May is the perfect time to start planting a plethora of plants, flowers and crops to enjoy for the rest of the year. After a cooler, wet April, gardeners can expect a warmer, lighter May. The warmer soil and extended sunlight mean anything planted this month will grow quickly and thrive for weeks to come.
While temperatures are rising, some areas of the country may experience a late frost so it’s worth taking care when planting out tender plants.
With this in mind, gardening expert Monty Don has shared how to plant tender annuals in May for “longer-lasting flowers”.
The garden pro wrote on his blog: “By the middle of May tender annuals like sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos or tobacco plants can be planted out into all but the coldest gardens, especially if you have hardened them off for at least a week.
“Hardening off is important and will means much faster growing and longer-lasting flowers.
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“So if you buy any of these annuals from a garden centre over the coming weeks, do not plant them out immediately but put them in a sheltered place for a week to acclimatise to your garden, as they will probably have been kept sheltered for best retail display.
“I like to use tender annuals both in containers and borders and in the latter I do not use them as bedding but to enrich the general tapestry of the overall planting.
“So I place them in groups so they make drifts and clumps rather than straight lines.
“Space them about 12 to 18 inches apart in a sunny situation that is sheltered from strong winds and water them in well.
“As long as the temperature does not drop below 5C they should grow strongly and flower well into autumn.”
Tender annuals include begonias, marigolds, dianthus, nasturtiums and geraniums.
These plants will grow from seed, mature, flower, produce seed and then die once they’ve completed their life cycle.
Monty said he will be planting tender plants such as cannas, dahlias and bananas this month.
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He also advised gardeners to keep making compost out of garden and kitchen waste.
However, some experts have claimed there are certain food scraps that should not be added to compost as this can attract vermin.
Cooked fruits or vegetables, meat, dairy and any oils or fats should not be composted.
Gardeners can compost raw fruit and vegetable scraps, crushed egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds.