Everything grows well in May. Usually not too hot nor to cold. Keep sowing seeds, planting plants and planting summer bulbs.
If it hasn't already got too hot and dry, which happens here some years in May, it is still a good time to move plants that are in the wrong place or plant plants you have gone out and bought.
In France at this time of the year lots of villages have plant fairs and growers come from miles around with their plants. This is a great chance to buy unusual plants or a selection from different nurseries without having to drive miles to get to them all. The villages look great too with plants stalls covering the market area and lots of surrounging streets. A great morning out.
Box hedging needs clipping in the spring and the autumn for great looking topiaries. Now is the time to give it a spring trim.
Keep checking your roses for maladies. If you catch them early you can pick off affected leaves without having to resort to sprays.
Think of sowing some seeds in some pots so that if you have some gaps in your borders you can fill them instantly.
May is a good month for taking cuttins. Take cuttings of fuschias, dahlias and pelargoniums to increase your summer display. Chrysanthemums, sedums, lavender and perovskia all grow easily from cuttings.
On a good rainy day scatter fertiliser such as pelleted chicken manure around the base of your shrubs and perennials.
Plant out bedding plants
Depending on your climate the end of May or beginning of June are good times to plant out your bedding plants. In France the markets are a great place to pick up cheap bedding plants.
Finish planting your summer bulbs. Often bargains can be found at this time of the year as shops try to clear out their stocks. Crocosmia bulbs (corms) are one of our favourites.
In the Potager
Sow tagetes in your potager as their strong smell helps to hide your vegetables from predators.
Buy young tomato plants. These can be planted outside in the south of France but in the Uk need a greenhouse or a sunny, sheltered spot. Keep pinching out the side shoots that grow in the join with the main branches. Stake tomato plants well. Attracive curly metal stakes can be bought now which are quite cheap and make your tomato bed quite arty and ornamental.
Sow parsley and basil.
Continue to sow salad plants, carrots, spinach and beetroot.
Plant leeks in their final position. Make a hole and place the leek in the hole and water - no need to fill in the hole again.
It is possible to sow melons, squashes and courgettes directly into the ground now but cover with a cloche until the plant has appeared. Cloches can be cut up water bottles or old jam jars.
Continue planting potatoes.
What to do in the garden next month