April Advice

There’s more and more time for evening pottering in the garden and greenhouse. What better way to relax after a day’s work? There’s seedlings to water, baskets to plant up, plants to pot on and not long until we can safely put plants out as the risk of frost has passed. Phil McCann has put together his top tips to help your garden develop into its riot of early summer colour.

Great Little Garden May Gardening Tips

Top May gardening Tips:

  • Support new shoots on climbers
  • Trim spring flowering shrubs
  • Protect summer bedding in baskets and containers from cold
  • Earth up potatoes and plant any leftovers straight away
  • Keep up general care: weeding, watering and feeding
  • Plant onion sets and garlic – it’s not too late!
  • Mow lawns weekly
  • In the greenhouse, keep seedlings damp and shaded

An overview of May:

If you thought April was busy in the garden then May is even busier. There’s hardly time to draw breath between the greenhouse, veg patch and garden - but how good is it to be gardening and growing again? All young plants need protection from late frosts so keep an eye on the daily forecast. Fruit blossom buds are looking gorgeous and there’s fresh new foliage everywhere as the garden bursts into life.

Support new shoots on climbers

New shoots need tying horizontally into support which could be wires or trellis, this helps to encourage more flowering shoots along the stem. While you’re doing this, look for green and black fly on new shoots.

Trim spring flowering shrubs

Trim back fading flower stems by at least a third to a pair of buds to encourage new flowering stems for next year. Secateurs in hand check again for the 3 Ds – any dead, diseased or damaged stems - and cut hard back to ground level. Also remove any spindly or crossing shoots.

Protect summer bedding in baskets and containers

Baskets and containers planted up with summer bedding still need protection from cold nights; there’s still a chance of frost too. So, keep them in your greenhouse or a frost-free place. If they have to stay outside, cover them with horticulture fleece overnight.


New potato shoots should be through now. They also need protection from night time cold, so earth them well up.

General care

Keep weeding and keep watering newly planted trees and shrubs or anything you may have moved. Feed all plants with an all-purpose fertiliser.

Onion sets and garlic

It’s not too late to plant onion sets and garlic into soil raked to a fine tilth. Some say garlic is best planted in November, but a spring planting does just as well. Make sure bulbs are firm – if any are soft or mouldy, chuck them away!

Lawn Care

The lawn needs a weekly mow. Remove all cuttings with a lawn rake and remember to clean the mower after using it!


All your young tender plants need to be kept damp and shaded from mid-day sun. Dahlias and any perennials grown from root cuttings need to be potted into a bigger pot if roots are filling the pot they’re in. 

March gardening advice