May in Your Garden

Your May Gardening Guide

General May Garden Tasks

  • Change the settings on your irrigation system to suit the temperature and rainfall for autumn.
  • Deadhead rose bushes and spray fortnightly with Copper Count (on SPECIAL now) to combat black spot.
  • We might have a sudden cold spell so stock up on frost protection fleece or hessian to protect tender plants. Move sensitive potted plants to a protected spot.
  • Water the garden early in the day and mulch generously with Culterra Mulch around all plants to protect roots. Always leave some space around the stems of plants when mulching to prevent disease. Feed with a 3:1:5 fertiliser, like Vita Fruit & Flower to strengthen cell walls and control evaporation.
  • Spread a layer of acid compost around Camellias and Azaleas and keep them moist to prevent bud drop.
  • Cut back Japanese Anemone, Plectranthus and Daisy bushes as soon as they have finished flowering.
  • Mow lawns on a high setting and water if dry.
  • Start collecting all the fallen autumn leaves and use as a mulch or add to the compost heap. Alternatively collect leaves in black plastic bags and leave to decompose into wonderful leave mold.  Mind that you don’t use diseased leaves though.
  • Draw a rough plan of your garden and mark the position of plants that will die back in winter, like Echinacea, Hostas, Alstroemeria and Eucomis and other bulbs to prevent damage and overplanting.

What to Plant in May

  • Lily bulbs will land on the shelves this month. Plant them as soon as they are available.  Trim the flower stalks from old Liliums at ground level.
  • Continue planting spring-flowering bulbs. Water bulbs deeply and ensure they never dry out completely.  Feed fortnightly with Hadeco Bulb food (on SPECIAL now).  Feed fading bulbs to boost them for next season.
  • Dead-head winter-flowering annuals to encourage further flowers. Continue planting winter-flowering seedlings like Pansies, Violas, Poppies, Primulas, Calendula, Stocks, Sweet Peas, Cineraria, Primulas and Primroses.  Feed fortnightly with Talborne seedling food or liquid fertiliser.  Mulch well.
  • May is the perfect month for planting roses. Come spring they will be settled and you will be rewarded with strong growth and lovely blooms. Choose from our incredibly wide variety of roses.
  • Plant and transplant trees, vines, shrubs and hedging plants now.

The following are great choices for creating hedges and screening:

  • Escallonia varieties
  • Abelia varieties
  • Syzygium paniculatum (Brush Cherry)
  • Viburnum odoratissimum (Sweet Viburnum)
  • Carissa macrocarpa (Cape Num-num) – excellent for security as well
  • Polygala myrtifolia (September Bush)
  • Pittosporum varieties
  • Duranta varieties
  • Freylinia tropica (Honey Bell Bush)
  • Raphiolepis indica (Indian Hawthorn)

For lower hedges consider:

  • Buxus sempervirens (Boxwood)
  • Lavandula ‘Margaret Roberts’ (Margaret Roberts Lavender). Click |HERE| for more info on planting and using Lavender in your garden
  • Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)
  • Portulacaria affra (Spekboom)
  • Cuphea hyssopifolia (False Heather)

Indoor Plants for May

Bring colour indoors with flowering indoor plants like Cyclamen, Chrysanthemum and beautiful Phalaenopsis and Cymbidium orchids. Feed once a month with a liquid plant food for indoor plants.

Feed orchids in flower with Starke Ayres Flowering Orchids and those that have finished flowering with Starke Ayres Growing Orchids. Click |HERE| to read our basic Orchid Care Guide for care instructions for your Orchids.

May Sowing Guide

  • Vegetables: Broad Beans, Onions, Peas, Chinese Cabbage, Winter Lettuce, Radish, Swiss Chard, Parsnips.
  • Flowers: African Daisy, Calendula, Diascia, Namaqualand Daisy, Nemesia, Pansy

Although many flowers, herbs and vegetables cannot be sowed any more this time of year, plants in season are available in the nursery as hardened off seedlings to be planted now.

In Your Veggie Garden

  • Remove the last of the spent summer veg and plant Swiss chard, leeks, brassicas, peas, winter lettuce and oriental greens.
  • Thin out seedlings of seeds that were sown in situ if needed and feed all seedlings with Talborne Seedling Food or a water-soluble fertiliser. Mulch well to keep their little roots warm.
  • Feed vegetables with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, like an organic 8:1:5 or Vita Veg 6:3:4 (on SPECIAL now). 
  • Cabbages are prone to aphids. Spray preventatively with an organic aphicide.  Interplant with Sage to deter white fly and Calendula, pennyroyal or chives to repel aphids.
  • Also keep an eye open for signs of cutworm around young vegetable seedlings and place bait if necessary.

For Goodness Sake

  • Feed the birds more regularly as their natural food sources start to run low. Include suet in your feeding programme to provide them with a source of fat and energy.
  • Invest in plants like Wild Dagga and Aloes for nectar-feeding birds and wild grasses (available in seed packets in store) for seed-feeders.
  • Consider planting an array of bee attracting plants in your garden; read more about our suggestions by clicking |HERE|.
  • Don’t neglect cleaning birdbaths as birds still enjoy a good splash on the warmer days!

Last, but most certainly not the least, Sunday 13th May is Mother’s Day. Spoil the mom in your life with a specially wrapped gift plant, flowers, a favourite rose, something from our décor section or a Lifestyle gift voucher. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

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