What to do in your garden this May - tips from Audley End House and Gardens

Spring bedding display in the Parterre

Spring bedding display in the Parterre - Credit: Archant

May has to be the busiest time of the gardening year with summer well on the way.

It is a glorious month, greener then any other with blossom on the trees, bulbs and shrubs bursting into life full of colour and scent and lawns looking lush. This month is rich with promise.

At Audley End we are truly spoilt in May. The Parterre and Pond Garden spring bedding displays are looking sensational with combinations of tulips, daffodils, forget me nots and wallflowers.

We vary the schemes each year so please come along and tell us what you think. In the Parterre we have my current favourite, Tulip ‘Greuze’. This tall single late tulip, introduced in 1891, is still sought after for its large purple flowers, which blend effortlessly with pinks and purples. The flowers are excellent for cutting too.

The Kitchen Garden is beginning to respond to the lengthening days and growing warmth of the sun. The trained fruit trees all around the garden are smothered with blossom and are not too be missed.

These are some of the jobs we are doing in the garden at Audley End and some ideas for you:

n With warmer temperatures at night, it is safe to put tender tomatoes and summer bedding outside, but not before acclimatising them. A change from the ideal indoor growing conditions to the cold, wind or wet that May can still bring will see plants go into shock.

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n Pelargoniums appreciate re-potting and new soil we set them up nicely for summer. Prune back to healthy shoots and pick of any dead foliage. We have a fantastic display of Pelargoniums in the summer and always recommend growing these delightful plants.

n Vegetables can continue to be direct sown or planted including carrots, peas, broad beans salads and potatoes.

n Do not be tempted to mow off bulbs in grass until six weeks after the last flower. This allows time to replenish their energy and build up for flowering again next year.

n Plant out sweet peas this month. We love to grow and display sweet peas for their scent and cut flowers. We have started planting this week and have included old fashioned varieties such as ‘Cupanii’ and ‘Dorothy Eckford.

n Mow lawns weekly. May is the perfect time to give your lawns a boost with a spring/summer lawn feed. Feeding the lawn will improve vigour and reduce moss and weeds.

The garden team is also preparing for the Antiques Roadshow which will be at Audley End House and Garden on May 26 from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Everyone is welcome to bring their treasures to this filming day. It is a great, free day out and no pre-registration, tickets or appointments are required.

We hope to see you then.