May in the Garden 2022

So … here we are in May already, the year is rushing away with me. I think May is absolutely my favourite month for gardening, so much promise for the bounty ahead. After a difficult couple of years for everyone, I think we are all looking forward to being able to share again.

To look for a positive, we are seeing a greater number of people looking to continue their horticultural experiences, especially in ‘wild’ gardening. If you are able, there is much to be gained from finding a small patch of ground to turn over to wildflowers, even a pot is helpful. This is very beneficial for bees, butterflies, beetles, birds and reptiles, and can help reduce the presence of all those bugs and slugs. We have a new range in at the moment which can be grown in pots or direct sown. They are from a local company in the Exe Valley, and all the packaging is compostable and vegan friendly. We also stock a range of wild plants, and are hoping to provide more varieties as the season progresses. We are happy to advise on any questions you might have.


Please be aware that this year is going to be a challenge for us as we are experiencing shortages or long lead times for many items, from tools to plants. We would ask that you bear with us as we try and source what we can, maybe this year is the one when we have to try something different, or think a little outside the box.



As ever there is much to get on with in the garden this month …

Water plants that need it regularly, especially tomatoes and cucumbers inside, and runner beans to encourage flowers to set. If it turns really dry, you may have to consider a light mist of water to help those little flowers turn into beans. Growing sweet peas among the beans will encourage the bees and other pollinators to visit with the added bonus that you get flowers as well!

  • If clipping hedges ensure that there are no birds nesting within. Let the chicks fledge first if possible, and don’t forget the parents will be feeding madly on all those unwanted insects in the garden!

  • Protect young plants from slugs, preferably with a killer that will not harm wildlife (look for the Soil Association logo, or on our organic stand with chemical-free controls). Remember that ‘less is more’ when it comes to slug pellets, a light scatter is all that is needed. You will need to repeat if we get heavy rain.

  • Feed pond fish regularly.

  • Feed, weed and mow lawns to encourage good growth. Remember not to compost grass clippings after you have used weedkiller.

  • Cover plants with horticultural fleece whenever night frosts are forecast (yes, even in May!!)

  • Cut back spring-flowering shrubs that have finished flowering.

Clip Clematis Montana after flowering.

  • Trim box and other formal hedging to maintain shape.

  • Tender shrubs, such as Acers, in pots can be moved outside for summer.

  • Divide and cut back spring-flowering perennials.

Plant out dahlias at the end of the month, or when risk of frost is over.

  • Clear out spring bedding.

  • Harden off summer bedding plants.

  • Thin out annuals sown earlier and thin out vegetables sown earlier.

  • Sow and plant out tender vegetables later this month.

  • Protect crops from carrot fly with a light cover, or grow onions or leeks in between the rows. The fly doesn’t like the smell and the added height helps them to fly over the top and away. You can also try rosemary or sage, and chives work well too.

  • Continue successional sowing of vegetables.


Finish planting evergreen shrubs. Remember to continue to water freshly planted shrubs.


  • Sow biennials for next year’s spring bedding plants such as foxgloves, stocks, hollyhocks, primulas.

  • Inspect plants regularly for signs of pests and diseases, and nip potential problems in the bud!!

Sue Brown

Colyton Garden Shop King Street, Colyton, Devon EX24 6PD


Tel: 01297 551113

Opening hours: 9.00-5.00pm Monday to Saturday, 10.00 -4.00pm Sunday

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