Another curious month. May just rolled in and out again. Nothing particularly dramatic to flag up the crossing from spring to summer. As gardeners we see May as the turning point, the demarcation that allows a confident march into safer times for planting. Through the earlier days we watch over our shoulders for treacherous turns and murderous frosts. This year, May went fairly smoothly, there wasn’t perhaps quite enough rain, but neither was there blistering heat and many early plantings have made rapid and quite luxuriant growth. I have seen some magnificent potatoes. Thus far the pest and disease problems have been light, though humidity has brought a dusting of white powdery mildew to a few plants, including my honeysuckle. Fungal conditions can be eased by air movement and the removal of a bit of foliage, or a thinning of crowded growth can help. I am not a big fan of sprays, but fungal control can be managed with spray and at this time it is worth considering it for roses, where early intervention can hold up mildew and black spot. Where planting is concerned, generally the month of June is a bit of a free for all, it now being safe to plant out seasonal bedding and vegetable plants. There will be plenty of stock around too. Most subjects will grow with vigour after a splash of water and even late plantings will catch up. If you are after sprouts and purple sprouting, late varieties want to be in, especially if you want sprouts for Christmas. Sowing of seed can continue too, with the opportunity to line up the next salad crops including lettuce. Small regular plantings of these items will reduce wastage too. As gardeners we are constantly looking ahead and already, we can be sowing for the autumn, with winter pansies and wallflowers all benefiting for an early sowing in a cool corner. With planting done, the priority becomes maintenance. Watering, feeding, harvesting and dead heading will all encourage good extended performance.
Don’t over do the feeding and watering, the plants do need to be encouraged to work a bit.
And finally, there has been something of a revival in the rose market and not just because of varieties named ‘Happy Anniversary’ and ‘Golden Wedding’ but because they bring a cascade of colour. If you fancy revisiting roses, this month they are showing their colours and selection is easy.