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What to do in your garden - May 2019

This month there’s so much going on in the garden, it’s a job to know where to start! May is a peak time for planning and planting your summer bedding scheme, and continuing to tend to all that’s growing rapidly in the lovely late spring sunshine.

  • Perennial plants are in abundance and now is the perfect time to plant them. There are literally hundreds of plant varieties to choose from. Have a look at your garden beds and borders to see if you have any gaps to fill, then come to Longacres for inspiration! Ground cover fillers (for sun or partial shade) include perennial geraniums such as ‘Rozanne’ which has blue flowers all summer long. Heuchera are evergreen perennials grown for their stunning colourful foliage work in any garden and are best in partial shade. Plants which are suitable for dry shade (once established) include Euphorbia robbiae, Alchemilla mollis and hardy ferns
  • Summer bedding plant season– we now have our full range of summer bedding plants in stock! We have everything you need for your borders, hanging baskets, and containers –in all the colours you could wish for. New Guinea impatiens and Osteospermum are looking fabulous, as are all the traditional favourites such as geranium, fuchsia, petunia and lobelia. We also have ready-made hanging baskets and patio pots for instant impact. A massive range of beautiful and exotic plants from colourful canna lilies to dahlia, marguerite daisies, standard fuchsia and pots of nemesia for delicate fragrance
  • Harden off bedding plants (which means getting them acclimatised to outdoor conditions) around mid-May when weather conditions are much warmer. In the first week, put plants outdoors in a sheltered position during the day, but cover with fleece to prevent leaf damage. Take the plants indoors at night. In the second week, remove the fleece during the day but bring in at night. Once night temperatures are above 7°C, plants can be left uncovered unless frosts are forecast
  • Water newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials to help get them established over the summer, when sunny, windy conditions may dry your plants out and cause root stress: a thorough watering twice a week is much better than little and often
  • Daffodil blindness (where foliage grows but no flowers form) may be caused by several things such as growing conditions like overcrowding or dry soil. Always let the bulb foliage die down naturally (for about 6 weeks) so that all the goodness goes back into the bulb – to improve conditions use liquid fertiliser after flowering to feed bulbs for next year. Now is also the time to lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils after they’ve finished flowering
  • Growing tomatoes is easy! all you need is a sunny spot in your garden, where once no frosts are forecast you can plant tomatoes in growbags, hanging baskets, patio pots or even in the ground. Longacres has a great selection of tomato varieties from tumbling (excellent for hanging baskets) to cherry types, sweet and juicy or huge beefsteak varieties. Keep plants well-watered and feed regularly with tomato fertiliser (following manufacturer’s instructions) for best results
  • Planting shrubs in containers: Select a pot that is large enough for the rootball of your plant with extra room for growth, and one that will keep the plant stable in windy conditions. Make sure the container has plenty of drainage holes, and use crocks (broken terracotta pot pieces) in the base so that the compost doesn’t get washed out of the holes. Raise the pot on feet or pieces of wood to allow excess water to drain away and prevent waterlogging. Use a loam-based compost such as John Innes No 3, mixing in about 30-50 percent multi-purpose compost and continuous release fertiliser granules such as Miracle Gro or Gro Sure which will feed the plant throughout the growing season. Water regularly, ensuring the compost doesn’t dry out but is not wet. Take particular care over winter when it is easy to forget to water container grown plants
  • Continue feeding and watering houseplants on a regular basis and pot on as necessary, using compost specifically formulated for different plant types: such as orchids, cacti and succulents, bonsai and so on
  • Repotting a moth orchid (Phalaenopsis): Your orchid will only need repotting at least every 2 years, and only to the next pot size up (or even reuse the same pot, because too large a pot will mean the compost and roots stay wet and can kill the plant). Use a proprietary bark-based orchid compost, to ensure good drainage and aeration of the roots. Carefully remove the orchid from its pot, trim off any dead roots (those that are dark brown and shrivelled) and old compost. Hold the plant in the pot at the right level and gently add fresh orchid compost, making sure you firm it so that the orchid stays upright. Do not bury any aerial roots as this can make them rot. You may need to use a cane to support the plant until it becomes established. Water well and allow excess to drain away
  • May is the peak time for flowering azaleas and rhododendrons – come and see our selection! If your soil is not acidic then you can grow smaller varieties in containers using ericaceous compost. Lime tolerant (chalky soil) varieties have been bred specifically for this purpose -Rhododendron “Inkarho” ™ types can grow on most soils.