of the leaves. Try to pick them off and squash them or spray with an insecticide . Pruning of spring flowering shrubs should be completed, many can be cut back quite hard if they have got out of hand. A handful of general fertiliser will encourage new growth for next year. If you want to grow more perennials, now is the time to plant seed of many varieties.
If you have already planted your tomatoes, make sure you pinch out the sideshoots on upright varieties before they grow too large. It should be warm enough now to plant them outside along with courgettes and ridge cucumbers. There are varieties of tomato which can be planted in a basket, perhaps with some herbs to make a feature. These need some really rich soil and lots of water to get a good crop. Planting marigolds and/or basil alongside tomatoes is supposed to keep pests away. Shade the greenhouse either with paint on shading or netting which can be moved up or down depending on the weather.
Lawns will need regular cutting but if the weather is hot don’t cut it too short, it will be better left a bit longer.
Runner and French beans can go in now, they may need some protection from slugs and snails. Pick or thin salad vegetables (lettuce and radish)regularly and keep planting seed every 2 weeks. New potatoes should soon be ready for harvesting. If you are growing cabbages of any sort, make sure they are covered with netting or the pigeons will eat the lot! Both veg and flowers will be needing a lot of water as the weather warms up, so try not to waste it. Water at the roots not all over the plant as the sun may scorch the leaves. Install water