As I write this it has been raining overnight (18mm) which is the first real rain that we have had over the last month, the plants will really appreciate this and it will mean a few days without the need to water the garden.

I noticed that some plants are showing signs of significant frost damage which is causing the leaves to be rather distorted. This may appear as if the plants have been harmed by a herbicide, given time they should grow through the damage.

The frost may have also caused the fruit set on stone fruit plants to drop so it may be a light crop this year.

This month is the right time to plant up the Summer annuals, either for bedding displays or in containers. Once they are established pinch out the tips to encourage the plants to bush up.

Dahlias and tuberous begonias can be propagated by cuttings now or the tubers planted out in the garden. Chrysanthemums that are in the garden can be lifted and divided up now and those that are rooted from cuttings should be potted on.

Camellias, rhododendrons and other Spring flowering shrubs are now finishing so any pruning needed must be done now.

Mulching around all of the garden will help prepare for the hotter Summer days. Give special attention to any newly planted trees or shrubs to help them get established.

The lawns are now growing fast and may need an extra mow to keep them in good order. Repair work and weed control need to be done this month as it is more difficult to establish grass when it is very hot.

This is the peak month in the vegetable garden as all those plants that need the warmth to grow are ready to be planted.

In the green house tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and chillies will all be growing fast. Regular watering and feeding is needed to keep them growing and healthy.

Keep a look out for any early signs of white fly and take action as soon as seen before they become a problem (look under the leaves as this is were they will be).

Just as the plants will grow fast so will the weeds. What I do is go around the garden once a week with the hoe which takes little time; this also allows me to see how all my special new plants are doing.

Plants that are under any stress are always more susceptible to pests and diseases, our main task this month is to make sure that the plants are not under any stress.

Remember that gardening should always be a pleasure not a problem so do not put off until tomorrow what needs to be done today.

Remember to bring some of your special plants to AAG and any problems

Good Gardening, Michael Coulter         

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