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Contain your excitement!

Posted on 15th May 2013

The month of May is my favourite in the garden as there’s so much going on. Fun jobs to do, new flowers blooming daily, lots of fresh new growth, seeds to be sown and vegetables to plant out. In fact, I think that during this month it has to be the anticipation of the season ahead which is the most exciting thing of all. It’s a great time of year to plant up hanging baskets and containers which should be protected front any late frosts in the coming weeks.

Whether you are the owner of a large country estate, a small city courtyard or something in between, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a property which couldn’t be enhanced with a few planted containers. Even the ugliest pub looks better when fronted with a selection of hanging baskets.

The great thing about container gardening is that you can use them to show off your personality. Easy to plant up, speedy to bloom, moveable and fun, planters come in all shapes and sizes, in fact the only limiting factor is your imagination.

From a hand-made lead container, planted with expensive Box topiary, to a stack of brightly painted wooden fruit boxes filled with seed grown wild flowers, means they don’t have to cost a lot either.

In my experience, I’ve found that even the most un-green fingered people manage to get them to look good and children also enjoy planting them up, making them great classroom projects. Strawberries, herbs and mini vegetables can all be grown easily in pots as well as traditional bedding plants.

The main points to remember are:

• Cover the drainage hole with a piece of old broken pot or some chunky gravel (not much, just enough to prevent the soil falling out) without blocking the hole

• Don’t fill pots too full of compost, leave a generous gap at the top of the pot for watering

• Plant large containers in situ as they will become very heavy once full and watered

• Water daily in hot weather

• Water even on days when it rains

• 6 weeks after planting, feed every 2 weeks with a liquid fertilizer

• Deadhead flowers regularly to encourage more

Other jobs you can do at this time of year include sowing Sweet corn and Peas (be warned though as mice love the seeds) directly in the ground, sowing Runner Beans, Pumpkins, Cucumber, and Squash in pots ready to plant outside in June and hardening off home grown bedding plants by bringing them outside during the daytime but giving them protection at night.

Take time out of your day to really enjoy the garden in May, because the days are longer but the time seems to pass much quicker.

Have a great gardening month