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What to Do in the Garden This Week - May 14th

Published on May 14th 2020

Bumble bee taking nectar from Cosmos flowers

by sarahdoow. 1278225028

A picture of a bumblebee on a pink cosmos flower in a field of flowers
They say that no garden is complete without water. With this in mind, I've some tips on water plants this week. Water is a magnet for wildlife, but I've also got some other tips that will bring your garden to life.

Festival of Flowers

Join us this month for a month-long gardenia party, where we celebrate all things gardens and flowers. Join us on social media and #ShowUsYourBlooms!
This month, paint your garden with a bloomin' rainbow. You can shop the plants featured in Hardy's festival show garden here:

Hardy's Top Ten Flowering Plants for Pollinators

Garden jobs for this week:

Bedding plants and pots

  • By now you may have planted most of your bedding annuals. However, some of the best are late starters. Cosmos, Begonia Glowing Embers and Million Kisses, Coleus/Solenostemon and Salvia are fantastic garden performers so make space for these!
Shop for Cosmos, Begonias and more here.
Begonia Glowing Embers
  • Fill a container with a mix of herb plants. Avoid mixing mint - better on its own - but grow those you're likely to use on the BBQ. I grow chives, marjoram and thyme and put the pot in the sunniest spot. Why not use a quirky container, like this old barbecue?
A wooden bench filled with herbs in a garden

Ponds and bog plants

  • Water-loving plants can really get established this month. Aim to cover at least a third of the water surface with leaf. This will cut down algae growth but, just as importantly, provide shelter for wildlife.
  • Water lilies can be planted now. Unless you have a big pond, only plant a single plant and choose a small growing variety. Established lilies can be divided and replanted now as well. Throw away the oldest parts and replant the youngest bits.
  • Remember to clean water filters regularly. If the water goes green and has a 'bloom', use barley straw in a net to clear it. Find more information here:
  • You can plant water's edge plants - also called 'marginals' - and oxygenating plants now. Avoid those that are invasive and those that are banned. Stick to those that are native, or are closely related to, our native plants. Here's some more inspiration:
  • Check out this container aquatic plant pond pack, perfect for transforming old containers or general pond use.

Garden wildlife in May

  • Birds need fresh, clean water to drink and bathe. Ensure birdbaths are regularly refilled when the weather hots up! Position baths where birds can escape quickly into safe cover away from cats and predatory birds.
bird bath with drinking bees
  • Keep some areas of the garden a bit messy. Letting some of the grass grow longer and leaving weeds can provide essential habitat space for wildlife. Learn more about the best weeds for wildlife here:
  • Another brilliant habitat for pest-eating beetles and small mammals such as hedgehogs are log piles. Another idea to encourage natural pest control into your green spaces is using a small sheet of corrugated iron. This may encourage slow worms and grass snakes into your garden. Of course, you'll need to allow gaps in your garden to allow these creatures to pass through.
  • Feed hedgehogs with a little cat food but take care that you aren’t encouraging too many foxes. Talk to your neighbours about creating a “Hedgehog Highway” between gardens by making holes in fences for hedgehogs to use.
  • It's easy to encourage insects into your garden when you provide the right flowers, and in return, they will pollinate your crops and increase yields. Plant or sow flowers that have single blooms and a long flowering period.

Shop plants for pollinators:

A group of colorful flowers in a field

Raised beds

  • Whether it's to minimalise bending or to get earlier crops, raised beds are a great way to grow your own fresh food.
  • Sow your fast-growing veg between slow-growing ones. Radish, salad leaves and turnips sown between sprouts or purple sprouting broccoli will double up your yield.
  • Sow companion plants to encourage beneficial insects onto your plot. Borage works well with beans. Tagetes with cabbage and sprouts. Feverfew planted with onions or on the corner of your raised bed attracts the good guys in!
Pot marigolds with broccoli

And finally, the last job for the week!

  • The Chelsea Chop! Professional gardeners extend the flowering period of hardy perennial plants by cutting part of some plants down now. This delays flowering on the cut part and extends the display!

Enjoy this story? Create the inside-outside space of your dreams with the help of the Garden Ambience collection:

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