May is the month that usually brings even the most reluctant gardener outdoors and there’s a real feel that summer is approaching: a typical mix of sunny weather and warm showers sees the rapid growth of plants in the garden. By the end of the month the trees are in full leaf, many trees and shrubs are in bloom while late spring flowering bulbs are still at their best. Sowing seed outdoors and planting out bedding can begin in some areas of the UK, depending on regional weather variations. It’s also time to get back your lawn back into shape as it will be growing quickly now. This is also the month when the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show is held and this prestigious event in the gardening calendar is always a reminder of what can be achieved and an inspiration to gardeners everywhere.
The garden in May is an enchanted place: flowers and bees are in abundance, fresh green foliage is unfurling and bare earth disappears as early-flowering herbaceous plants smother the ground. Cherry and apple blossom is out, lilacs fill the air with their scent and early clematis clothe walls and fences. Viburnums are probably the most valuable group of shrubs for this time of year with many fine cultivars on offer. They are highly prized for their profusion of flowers and often delicious fragrance, with most of them making ideal shrubs for even the smallest garden. Rhododendrons and azaleas are also at their peak and their showy brightly coloured blooms will add drama to any garden.