It's time to: May
Feed emerging spring bulbs regularly with liquids such as Thrive Flower and Fruit, or Powerfeed mixed with Seasol. Consider adding annuals to complement the bulbs. Bright blue lobelia is especially effective when used in this way.
Plant some salad greens among annuals or in pots. A new mizuna combo and a peppery ‘Mustard Red’ are now in nurseries. Feed regularly with a nitrogen-rich fertiliser, such as Scotts’ Seafeed 3in1, to ensure strong growth. Pick young leaves for salads and steam or stir-fry older leaves. Look out also for sweet, nutty mache (also called lamb’s lettuce or corn salad), which is another interesting leaf for salads.
Collect fallen leaves and add them to the compost heap. If there are too many leaves for the balance of the compost use them to mulch acid-loving plants such as azaleas, daphne and camellias. They will appreciate the conditions, which mimic their original homes in the woodland understorey.
Finish trimming summer-flowering perennials and remove foliage from spent dahlias. Prune summer-flowering shrubs such as oleanders and tibouchinas.
Pick all your basil and turn it into pesto before frost turns it to virtual kelp.
Give hedges a last trim. They’ll stay nice and crisp in outline until spring growth kicks in.
Most perennials can be divided any time from now, and particularly those that catch you on the hop by shooting into growth very early, like the sedums.
When you have an hour or two
Circle some dates on the calendar to visit nurseries and open gardens while deciduous trees are at their seasonal peak. Seeing the trees in action locally will ensure you make the right choice for autumn colour in your own garden.