A garden celebration

Colorful petunias close-up.
Colorful petunias close-up.

MAY is one of the most exciting garden months, everything is growing and the longer daylight hours mean you have more time to get your hands dirty … or visit garden showcases such as Chelsea Flower Show.

It’s at Chelsea that you can see garden designs and ideas for all budgets and all spaces – including some celebration ideas for this special Jubilee year. Whether you’ve got a huge garden with a rolling lawn and endless flower beds or just a small square of grass or patio, a hanging basket or a window box you can make your outside space into a real jewel by planting some patriotic red, white and blue plants.

To ensure colourful flowers for June the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) are suggesting that gardeners buy partially grown plug plants and put them in containers and hanging baskets. Plants to look out for are white verbena, red geraniums and blue lobelia – which should be planted as early as possible. You could extend the colour theme to your veg patch or allotment as well. RHS Garden Harlow Carr is planting red Highland Burgundy Red, blue Purple Majesty and white Elisabeth potatoes!

With just one £50 National Garden Gift Voucher you can create a Jubilee garden that will be fit for a queen. Try combining red fuchsia or geraniums with white pansies or impatiens and blue salvia and lobelia. Lobelia, fuchsia and impatiens are particularly good in hanging baskets as they have trailing varieties.

Another flowering plant to get you in the party mood that also comes in red, white or blue is the ever popular petunia – perfect for containers and hanging baskets and a great choice for instant colour. It can flower all summer long, providing you deadhead regularly, and comes in a variety of colours to suit any garden palette. Petunias are also available in different blooms including single, double, ruffled or smooth petals.

They can be striped, veined or solid in colour and most sold today are hybrids developed for specific design purposes such as fragrance. They need full sun and can’t tolerate frost but can grow in a wide range of soils and thrive in multipurpose compost when planted in containers.

Keeping on top of garden maintenance is crucial in May. The garden is coming alive so there is plenty to keep you busy …

Plant out seedlings and young plants; Watering and weeding are key this month; Start spraying roses to stop black spot and mildew; Fast growing hedges will need a trim; Plant hanging baskets and containers; Plant salad leaves seeds; Tie up climbers; Feed spring bulbs for next year; Plant out tomatoes; Mow the lawn