Today, in Hampshire, it is spring. Yesterday felt like autumn and the day before that - winter. I have had bursts of horticultural enthusiasm whilst battling with a voice in my head that whispers "Forget it mate - it isn't even spring yet".
Staring at the calendar gives me the hard facts I need. It quells my inner couch potato: next month has the longest day of the year, my birthday, Wimbledon and back ache from trying to play cricket again. So I had better get on with it!
Jobs for May include, (or should I say "enjoyable tasks" to keep your inner couch potato from grabbing the steering wheel?):
- Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils.
- Get your mowing underway if you have not already done so. Start at a high setting and reduce the height of the blade as the season progresses. Feed your lawn with a suitable nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
- Prune spring-flowering shrubs when they have finished flowering. This category includes Chaenomoles (quince), Choisya and Ribes.
- Get stuck into the large Spireas and Clematis montana by thinning out a third of the growth.
- Trim evergreens such as Viburnum tinus and show the prickly Pyracanthus who is boss by cutting back the shoots that are getting away.
- Watch out for Viburnum beetles: despite their size they can be highly destructive . Try removing these pesky little blighters by hand before resorting to chemical warfare.
- Thin out aquatic plants. It is still a good time of year to plant new ones too.
- Keep on top of the weeds by hoeing.
- Be patient with bedding plants: if you do buy and plant them out then be aware that there are probably a few frosts still to come. Protect your infant displays with some sort of horticultural fleece.
And even if it rains a bit - water, water, water - your shrubs, your new trees, your bedding, yourself, your children...you get the picture.
Then sit back and enjoy whatever season it happens to be that day - I gather we are in for some pay-back after all that rain!
For more images and inspirations try:
willridpathgarden on Instagram