Wow! What an exhausting month and what a difference in the weather compared with last spring, when the sun shone every day from the end of March for ten solid weeks.
Like last year the ground remains dry, but the big difference has been with the daily chill. The night frosts through April were very destructive and rapier sharp. One lapse in concentration and there was damage. As we move forward into May there is a growing sense of calm ahead and a confidence that will allow us to put out bedding and vegetable plants of our choice, though do leave tender things like begonias, dahlias and busy lizzies until the back end of the month. Apply the same timetable to tender vegetables, the marrow and cucumber range particularly should be held back until late May. Just be watchful, I have lost plants in the first week of June, but most things toughen up and recover eventually.
The month of May will be flagged up by all in the gardening industry as being the busiest in the horticultural calendar. It is the month when you can do anything. With care you can still transplant those things that do not work where you planted them and set out new trees and shrubs. The lawn can be remade, re-sown or turfed and if you are happy with what is there already then it will certainly need cutting. The garden will enjoy a feed at this time (and a bit of liquid feed, is easy to apply and will pep up everything). You can still do a bit of pruning too (especially of winter flowering items) and plant to your hearts content. Potentially a joyous month and the foundation block for a bountiful summer.
Of course, plans and good intentions are great but everything is subject to COVID influences. The gardening industry like all others is experiencing product shortages across the board. Compost continues to be a nightmare with suppliers offering 4–6-week lead times on orders. Tools are difficult to find and the tree and shrub market is shot to pieces. I have spent weeks trying to replenish fruit trees and have been advised that new stock will not be available before September. Roses are gold dust.
And finally, the guidance is, if you see what you want, you probably need to buy it. Or wait until the autumn when we will all catch up a bit.