Swing into Spring

10 gardening tips for May

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There is always something to do in the garden. Find out what you should be looking out for in May below.

The top ten — everything you need to know

Savory: Savory is an integral ingredient in gourmet cuisine. It's sown in May, when the weather is warm. Those who shy away from sowing this herb once a year tend to prefer the perennial winter savory, a woody half shrub. The winter savory, however, does not develop the fine, aromatic fullness of its cousins that grow once a year, and its taste is slightly more bitter. Lemon winter savory is recommended for those with a refined palate. This new herb is found in Africa and its delicate and elegant citrus notes make it the perfect accompaniment to summery bean salads.

 

Pond fish: Now is the perfect time to begin filling—or continue filling—your garden pond with fish. "Biotope" fish such as bitterlings, minnows, belicas and sticklebacks are currently all the rage. The disadvantage of these fish is that their camouflage makes them less striking than goldfish, koi and shubunkins. Having said that, local species of fish look right at home in natural ponds and even swimming ponds, where they can chase away lively swarms of mosquito larvae, for example.

 

Insect garden: Once their fruit trees have finished blossoming, many garden lovers start to notice how few pollinating insects can currently be found in their garden. From the beginning of May, you can provide a food source for a variety of insects by sowing seed mixtures on dormant garden surfaces or on areas that you have prepared specifically for this purpose. One example of a mixture that is particularly friendly to bees is the "bee paradise", which will help to attract the bees required for pollinating raspberries, blackberries and blueberries to your garden further along the line.

 

Window boxes: In recent times, people suffering from stress have been known to forgo flowers on their balconies and terraces, as they say the upkeep takes too much effort. In reality, it's the opposite: The more stressed someone is, the more important it is to find something that combats idleness and a decline in pace. This is exactly what summer flowers can bring to a "green living room". It's far more important to organise your summer aesthetic in a way that doesn't take up too much of your time: quality potting soil, long-term fertiliser, automatic watering and plant varieties that require a minimal amount of manual care.

 

Bulbs: After your daffodils and other bulbs have flowered, cut off the stalks but don't remove the leaves. Then fertilise the plants. The plant will only begin to dwindle once it becomes completely yellow and dry. If you remove the leaves too early, there is a risk that the plant won't bloom as well the following year.

 

Geraniums: For a long time, decorating your balcony with geraniums was labelled as "too middle class" — but now it's back in fashion. There are three key reasons for this: Firstly, more and more garden lovers are changing their minds when it comes to the proven durability, willingness to bloom and ease of care that geraniums offer. Secondly, geraniums are now available in a wide variety of interesting colours, such as red, pink, purple and white — not to mention the colour of the leaves on certain varieties of geranium. Third and finally, the new "interspecific" geraniums grow so rapidly and have such a high tendency to bloom that they exhibit almost indestructible opulence and flowering.

 

Lilac: At the earliest possible stage after your lilac has finished flowering, remove the stalks that have appeared. This will strengthen the growth of the shoots and strengthen the flower buds for the following year. We especially recommend doing this with younger lilacs, as the flower heads are lighter than those on older varieties.

 

Lawn care: Anyone who doesn't use a mulching mower to regularly mow their lawn, but instead chooses to compost the cuttings or simply throw them away, needs to know that the cuttings also contain nutrients from the surface along with the blades of grass — but without nutrients, there can be no healthy plant growth. That is why fertilising your lawn once a month is essential if you want healthy, flourishing turf that grows with a fierce resistance to moss and weeds.

 

Rhododendron: Withering azaleas and rhododendron flowers should be removed immediately, as the leaf stems will already be pushing through their base. At the same time as this growth occurs, we recommend fertilising your rhododendron with vitamins that are free from salt. Applying compost to rhododendrons can be problematic, as compost often isn't acidic enough. A mixture of two thirds bark humus to one third compost makes a far more suitable organic fertiliser.

 

Tomato plants: From the middle of May, you can move your tomato plants outdoors to provide them with the warmth they require. The trend of collecting old tomato varieties has moved on, and it's now even more interesting to plant highly aromatic varieties. In this respect, the leading varieties from La selection du Chef are a cut above the rest: http://www.la-selection-du-chef.de/tomaten-5-DE-catp.aspx. The important thing to know is that it is only stake tomatoes that need to have their epicormic shoots broken out — you don't have to do this with bush tomatoes or dwarf tomatoes. Breaking out the epicormic shoots with these varieties can even lead to a less fruitful yield!