There's always something to be doing in the garden, whether it's pruning, tidying or sowing, so we've put together our top gardening tasks for May.
In the flower garden
Michael Perry (New Product Development Manager) says...
Want to know the secrets to handsome hanging baskets? Look no further! Firstly, when you plant up, always use a good quality compost, an add some slow release fertiliser and water retaining crystals - they'll make the baskets so much easier to care for come midsummer! You should also make sure you always plant up around the sides of the baskets, this will give more impact, quicker! Finally, through the season, keep taking off the dead flowers and you'll get more and more grow on!
Trim back spreading plants such as aubrieta, alyssum and candytuft after they have flowered to encourage fresh new growth and more flowers.
Don't be tempted to cut down or tie up the foliage of spring-flowering bulbs, let them die down naturally.
To reduce the spread of forget-me-not, lift the plants now to prevent heavy self-seeding.
Prune your Penstemons now - cut all the old shoots back to the base provided there is new growth at the bottom of the plant. If there are no new shoots at the base, cut just above the lowest set of leaves.
Take cuttings of tender perennials such as Fuchsia, Argyranthemum and Pelargoniums (geraniums). The new shoots of hardy perennials can also be used for cuttings.
Take softwood cuttings of shrubby herbs (such as sage and lemon verbena)
Prune out overcrowded and dead stems of early-flowering clematis (C. alpina, C. cirrhosa, C. macropetala, C. armandii and their cultivars) after flowering.
Tie in climbing and rambling roses. Laying the stems horizontally will help to produce more flowers.
Cut back flowered shoots of Choisya to promote a second flush of flowers in autumn.
Trim lavender plants now, cutting off any old flower heads and about 2.5cm (1 inch) of the current year's growth.
Feed and water container plants.
Top-dress permanent pot plants to refresh the compost.
Give your container plants a balanced liquid feed every two to four weeks to promote healthy growth.
Plant up pots and baskets of summer bedding and harden off before placing in position. In cold areas wait until June.
Start to closely inspect your plants for pests and diseases - early prevention is easier than curing an infestation.
Pick off larvae of rosemary, viburnum and lily beetles as soon as they are seen.
Look out for signs of blackspot on roses. If discovered, Blackspot can be treated with a systemic fungicide.
Continue to weed beds and borders to prevent competition for water and nutrients.
In the vegetable garden
Colin Randel (Vegetable Product Manager) says...
May is still a perfect month for planting asparagus, seed potatoes and the new autumn maturing rhubarb Livingstone. Livingstone is the first of the autumn harvesting varieties as it does not have summer dormancy, which traditional varieties do. Rhubarbs are perennial plants once established and will benefit from some well rotted manure every winter and will reward you for several years.
Continue earthing-up potatoes. Read our potato growing guide for information about how to earth up potatoes.
Harvest asparagus spears when they are no more than 18cm tall.
Harvest rhubarb, picking only a third of the total amount of stems.
Thin out direct-sown vegetables such as spinach, carrot and lettuce seedlings then water the rows well.
Water your lawn during hot weather, particularly newly seeded or turfed lawns. Do not allow new lawns to dry out.
Sowing lawn seed and repairing bare patches can still be carried out in the early part of the month.
Mower blades should be lowered this month to their regular summer cut height.
Don't mow newly sown grass until it reaches 3 inches in height and make sure the mower blades are on a high setting.
From your armchair
Use a diary to keep track of which seeds you are sowing and when they were sown and planted out - it really helps later in the year.
Take time out from the hard work to relax and enjoy your garden now that warmer weather has arrived.
Other jobs about the garden
Feed pond fish, little and often.
Remove duckweed and blanketweed from ponds, and thin excessive growth of submerged oxygenators. Lay removed weed beside the pond overnight to allow insects, snails and other pondlife to escape back to the water.