Your May gardening to-do list

Spring has sprung at last and there’s plenty to do in the garden. Here are our top 10 jobs for you to do now.

  1. Prune your penstemon now - provided there is new growth at the bottom of the plant, cut back old growth to just above the lowest set of leaves.
  2. Prune spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia and weigela after flowering, to strong new shoots lower down the plant.
  3. Cut back shrubs such as cotinus (smoke bush) and sambuca (elder), which produce stronger colour on new stems.
  4. Keep lavender compact by pruning off old flower spires and shoot tips - likewise with heather to stop it becoming leggy.
  5. Tie in honeysuckle and clematis stems to their supports, as they’ll be growing fast now.  Climbing and rambling roses should also be tied in, training the side shoots to as near a horizontal as possible.
  6. Mulch fruit trees, raspberry canes, fruit bushes and strawberries with well-rotted manure or garden compost to encourage good crops this season.
  7. Plant trees, shrubs and evergreen hedging as well as perennials, so they’ll establish while the weather is still mild and wet.
  8. Prepare vegetable beds for the growing season, digging in compost or well-rotted manure.
  9. Plant out main crop potatoes, onions and garlic.
  10. Start mowing your lawn regularly.  Apply a high-nitrogen fertiliser to your lawn and aerate the soil if compacted.