May is the cleanup month in the garden, as the leaves are nearing the end of falling and most of the summer-flowering perennials have finished.

Spring bulbs need to be finished being planted, and dahlias and tuberous begonias can now be lifted for the Winter.

Lawns are still growing, and good weed and moss control can be achieved now before the colder weather stops grass growth.

Garden Beds: Removing the died-off leaves from around plants like hostas will help reduce the overwintering of slug and snail eggs that hatch in the spring to eat holes in the new leaves.

Fruit Trees: Once the trees have lost all their leaves they can be treated with the start of the Winter spray program (copper and conquer oil).

Chrysanthemums and other perennials will be finishing their flowering and should be cut back by 2/3 and labelled for their colour (or name if known), so that only the cultivars that you like are kept or divided.

Garlic: Last year, I planted garlic in May and harvested it after Christmas, resulting in a plentiful crop. I plan to repeat this timing for planting again, as I encountered no rust on the plants until they were ready to harvest.

Greenhouse: After harvesting all greenhouse crops, remove plant residue, thoroughly clean the greenhouse, and prepare for the Spring growing cycle. Pay extra attention to areas along foundations and corners, as pests and diseases tend to overwinter there. Protect tender plants from frost by relocating them to sheltered spots or providing overhead protection. Regularly check stored fruit and vegetable crops throughout Winter to ensure they remain firm and sound.

Happy gardening!
Michael Coulter

The CHS are working with the Southern Seed Exchange (SSE) to bring you a range of fabulous seed packs, for big and small gardens alike Take a look here.

Remember: questions can be posted on HortTalk our online facebook group or you can email Michael directly at: