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Make the most of the May bank holidays

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Friday, 23rd April 2021, 09:00

At last, here we are in May, such a beautiful month in the garden! With two lots of Bank Holidays, there is plenty of time to get down and dirty in your garden.

If the weather is mild, give your shiny leaved houseplants a little spring clean in the shower with tepid water and then bring them outside for a few hours in the middle of the day. Warning – don’t stand them in full sun thinking they will like it as it will scorch the leaves!

You can shine the leaves with special cleaning wipes from the garden centre, or you can use the inside of old banana skins, which seem to work just as well and will probably transfer a few nutrients at the same time.

Feed your tomatoes regularly with high-potash fertiliser once there are three or four clusters of flowers. If you do it before the flowers have arrived you might just end up with lots and lots of healthy leaves and no fruit!

Place clean straw or little mats around strawberry plants to protect the fruit from soil splashes and to help keep the soil moist.

Separate clusters of herbs for a good yield

If you don’t have the time or patience to sow your own herbs you can use the crowded plastic pots you buy in the supermarket. Carefully separate them and replant in fresh compost in small pots, putting two or three plants in each pot. Keep watered.

Keep a watch on your broad beans as you will probably find clusters of blackfly on the tips. Just pick the tips off and squash them. If there are no infestations of blackfly on your bean tips you can pick them off and use them in salads, or steam lightly for a delicious vegetable.

If your pond is getting full of blanket weed just twirl a rough stout stick in the water and it will wrap the weed round it like a green candyfloss. I wouldn’t advise eating it though!

Give box hedges and topiaries their first trim in early May. Use sharp shears or hedge-trimmers on long runs of hedging. Keep a look out for Box blight or the signs of the Box Moth caterpillar – both a real problem last year.

Dead-head the spent flowers on any early plants like roses or irises. This ensures all the vigour goes back into the plant.

Once you’ve spent a long, hard day working in the garden, the next thing to do is pour one of your favourite cool drinks and enjoy the late evening sunshine with a well-deserved rest!

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