So the weather continued to confound in the early days of May and weeks that were forecast as settled delivered surprises, with several frosts landing from nowhere. The shops and centres had been full of plants for weeks, but the public confidence waived. Then suddenly in the middle of the month there was an urgency and folk turned out in their droves recognising the need to get on. It has been boisterous, but it has also been about watering. Where did all of that wet go to? Taken up swiftly by natures late decision to burst to life perhaps. Everything just came on in a hurry. So planting continues in the weeks ahead, with the ground warm enough to take on all that we want to plant and the nights mild enough to give safe passage to the most tender.
There will be no shortage of good seasonal plant material around, so that’s plenty of bedding and vegetable plants to play with and something suitable for every setting. I love the fact that breeders continue to ply their skills bringing new shape and new colour to the table and this year has been no exception. Coleus are returning to borders, bringing stunning size and leaf colour, the range of petunias of every colour and for every setting is extraordinary. The blanket series in particular is a real coverall and the wonderful bold colouring of dark leaved dahlias is also worth a look. On the vegetable plot there is also plenty to play with. You can continue to earth up your later potatoes and keep sowing salad items as well as perpetual spinach which will run on through the winter. If you can find a cheap tub or redundant container then perhaps push in a few french beans. Blue Lake or any compact form, will establish quickly and with gentle maintenance will crop for weeks. Its a good filler on the dinner plate and very easy and quick to raise.
Of course if you want to be really organised you can be sowing winter pansies, wallflowers and over wintering biennials and if you really want to see the year off, even spring cabbage.
And finally, the roses are looking promising this year, so if you fancy one take a look at what’s on offer. This month they will show true colour and even if you don’t buy until the autumn, the colour and fragrance are key to choosing.