Gardening – May 23

House & Home

Tom Strowlger


The last of month of meteorological spring is upon us and the darling buds of May are all around. May brings us gardeners such joy and pleasure, the longer and warmer days really do bring our gardens to life. We can be outside so much more and get excited about summertime being just around the corner. However, before getting to comfortable in our sun lounger, the preparation for our summer garden isn’t quite done so let’s use this month to tick a few more jobs off our gardening list.

Early May is the last call for planting out summer bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers, including dahlia, begonia, gladioli and freesia, not least because they need some time in the ground to fully establish so to achieve a lovely flower display during the peak summer season. Dahlia is a favourite of mine and they can be planted early this month to get a summer flower display that will delight us all the way to the first frost in autumn. Dahlia thrive in well-drained soil with full sun.

The green shooting vines of climbers like passiflora, clematis, jasmine, wisteria and honeysuckle should be tied and supported onto a trellis, fence, arch or wall. We can use green string, plant rings and wire to secure the new vines. We need to train our climbers to look neat and tidy, grow into the shape we want and of course successfully flower, plus prevent vine and branch damage on windier days.

The seeds we sow and the plants we grow will need to be kept moist to keep them happily growing throughout the warmer months. During any hot spells we should water our plants early in the morning or later in the evening, this ensures the water gets into the ground and evaporation is minimised. Do remember to water at the base of plants and not the leaves downwards, so to get the water into the root systems and prevent disease.

The lawn grass is now enjoying warmer soil so we can cut it weekly, but not too short as we want the grass to flourish in the summer months. A longer grass leaf supports a healthier lawn, as the longer the grass the better the lawn can cope with dry spells. If you have any bare patches in your lawn, then hand sow grass seed into patches to ensure germination in time for summertime.

Many of the spring bulbs will have flowered and flourished and be at the end of their flowering season as we gently transition from springtime into summertime, therefore we can deadhead spent flowers but let the green leaves die back naturally as they will be catching the sunlight to store energy for next year’s flower display. You can also carefully lift and divide any overcrowded daffodils and spring flowering bulbs and plant into new areas of the garden ready for next springs flower display.

As a passionate gardener I love the month of May because we can look back on our springtime gardening achievements with a jolly smile and look forward to what summertime will bring us.

Please do follow me on Instagram @garden_with_tom for more seasonal gardening advice and tips.

  • Keep pulling up fast growing weeds by the roots
  • Support your tall and delicate plants with plant supports and canes
  • Open greenhouse windows and doors on warm days
  • Keep the bird bath topped up
  • Treat wooden garden furniture