Gardening calendar May 2021
May is a good month to plant almost any evergreen shrub, tree, ground cover or perennial while there is still warmth in the soil and rain to provide moisture. Through winter these plants usually grow an extensive root system which makes a launching pad for rapid spring growth a few months down the track. The only planting category that is best avoided at this time of the year is the tropicals.
Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May and it’s always an opportunity to say thanks to mum with a living gift. A list of possibilities would be endless but potted flowering plants like cyclamen, poinsettias, flamingo flower, moth orchids and chrysanthemums are always popular. Pot in top quality mix such as Baileys Indoor Premium Potting Mix.
- Enrich soil before planting with Bailey Soil Improver Plus and Baileys Soil Matters Clay & Compost. Designed for sandy soils, Clay & Compost permanently improves nutrient and water holding capacity by combining quality organic compost, aged chicken manure, rock minerals and kaoline clay. This will help your new editions establish well before the cooler months.
- Prepare soils for winter plantings of roses, deciduous fruiting and ornamental trees.
Flowers & Ornaments
- Plant bare root roses while these are dormant, in other words sleeping.
- Plant Hyacinths and Tulips in tubs and pots for spring flowering.
Vegetable & Herbs
- Potatoes can be planted now that reliable rain can take over from hand watering.
- This is a great time to plant the onion tribe. Onions, chives, shallots, leeks and garlic all thrive in cool winter conditions.
- It's not too late to sow broad beans. Remember young foliage as well as flowers can be eaten, both have lovely subtle flavour.
- Plant strawberries in hanging baskets and pots.
- Now is a great time to pot up some indoor plants. Heading into winter sunlight may not be as reliable and 'rainforest plants' are a good choice - they've evolved with large, glossy leaves to grab as much light as possible. Monstera Deliciosa, aka Swiss Cheese Plant, Fruit Salad or Elephant Ears doesn't need a whole lot of sun and grows really well in dim light. Pot in new Baileys Indoor Premium Potting Mix.
- This is the last month to apply a granular fertiliser to lawns, see our lawn section for advice.
Pruning, Maintenance & Harvest
- Now is a great time to prune; reducing the canopy now means that, come winter, the rain can get to the roots easier. It also reduces the chance of storm damage. As soon as any of your deciduous shrubs and trees have dropped their leaves it's time to start your winter pruning.
- A 100mm layer of mulch around the garden now will stop weeds in their tracks. Use a fully composted mulch like Baileys Moisture Mulch to ensure you're not spreading weed seeds or disease.
Flowers & Ornaments
- If you didn't in April then pruning your roses back now will mean you get one more flush of flower in June.
- Prune summer flowering perennials such as salvias, buddleia and daisies.
- Prune Hydrangea stem above two plump buds and remove old branches at ground level.
Vegetables & Herbs
- If your brassicas suffered from clubroot last season treat beds with 10cm layer of good quality compost such as Baileys Soil Improver Plus and a sprinkling of garden lime.
- May is a great time to make new plants from cuttings. Just take a 10cm cutting from hardwood herbs such as bay and rosemary, remove the lower leaves, dip cuttings into rooting gel or honey and plant in small containers of Baileys Premium Potting Mix. Keep the cuttings slightly moist and shelter from strong sun and wind.
- Brussel sprouts can easily get top heavy as the crops develop. To prevent them toppling over, support them with tomato stakes.
- Lift and divide rhubarb if the stems are getting progressively thinner. Replanting these can give your plant a new lease of life resulting in thick flavoursome stalks.