Garden tasks for May


The season is changing but there is still plenty of things to do in the garden before winter.

• Rake up fallen leaves and use them as mulch or make compost with them.

• Plant winter flowers: alyssum, snapdragons, calendula, Iceland poppies, pansies and violas in sunny beds; fairy primula and cineraria for shade.

• Divide perennials if necessary.

• Cut down summer-flowering bulbs, such as cannas, dahlias and lilies.

• Water most plants once a week. Spring-flowering bulbs need deep watering every four days.

• Feed winter-flowering pot plants every two weeks, but stop feeding the summer pot plants.

• Sow broad beans, lettuce, kale, peas, radishes, Swiss chard and spinach.

• Collect seed from late-summer annuals like zinnias, cosmos, cleome (spider flower), gaillardias and hollyhocks. Take cuttings of plants like fuchsias, heliotrope and daisy bushes and soft sappy plants like impatiens and plectranthus, which are intolerant of cold, wet weather.