Our Top Gardening Tips for May

17/05/19 News

With the promise of warmer weather and longer evenings just around the corner, garden centers up and down the country, including the team here at Tates of Sussex Garden Centres, are gearing up for the very much anticipated arrival of summer. Not only does May bring two bank holiday weekends, earlier this month many green-fingered enthusiasts jumped at the chance to connect with the great outdoors (albeit in a slightly different way) as part of World Naked Gardening Day. So whether it’s entertaining friends, maintaining a garden building or placing your focus on planting, there really is no better time to get your gardening habits off to a good start.

At this time of year it is quite common for bulbs to fade away, making way for the almighty uproar of herbaceous borders, as the weather conditions provide the perfect environment for bursts of growth. If you’re lacking the motivation to go outside or stumped at where to begin, we have rather handily pulled together some of our top gardening jobs for May to get you started. From lawn care to sowing and bedding, it won’t be long before you’re falling back in love with your garden and maybe even enjoying the work that goes into making it a truly wonderful space.

Garden Clearing and Maintenance

When it comes to gardening in May, one of the first jobs any gardener will take on is clearing and weeding; a year-round job that becomes particularly important at this time of year where the warmer weather causes weed growing to skyrocket. On an almost weekly basis you will need to be hoeing soils and de-weeding beds by hand in order to prevent weeds from setting in and preventing summer plant growth. For existing perennials that tend to grow to a rather considerable height, part of your gardening jobs for May should be the implementation of support poles or sticks to help prevent damage in wind as well as ‘flopping’ as foliage becomes large and heavy. In the hope that you are inspired to spend a great deal more time in the garden throughout May, it might be worth adding soft-tops to any canes or poles in order to prevent a potentially rather nasty eye injury in the future.

Garden Buildings

Gardening in May doesn't have to focus on tending to plants and shrubs, it can also involve the upkeep of our much loved garden buildings, especially garden greenhouses. May is the perfect time of year to open up the vents, doors and windows of our beloved greenhouses allowing them to breathe a little fresh air, especially if you manage to  find a beautiful day for it. Of course there are a number of different garden buildings that require care at this time of year; garden sheds, garden offices, log cabins, playhouses and wooden greenhouses can all benefit from a wood treatment now in order for them to be conditioned in time for summer.

Garden greenhouse lovers should start to look at hardening off any tender plants or bedding so that they can be planted directly into the garden, ready and waiting to flourish by the time summer is here in full swing. If you like to grow your own fruit, vegetables or herbs, then the team here at Tates of Sussex Garden Centres provide expert guidance, helping you to make the most of your garden greenhouse.  If the warmer weather does bring some particularly warm days, ensure your greenhouse has effective shading in place to prevent the sudden rise of temperature inside the greenhouse which can sometimes lead to the scorching of sensitive plants.


Many of us can get a little carried away with hedge clipping, especially when the sun is shining and the opportunity to make a headstart on that summer tan is a little too tempting to resist. But without paying close attention, unspotted birds nests can become caught up in the clearing works, be sure to look for small collections of branches or twigs hidden away in the depths of hedges before cutting away. When gardening in May, also be sure to look out for insects such as the viburnum beetle and lily beetle grubs which could be thriving in even the most neglected parts of your garden.  A run down patch of greenery for us could just be the perfect habitat for insects and beetles, and they need a home too! If you do have bird feeders then now is the perfect time to give them a thorough clear out ready for the summer months, that way you’ll have the best chance at some fascinating bird watching this year.

Plant wise, now is a good time to keep an eye out for aphids collecting on any young plant shoots or foliage, one of the most effective ways to deal with this is to wipe clean or spray gently with a soapy solution.

Plant Care

For those looking to achieve the perfect beds this summer, towards the end of May is a great time to start planting tender annuals and summer bedding plants especially cosmos, sunflowers and nasturtiums. There are a number of options when it comes to designing garden beds, each gardener will have different ideas when it comes to colour schemes,mood and species but here at Tates of Sussex Garden Centres our expert team provide useful plant guides to help . Now that spring is nearing an end, a brilliant gardening job for May is the removal of faded bedding plants such as forget-me-nots ready and waiting to be added to the compost bin. If yours is a garden with shady borders, then why not try adding a little extra interest with some ferns or hostas that way all areas of your garden will be flourishing by the time summer comes around. It is also useful to keep a good amount of fleece handy, just incase a late frost is forecast to help protect any young seedlings or fruit blossom.

Lawn Care

An important gardening job to get started with in May (and to continue through the summer months) is to begin a fairly robust lawn care regime. May is the perfect time to start applying nitrogen-rich summer lawn feed,  to really help encourage your lawn to flourish making it ready in time for entertaining friends and families on those warm summer days. If your lawn is suffering from a few damaged or bare areas, then now is the time to start sowing new lawn seed or even lay new patches of turf. For those with ample space and keen on growing wildflowers, May could be a great month to mow in a few pathways (to be maintained) throughout these areas, allowing a beautiful opportunity to walk amongst the flowers.

At Tates of Sussex Garden Centers our team of green-fingered enthusiasts have years of experience in all things gardening, going beyond most gardening centers to offer our customers a range of services and guidance.  Our very own plant doctor, David, is on hand at Paradise Park Garden Centre most weekends to offer advice to all of our budding gardeners with a burning question to ask. For those in the process of planning a garden design, or simply wish to know a little more about a species then our bespoke plant finder is an excellent source of knowledge. Our showrooms are at South Downs Nurseries and Paradise Park Garden Centre with a selection of our best sellers on display at Mayberry Garden Centre. Perhaps the addition of a new garden building is on the agenda this month, if so you needn’t look further than Tates of Sussex as we are currently offering a fantastic 20% our Malvern Sheds and Summerhouses as well as 5% off our greenhouses.  For more information on any of our garden buildings, gardening products, garden centres, events or services, please contact us.