Alison Wood

Alison Wood

May Blog

As the month of May approaches with the promise of warmer weather and two bank holidays, it’s a good time to get the garden, or whatever outdoor space you have, ready to enjoy during the summer ahead.

May is the month of blossom in a variety of colours such as this white flowering Prunus Ivensii,  or this pale pink flowering Prunus Cistena  

Magnolias are also a stunning addition to the garden with their beautiful flowers: such as this fabulous purple Magnolia “Susan”  or this spectacular  Magnolia Stellata 

Azaleas are another plant that provide vibrant colour in the borders at this time of year, whether you prefer an orange azalea  a red azalea,  a pink azalea, or  a white azalea,  or maybe a mix! Depending on your soil, you may need to use Azalea compost 

If you love climbers, clematis are lovely at this time of year too – choose from any of these Clematis Montana Rubens is pretty and scented  Clematis 'Miss Bateman with its large white flowers the very popular Clematis 'Nelly Moser'    and this vibrant dark red clematis 

As my clematis plants are a couple of years old now, I’m treating them with this special clematis feed 

I train clematis up drainpipes to disguise them but am also using trellis  for some other clematis and other climbing plants such as a passionflower  and a scented honeysuckle 

Gardening is not just about choosing and planting lovely shrubs and plants, there are jobs to do too:

Lawns should be mown weekly from now on; there are many mowers to chose from and I find this Flymo  suits my lawns  but if you’re not a fan of mowing why not sit back and watch this Robotic Lawn Mower do the work for you 

Once I’ve mown my lawns, I cut the edges to make the lawns look even neater with these edging shears  and each year, I use edging cutters to make a sharp clean edge 

With gardening gloves donned, I then gather up the cuttings and add to my compost bin 

It's now time to sit on a bench  admiring the work done so far, listening to the birds  with a cuppa in my favourite mug 

The next task is to weed and hoe  the flower beds (a great workout!) which makes such a difference to the look of the garden as well as getting rid of unwanted weeds 

When the lawns look good, my eyes are drawn to my garden paths which are a mix of old stone flags and cobbles so these need regular weeding; this weeding knife is invaluable and saves my nails! I must buy one of these garden kneelers to save my knees! 

Another purchase to be made: I’ll be investing in some electric hedge trimmers   and some topiary clippers  as I have a yew tree that I want to practice topiary on and other shrubs that need a trim! I’ve also seen this topiary cutting mat which may make life easier   and may gain inspiration from this book on topiary 

May is a good time to prune spring flowering shrubs which I manage to do with this set of secateurs 

and  to finish planting evergreen shrubs – these are just I few that I’m considering to fill some gaps and add variety to my flower beds:

LAVATERA 'Barnsley Baby'   

Camellia Japonica 'Lady Campbell' 

Vinca Minor “Alba” 

Sarcococca Confusa   

Slugs love eating our lovely plants so protection is key, there are several methods such as nematodes,  wool pellets  and copper tape 

Far nicer than some of the other methods and as I have hedgehogs visiting the garden, I avoid slug pellets. 

While sitting on the bench earlier, I saw it needs a little TLC, a sanding down with the sander,   sanding sheets  and a new coat or two of paint such as this pale green which matches my gate!   need to add brushes   to my list!

I find these tasks quite therapeutic and time away from my computer screen is also good for the eyes and posture –fortunately I have many jobs to enjoy outdoors. 

My fencing needs a new coat of fence treatment   and I find these wider brushes make the job easier. 

I protect the path and plants from splashes with this dust sheet 

At both doors, I have metal doormats   similar to these but as mine are a decades old, they need attention from time to time so I use a small paintbrush   and Hammerite metal paint  

Twice a year I apply Algon to my flagged path which reduces risk of slipping in wet weather – always best to be applied in a dry spell using a sprayer 

Let’s hope for a sunny month with just enough rain (preferable overnight!) and if there isn’t, water the plants and beds using water from a water butt   or I can recommend this Expandable Hose Pipe 

 

Happy gardening………….I must get on with my jobs!

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Virtual Assistance By Alison Wood