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It's time to: May


Tidy up perennials.

Shape up evergreens such as shade-loving plectranthus

Prune grevilleas by 30 per cent.


Stop watering frangipanis and succulents, which are now dormant and can rot easily in cold weather.


Watch out for scale, which looks like hard spots, on camellia, citrus, figs. Spray with EcoOil.


Feed winter crops.

Fertilise potted Cymbidium orchids with Strike Back for Orchids until the spikes are in bloom.


Pick pumpkins with the stem to prevent rotting. Put fruit high on a shed roof, or on a table or bench, not the floor.


Chill tulips and hyacinth bulbs in the crisper for a few weeks before planting out later this month.

Prepare the ground for deciduous trees arriving ‘bare rooted’ from nurseries next month. A large deeply dug hole with plenty of organic compost is ideal.

Order rhubarb, asparagus and artichoke.


Admire gordonia’s handsome glossy foliage and large ‘fried egg’ flowers of white petals with prominent yellow stamens. Gordonia is a low-maintenance tree for urban gardens, to about 5m.  

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Author: Linda Ross