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A fantastic month for watching garden wildlife, since everything is awake and busy enjoying sunnier days and colourful flowers.
Whatever size garden, balcony or patio you have planting up a pretty hanging basket can make all of the difference. Include some slow release fertiliser and make sure the soil doesn't totally dry out and keep them protected until all risk of frost has passed by hanging them in your Rhino Greenhouse.
So much planting to be done so as long as the soil isn't too wet, Dahlias can be planted outside, along with Gladioli. Both look amazing in a vase, so if you have enough space to plant just a few more simply for cutting, it’s well worth it. Try Gladioli ‘Green Star’ with ‘Princess Anne’ for a striking mix of bright colours.
If you’ve forced any Rhubarb by excluding light from the crown, you should now be able to harvest the first of those delicious stems. You will need to sharply pull them away and chop them up fresh for a tasty rhubarb and banana crumble. Always rotate the crowns which are forced each year to allow each to rejuvenate for following years.
If you have Broad Beans and Potatoes growing, its time to draw up the soil around the growing stems. For Broad Beans use a hoe to place soil around the stems for extra support. Potatoes need ‘earthing up’ as the foliage grows to exclude light from the potatoes beneath and support the rapid growth. This can also help prevent disease.
Make sure you are prepared for your climbing beans by using bamboo canes for runner beans and twigs or sticks for peas. The tendrils on pea plants will find their way around the twigs to give them the support they need and those Runner Beans will grow tall so bamboo canes tied together at the top in a wigwam style is a great apace saving way to support them.
Towards the end of May fledglings will be leaving their nests. Its fantastic watching them find their wings with their parents keeping a close watch. Sometimes it may seem like the fledgling cant fly, but generally it is not wise to interfere as the parents are usually around to give encouragement. Ensure the food you leave out for birds at this time of year is small enough for them to swallow to avoid choking.
Pond plants bring so much to garden wildlife and thats without them also looking beautiful. Gently clear away any weeds and think about planting not just in the water, but on the higher shelves and around the edges. This will give plenty of shade, hiding places and food to insects and amphibians.
When thinking about new plants for your garden, look out for single flowers which are much easier for insects to get to the pollen. Different insects are attracted to different plants which helps pollination so consider a variety of plants that provide food, shelter and breeding areas. Single flowering Dahlias such as ‘Chocolate Sundae’ and ‘Bishop of York’ are easy for insects to find and provide stunning colours for any garden in containers or borders.