This month in your garden

Our spring has had several stops and starts this year with days of high and low temperatures. Ideally we should all be growing plants that enjoy the heat and require the minimum of water. Remember that even if a plant is labelled as drought-proof, it only becomes so once it has matured in your garden. I still find the best way to encourage this is not to flail about with a hose pipe, but to insert half of a plastic bottle nozzle down, at the back of each new plant, and for the first year at least put the water in that. This will ensure that the water will travel straight to the roots where it is most needed. I promise you this is the best way.

Some plants enjoy the warmer weather and hemerocallis originally from Asia, flourishes here, although you may probably only see the bright yellowy-orange flowers in older gardens. Apparently there are some 80,000 different varieties, so perhaps we should encourage our nursery men to introduce more. South Africa has given us summer garden plants like tulbaghias, which started life in the grass lands of Natal, the Transvaal and Eastern Cape area. They are widely available here now and make good front of border plants, well able to look after themselves. However, their rather garlicky-smelling roots might just put you off. Kniphofias also come from there, commonly known as ‘Red Hot Pokers’, see Plant of the Month.

A few reminders – don’t forget to feed your fruit and nut trees this month with 20.10.10 – 900 g for large trees and 300 g for young trees. Enjoy the early summer flowers whilst you can as they will soon go over.  Keep picking sweet peas and don’t let them make seed pods until their flowering season is nearly coming to a close. Keep dead-heading irises as well as osteospermums. If you let osteospermums drop their seeds you will be inundated with tiny seedlings before long.  Begin to bring your outdoor pot plants into a shady spot to protect them from the fierce sun and mist them occasionally. And enjoy the bright sunny days!

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Monthly Images May