May is the month that completes the transition from the mild days of autumn to the cold of winter. The stunning colours of autumn are starting to fade as we move into the heart of winter. Many plants relish this change of season; luckily the bugs don’t!

Key Points

  • Spray lawns with Yates Turfix to control broadleaf weeds, and Yates Surrender to get rid of moss.
  • Prune back shrubs that have finished flowering and feed with a fertiliser high in potash such as Rose fertiliser.
  • Lift and store dahlias and gladioli.
  • Plant Lily bulbs now.
  • Spray deciduous ornamental and fruit trees with Lime Sulphur. This stops lichen from growing and helps control overwintering diseases and insects.
  • Protect young seedlings from slugs and snails with Quash or Baysol snail pellets.

The Edible Garden

  • Strawberries – Now’s the time to be planting strawberries.
    Strawberries like good fertile soil so dig in lots of top quality compost before planting. A handful of Blood and Bone in the planting hole and a top dressing of general fertiliser will get them off to a flying start. 
    Remember to water in well after planting.
    Strawberries look great in strawberry pots on the deck – easy picking in the summer!
  • Vege Garden – still lots to do in the vegetable garden this month.
    • Spinach, cabbage, winter lettuce, bok choy, should all be part of your winter garden.
    • Broad beans are a great winter garden crop – plant seeds now into prepared soil. Provide some support as they do get reasonably tall (use twigs and small branches from your pruning in the garden).
    • Broad beans are easy care, and you will have delicious young beans in October / November.
    • Shallots – sweeter than garlic, milder than onions. Great in stews and casseroles, or roasted whole. Shallots are easy to grow and take up little space in the garden.
  • Rhubarb – Nothing beats the taste of homegrown rhubarb with your muesli or weet-bix for breakfast!
    Rhubarb is planted by ‘Crowns’ which are available this month.
    Rhubarb plants are heavy feeders so dig in plenty of top quality compost at planting time and follow up with general garden fertiliser at regular intervals through the year.

The Flower Garden

  • Winter colour – plant out winter flowering annuals and potted colour now for great colour through the winter months. 
    Potted colour varieties to look for this month include Pansies, Primulas, Polyanthus, and Cineraria.
    Plant seedlings of Alyssum, Kale, Stock, Calendulas, and Violas.
    Now is a good time to plant up winter hanging baskets and pots.
  • Flowering Camellias – Sasanqua Camellias are coming into flower now. 
    This is the perfect time to buy and plant – see the flowers and colours before you buy!
  • Hedges and Shelter – give hedges a final trim and tidy up before winter.
    Plant out new hedges and shelter now – Corokia, Griselinia, Pittosporum, Buxus, Photinia, all make attractive, low maintenance hedges in the home garden.
  • Fragrant Daphne – who can resist the heady perfume of a Daphne bush in full flower?
    Plant now and enjoy the fragrance by your front door or on your patio.
    Daphnes grow well in pots and containers. Look for Odora Rubra or Leucanthe.

The Lawn

  • Feed lawns for autumn if you haven’t already, it will to boost growth and suppress weed growth. 
  • New seed can be sown this month.
  • Fix any dips, hollows and bare patches and sow with grass seed where necessary.
  • Rake leaves off lawn to stop them composting on the grass.