Gardening Coach: how to bring spring colour into your garden

PUBLISHED: 09:58 09 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:58 09 May 2017

Beautiful double flowers of a giant purple poppy (Imladris01, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Beautiful double flowers of a giant purple poppy (Imladris01, Getty Images/iStockphoto)


It’s May and spring proper – a most wonderful time to be gardening, says Judy

Warm sun and spring showers mean that now is the most wonderful time of the year in the garden. It’s not too late to pack in a bit of low-cost colour either. May is the perfect time to scatter annual seeds into any gaps in your garden border. Poppies (Papaver somniferum) are a great choice. These wonderfully dramatic flowers have an impact in a single colour or create your own tonal mix by using different shades of purple like ‘Dark Plum’ and ‘Black Single’ or the beautifully ruffled petals of the lilac poppy ‘Candy Floss’.

Poppies grow quite tall – to around 90cm – so it’s worth having some ground cover at their base. Sowing vivid orange nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) will create high-impact colour in your borders or choose exciting new Nasturtium cultivars like sultry ‘Black Velvet’ which will blend beautifully with a purple poppy colour scheme. Sowing now couldn’t be easier. Both annuals like a sunny spot with well-drained soil and can be scattered direct into moist, lightly raked soil now and lightly covered with compost to protect from birds. They will germinate in days and flower for weeks. Nasturtium flowers and leaves are also an edible peppery addition to summer salads.

Five things to do in the garden this month


Direct sow annuals

Sow meadow flower seeds for bees and other pollinators. Try scabious, cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) and ox-eye daisies (Lecanthemum vulgare) for all-summer flowering.


Plant bean seeds

Dwarf and climbing bean seeds can be planted now, but wait until frosts have passed before planting young bean plants and ensure both have slug protection while they’re tender.


Grow purple carrots

Kids and grandkids will love growing purple, red, orange and yellow ‘Rainbow Mix’ carrots. Just sow seeds into a shallow drill and cover.


Check tree ties

Loosen tree ties if needed and remember to remove tree stakes after two years.


Feed shrubs, trees & climbers

A spring feed of pelleted chicken manure or a scoop of slow-release granular feed will give plants a boost at the start of the growing season.

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