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Spring Time in the Garden: Tips for May

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Our Royal Pavilion Garden Manager Robert has some more tips for the budding gardeners among us: 

  • Watch out for late frosts and protect tender plants.
  • Plant out summer bedding at the end of the month. Plant out Dahlia tubers and Cannas after risk of frost.
  • As part of a lockdown routine, water early and late to get most out of your water, recycle water too. Then have a drink yourself!
  • Prune spring shrubs eg Forsythia and Chaenomeles after flowering.
  • Apply liquid feed to tulips and other spring bulbs to encourage a good display next year.
  • Check Lilies for scarlet lily beetle and remove.

Dahlia © Lee Ismail

tulips © Lee Ismail

tulips closeup © Lee Ismail

lily © Lee Ismail

lily beetle © Lee Ismail

If you cannot obtain plants, substitute with seed you already have or buy online. I have just sown directly into pots, Nasturtiums, Nigella (love in the mist), Calendula, Californian poppy, night scented stock.

Likewise you could sow directly into window boxes. Spinach, Rocket, Coriander, Basil, Parsley and Chives.

sweet rocket © Lee Ismail

As an alternative to plants and seeds for the garden, why not try summer flowering bulbs to liven up your garden and pots etc. You can order now online from bulb specialists such as Bloms Blubs or Van Tubergen.

Here are a few suggestions for pots, baskets and window boxes:

Sparaxis (wonderful range of colours).

Freesias (Scent).

Ixias (African corn lily).


Gladioli Nanus mxd.

Begonia © Lee Ismail

For borders and beds:


Gladioli Byzantinus (a great favourite of Gertrude Jekyll).




Local garden centre for compost.

Crocosmia lucifer in bloom © Lee Ismail

Crocosmia lucifer © Lee Ismail

dahlia in bloom © Lee Ismail

day lily © Lee Ismail

gladioli © Ismail Zulkifli

 Wash down with a huge Gin and tonic!

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Robert at work in the Royal Pavilion Garden


Robert Hill-Snook, Garden Manager, Lee Ismail, Curator of Natural Sciences