Rosebie Morton’s May Gardening Guide

By Guest Writer

4 weeks ago

Top gardening tips from the founder of The Real Flower Company

The month of May sees gardens bursting into bloom, and it is undoubtedly a favourite month for any gardener, says Rosebie Morton, founder of The Real Flower Company. Wondering how to get stuck into gardening this month? Here’s everything you need to know.

May Gardening Jobs: Make The Most Of Your Garden This Month

Real Flower Company bouquets on a wooden table.

Where To Start If You’re New To Gardening

If you are a gardening newbie, you might not know where to start, particularly if you only have a small plot or a windowsill. My advice is don’t be too ambitious and just have a go. Plants aren’t going to judge you! 

Try choosing plants which will provide interest for as long as possible. Peonies, for example, are beautiful but for a short time. ‘Look at me!’ They cry. ‘Aren’t I beautiful!’ – but then they’ve gone. A repeat flowering rose, on the other hand (such as A Whiter Shade of Pale or a Margaret Merril), will reward you all summer long. Salvias are also a brilliant choice, as they tick so many boxes: they have wonderfully scented leaves and beautiful flowers throughout the summer. Plus, the bees love them!

If you can, try to find room for the odd Evergreen which will reward you throughout the seasons. For more yearlong interest, meanwhile, choose a Euonymus or a Daphne.

While many people will only focus on the flower, remember to pay attention to the shape of the plant and its leaves, textures, and scent. 

What To Prune & Plant In May

When it comes to gardening priorities this month, make sure to prune spring flowering shrubs such as Choisya, Spirea, Ribes and Forsythia to maintain their shape.

Plant out Dahlia tubers and tender annuals after the last risk of frost, and sow annuals for summer colour directly in the flower beds.

Support Peonies and other vulnerable perennials from wind using bamboo canes or hazel sticks.

How To Transform Window Boxes & Smaller Gardens

If you’re looking for plants that do well in containers, roses are a good choice (so long as the compost is good quality and you mix in a slow release fertiliser): the Salvia nemerosa Sensation Rose and Salvia nemerosa Caradonna are both great options. Cut them back after they have flowered and feed them, and they will carry on all summer and into the autumn. 

Remember, any plant growing in a pot or window box is going to need regular watering, even after it rains.

Another favourite of mine for both ease and interest are herbs such as rosemary (if space is limited try the compact cultivar), lavender and thyme. Prune after flowering to stop them getting too woody. 

Scented Pelagoniums are ideal for any garden – large or small. Rose of Attar (with its irresistible scented leaves and pretty pink flowers) is a magnet for bees, and it can also be used in the kitchen. 

Seed Packets: How To Choose

Packets of seeds can be like choosing sweets in a sweet shop. But think of colour, scent and space – and, importantly, what might self-seed, which means you will only need to buy the one packet of seeds because they will appear each year.  

If I could only have a couple of packets, I would go for Nigella – Love in the Mist (guaranteed to self-seed), Nicotiana alata sensation mix, and Cosmos. If seeds scare you, then go for plug plants – these are more expensive but much less hassle!

The Real Flower Company is an award-winning florist providing sustainably-grown flowers, herbs and foliage. They are part of the C&TH Good Brands Directory.