Well, after the eager anticipation of better days, May was quite a disappointment. It just didn’t turn out to be the kind of month when you really felt fired up to be at it. The weather was all over the place and whilst overnight temperatures in the main were not too damaging they still stayed low and many plants just sulked. The highlight of May really was the magical moment when suddenly across the land the leaves appeared, sticks just came to life and the canopy of lime green reminded us that the summer was on its way. Sadly, the rejuvenation offered confirmation of our fears about winter casualties, with life not returning to so many plants. My Pittosporum is dead, my Salvias and Hebes are gone, and hardy Fuchsias are not as the name implies. In the days ahead I will set about the arduous task of removing the lost.
June though brings hope, and we can set about refilling spaces, safe in the knowledge that most subjects want to grow and the weather hopefully will be supportive. Bedding plants and herbaceous are in plentiful supply and garden centres are offering more planted containers and quite mature seasonal plants to deliver instant effect. I think that feeding will be a key issue this year, with many modern composts not retaining sustaining nutrients. If you are considering container or basket planting then introducing a sprinkling of slow-release fertiliser, it will make a difference. The same confidence can extend to vegetable planting too. You should be able to plant anything now, so if you held back with tomatoes, cucumbers, marrows, or any of the soft vegetables then get planting. As with the bedding, be ready to supplementary feed, plants are greedy and will respond to your kindness.
Watering is also a key consideration as we move forward. Whilst plants are settling and after an initial soaking, water plants with a circular sweep away from the base. You are trying to encourage the roots to spread out, you want them to search for water. Constantly delivering to the base of a plant makes it lazy and you a slave. In open ground I water in this fashion in an arc some six to eight inches out from the plant itself.
And finally, Keep your lawn in order, in wet weather it will grow quickly and in dry lift your blades to avoid scorch.