Seeds to plant now:
Indoor or in a heated greenhouse
Aubretia, Rock cress, Aubrieta, Aubrietia
Basil, Sweet basil, Common basil
Beet, Beetroot, Chard
Beetroot, Garden beet
French bean, fine bean
Italian beetroot, Beetroot, Garden beet
Ornamental winter kale
Spinach, Summer spinach
Swiss chard, Ruby chard, Rhubard chard
Outside under cover
Shows and events:
With the easing of lockdown in parts of the UK from April 12th, some shows and events have now changed dates or been cancelled altogether. I have checked the 2021 events listed below and have added comments where necessary.
I'll try to keep this list up to date as the situation changes. Regards Nick.
Surrey Sculpture Society Exhibition at Ramster Garden Confirmed going ahead
Ramster Garden, near Godalming, famed for its display of rhododendrons and azaleas is hosting the 2021 art exhibition by the Surrey Sculpture Society.
Ramster Garden, Petworth Road, Chiddingfold, Surrey, GU8 4SN
Bluebells in bloom
The Woodland Trust has hundreds of bluebell woods across the UK. Here are some of their best.
All around the UK
Harrogate Spring Flower Show Confirmed going ahead
The Harrogate Flower Show is widely regarded as the UK's biggest and most prestigious independent gardening event.
Great Yorkshire Showground, North Yorkshire, HG2 8NZ
The Society of Botanical Artists Annual Open Exhibition Virtual event
An online exhibition of selected botanic paintings.
Westminster Central Hall, London
Three Counties Showground: Royal Three Counties Show Now cancelled
Royal Three Counties Show @ Three Counties Showground
Food, drink, crafts, exhibits and entertainment, also includes International Orchid Show.
- Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire WR13 6NW
Royal Highland Centre: Royal Highland Show Virtual event
Royal Highland Show @ Royal Highland Centre
Annual Scottish agricultural show. Exhibiting country pursuits, lifestyle, machinery and equipment.
- Ingliston, Edinburgh EH28 8NB
RHS Garden Hyde Hall: Spring & Orchid Show Rescheduled date
Spring & Orchid Show @ RHS Garden Hyde Hall
One of the earliest shows in the gardening calendar, showcasing spring flowering plants and orchids from around the world. This exhibition used to be at the RHS halls in London, 2021 sees the show move to RHS Garden Hyde Hall for the first time.
- Creephedge Lane, Rettendon Common, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 8ET
RHS Garden Harlow Carr: RHS Garden Harlow Carr Summer Garden Show Confirmed going ahead
RHS Garden Harlow Carr Summer Garden Show @ RHS Garden Harlow Carr
Specialist local nurseries will be in attendance selling a wide range of plants.
- RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Crag Lane, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG3 1QB
RHS Garden Harlow Carr: RHS Garden Harlow Carr Flower Show Confirmed going ahead
RHS Garden Harlow Carr Flower Show @ RHS Garden Harlow Carr
Harlow Carr's flower show is a three day event hosting specialist nurseries and trade stands with stunning displays, food stalls and family entertainment.
- RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Crag Lane, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG3 1QB
Devon County Show Confirmed going ahead
A traditional country show, celebrating all things Devon.
Devon County Show, Westpoint, Clyst St Mary, Exeter, Devon, EX5 1DJ
Hampton Court Palace: RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival Confirmed going ahead
RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival @ Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is the largest annual flower show in the World. Hampton Court has 34 acres of parkland so the flower show is able to spread out more than Chelsea. Unlike Chelsea where you can only purchase plants on the last day sell-off, at Hampton Court you can purchase plants and garden sundries on all days. In the last couple of hours in the afternoon of the last show day, a lot of the plants that have been in the display gardens are sold off at a reduced prices, so you may get a bargin. However, this also means that in late afternoon it's a bit frenetic and difficult to see the displays at their finest. 30 minutes by train from London Waterloo.
Norfolk Showground: The Norfolk Garden Show Confirmed going ahead
The Norfolk Garden Show @ Norfolk Showground
A new for 2021 three day gardening event at the Norfolk Showground. The event will showcase the very best plantsmen, gardening exhibitors, traditional gardens and unique garden furniture, home products with a food & drink court and crafts & gifts pavilion.
- Norfolk Showground, Dereham Road, Norwich NR5 0TT
Tatton Park: RHS Flower Show Tatton Park Confirmed going ahead
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park @ Tatton Park
- Knutsford, Cheshire
Knightshayes Court: Mid Devon Show Confirmed going ahead
Mid Devon Show @ Knightshayes Court
A county show with a mix of horticulture, agriculture, entertainment, shopping, music and farm life.
Newbury Garden Show Rescheduled date
Celebrating the very best of gardening, home and lifestyle.
Newbury Showground, Priors Court, Hermitage, Thatcham, RG18 9QZ
North Devon Show Confirmed going ahead
A traditional one day agricultural show celebrating rural Devon life.
Umberleigh Barton Farm, Umberleigh, Devon, EX37 9DX
RHS Garden Hyde Hall: RHS Garden Hyde Hall Flower Show
RHS Garden Hyde Hall Flower Show @ RHS Garden Hyde Hall
A five day flower show set in the grounds of RHS Garden Hyde Hall.
- Creephedge Lane, Rettendon Common, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 8ET
Taunton Flower Show Confirmed going ahead
Organisers of Taunton Flower Show decided to move the flower show to August, due to the uncertainties caused by the corona virus.
The show's directors announced that they have decided to focus their efforts on making next year's event the biggest celebratory garden party the town has seen for years.
Vivary Park, Taunton, Somerset
Jekka's Herbetum: Jekka's Herbetum Open Day Confirmed going ahead
Jekka's Herbetum Open Day @ Jekka's Herbetum
- Jekka's, Shellards Lane, Alveston, Gloucestershire
Great Comp Garden: The Great Comp Summer Show Confirmed going ahead
The Great Comp Summer Show @ Great Comp Garden
A popular gardening event featuring specialist nurseries, gardening suppliers and a local jazz ensemble playing whilst you browse.
- Garden Comp Lane, Platt, Nr. Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 8QS
RHS Garden Rosemoor: RHS Rosemoor Flower Show
RHS Rosemoor Flower Show @ RHS Garden Rosemoor
2017 was RHS Rosemoor's first ever flower show, now in it's forth year it's back bigger and better with large floral displays, trade stands, garden advice and live music.
- Nr. Great Torrington, Devon
Mid-Somerset Show/Shepton Show Confirmed going ahead
The one day agricultural show is a great family day out. Craft stalls, livestock displays, dog shows and cheese tasting.
Shepton Mallet Showground, Cannard's Grave Road, Somerset
Southport Flower Show Now cancelled
Unfortunately the show has had to be cancelled for the second year in a row. The UK's largest independent flower show with over 300 exhibitors and 50,000 visitors in 4 days.
Victoria Park, Southport, PR8 2BZ
The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival Confirmed going ahead
Over 250 trade stalls showing and selling garlic and other local produce.
Fighting Cocks Crossroads, Bathingbourne Lane, Sandown, Isle of Wight, PO36 0LU
The NEC: BBC Gardeners' World Live Rescheduled date
BBC Gardeners' World Live @ The NEC
Show gardens, gardening advice, demonstrations and the chance to buy plants! Run in conjunction with BBC Good Food Show Summer.
- North Avenue, Marston Green, Birmingham, West Midlands B40 1NT
The Royal Bath and West Agricultural Show Rescheduled date
A festival of agriculture entertainment and food & drink. The Royal Bath and West show is one of the oldest agricultural shows in England. Taking place over 4 days.
The Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
Edenbridge & Oxted Agricultural Show
A traditional county show.
Lingfield, Surrey, RH7 6LL
The Newark Garden Show Rescheduled date
The Newark Garden Show is a three day event, celebrating the best of gardening and the great outdoors.
Newark Showground, Lincoln Rd, Coddington, Nottinghamshire, NG24 2NY
Chatsworth Country Fair Confirmed going ahead
Held in Chatsworth Park the Chatsworth Country Fair is one of the most spectacular annual outdoor events.
Chatsworth House, Chatsworth, Derbyshire, DE45 1PP
Moreton-in-March Show Confirmed going ahead
One of the largest one day agricultural shows in the country.
Moreton-in-Marsh Showground, Batsford Road, Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 0AB, Gloucestershire
RHS Garden Wisley: RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show
RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show @ RHS Garden Wisley
Six day flower show featuring nurseries and garden trade suppliers. Including the National Dahlia Society Show, NAFAS floral displays and the Surrey Sculpture Society Trail.
- Woking, Surrey GU23 6QB
Exhibition: The Leaves of the Tree
The Winchester Cathedral Flower Festival returns this year where is will be transformed by spectacular floral flower displays.
Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire, SO23 9LS
RHS Chelsea Flower Show Rescheduled date
Perhaps the most famous and prestigious flower show in the world. It has been held for over 100 years, starting in 1862 and was originally known as the Great Spring Show. It was held at the RHS garden in Kensington, moving to the Royal Hospital Chelsea grounds in 1913, when it was a three day show. The whole event including the 12,000 sq m Great Pavillion and all of the show gardens are put together in just three weeks (19 days) and dismantled in the 5 days after the show.
Royal Hospital Chelsea, Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4SR
Loseley Park: Loseley Spring Garden Show Rescheduled date
Loseley Spring Garden Show @ Loseley Park
A number of nurseries exhibiting and selling their products in the walled garden.
- Guildford GU3 1HS
Grand Designs Live - Excel Rescheduled date
Home and garden show based on the Channel 4 TV series of the same name, hosted by Kevin McCloud.
Robin Hood Country Show
Postponed due to Brentwood Centre being used as a vaccination centre.
Brentwood Centre, Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood, Essex, CM15 9NN
Alresford Watercress Festival Rescheduled date
The May 2020 festival was initially moved to September, unfortunately this has now been cancelled. The 2021 festival has now been moved to a virtual watercress festival. A celebration to mark the start of the watercress season.
Alresford, Hampshire, Hampshire
All event details have been entered as accurately as possible, but please check with the event organisers before travelling to avoid disappointment.
The UKGardening web site has been running since 1998. The idea behind the site has always been to provide what we think will be interesting and useful information for the novice gardener.
Jobs to do in the garden this week.
- Continually nip out side shoots from upright (cordon) tomato plants. These reduce the amount of food available to fruit baring branches. If growing plants in the greenhouse, nip out the growing tip after the plant has produced 4-5 fruiting trusses, reduce this to 3-4 if growing tomatoes outside. See here, for more information: https://youtu.be/zFBgCBaFSnk
- Cover strawberries and fruit bushes with netting to protect them from birds. Start to feed the plants weekly when the fruit starts to form.
- Prune spring-flowering shrubs, including ceanothus and forsythia, after they have bloomed. Give topiary a light trim after a spurt in spring growth.
- Buy plants in strips or trays that are compact and sturdy, the compost that they are growing in should be moist. Try to buy plants in bud, with few open blooms.
- Dead head azaleas and rhododendrons.
- Introduce fish into a new pond.
- If your daffodils, in the past, have been attacked by the narcissus bulb fly (Merodon equestris - the larvae will eat the centre of the bulb), firm down the soil around the bulbs or use fleece or similar to cover daffodil bulbs to stop female flies from laying eggs, preventing their larvae causing damage. Derris powder was traditionally used as a treatment, but it is no longer available (Derris powder contains high levels of the rotenone, which is a strong insecticide, toxic to fish, it has also been linked to Parkinson's disease. All derris based products have been withdrawn from sale in the UK from October 2009) and chemical alternatives aren't available.
- Once forced bulbs have finished flowering, plant them out into the garden.
- Remove any wayward growing raspberry shoots. They will just crowd the fruiting canes.
- Stake and tie perennials to prevent them being broken by wind and rain. Remove fading delphinium flowers to encourage a second flowering.
- Paint shading on the greenhouse glass, or use shading to lessen the scorching effect of the sun and to keep temperatures lower.
- Check the ties on climbers, flower stems and standard roses - the tops of plants can get very heavy when in full bloom or when wet.
- Pinch out the growing tips of annuals and some perennials to create a stockier plant and to encourage more flowers More information here.
- Sow hardy annuals in their flowering positions to fill any gaps in the border.
- Check gooseberries for sawfly. Prune this year's growth back to 4-5 leaves (this shouldn't affect fruit as they appear on old wood).
- Pots, planters and hanging baskets can be planted up now, although keep them covered at night until all chance of frost has passed. See the hanging basket project for further information.
- Some perennials appreciate a late May prune, known as the Chelsea Chop (as it's done around the same time as the famous flower show) encouraging stronger and stockier plants often with an extended flowering period. Cut stems back by a third or a half. Plants that benefit include penstemon, hardy chrysanthemums, tall sedums, helenium and echinacea.
- Earth up the first early potatoes that were planted in March, to stop the tubers being exposed to light, turning green.
- Cut runners from strawberries (unless trying to propagate more plants). Runners will divert energy away from crop production.
- Remove spring bedding plants and lift and store spring flowering bulbs (with the exception of snowdrops).
- Prune helichrysum and artemisias shrubs to encourage bushy plants.
- Clean the leaves of smooth leaved house plants. Wipe large leaves such as those found on rubber plants, swiss cheese plants and umberella plants, with a damp cloth. Smaller leaved plants can be dipped in a bowl of clean water. Do not attempt to wash the leaves of 'hairy' leaved plants such as African violets, use a soft brush such as a paint brush or a used toothbrush.
- Support herbaceous border plants with canes, where they will be needed in late summer. It's easier to do this now while the plants are still small, this also reduces the risk of damaging the roots later in the season.
- Prune plum trees, paint fresh cuts with Arborex to prevent infection.
- May is an ideal time to create ponds / pools. Click here to see the pond project page.
- Spray roses with 'Rose Clear' to kill aphids and protect from blackspot.
- Trim hedges to encourage the branches to thicken up and to keep them neat and tidy.
- Take soft wood cuttings from thyme. Thyme cuttings take easily, so they can be stuck in the soil or in pots. Remember that thyme likes full sun and hates to be grown in the shade.
- Plant out greenhouse grown runner beans or sow them at the base of wigwams 5cm (2in) deep. Keep well watered.
- Fuchias flower from the ends of their branches, nipping out the growing tip will encourage more shoots, creating a bushier plant with more flowers.
- Replant dahlia tubers that have been lifted and stored for the winter. Put a stake in now to save damaging the plant and roots once it has started growing.
- Propagate marginal pond plants. Take short cuttings, remove lower leaves and push stems into pots of mud. Keep top of the pots just under the surface of the water.
- Lots of tender plants can be grown outside in containers between May and September as long as the pot is big enough and they get enough water and the occasional feed.
- If becoming boisterous, prune spring-flowering clematis including alpina and macropetala after flowering. Use cuttings to propagate new plants.
- The adult vine weevil, the number one garden pest, will be emerging from the soil as the temperatures rise.
- Control weeds in lawns with a selective weedkiller. Don't cut the grass for at least a week after applying. Don't put these grass cuttings on the compost heap.
- Protect plants from slugs and snails with slug pellets, course grit or traps. Alternatively try to encourage birds, hedgehogs and frogs to your garden - all prey on slugs and snails. More suggestions to reduce slug and snail damage.
- Regularly water trees and shrubs that were planted last autumn and winter. Their roots won't have had a chance to fully develop yet.
- Thin out seedlings, leaving the strongest growing plants. Water the soil gently beforehand to reduce soil disturbance.
- Cut grass weekly, long grass takes more nutrients out of the soil. It is also harder to cut and may leave yellow patches in the lawn.
- Apply a weed and feed to established lawns. Water in with a hose after a few days if it hasn't rained.
- As daffodils fade, remove the flower heads. Don't cut back the leaves - leave them to die back naturally. However if you want to tidy them up, wait until the leaves have yellowed before removing.
- Feed established roses, fortnightly, with a rose fertilizer, dead-head regularly and check for aphids and black spot.
- Plant maincrop potatoes in prepared ground or potato growbags.
- Now is the best time to plant lavender. Widely grown for its scent and foliage, lavender is ideal for borders or a low hedge. Available in shades of purple, blue, white and pink it is a magnet for bees and butterflies
- Lift, divide and replant chives.
- Remove the dead heads of spring flowering bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, before they have a chance to produce seed. This will encourage the plant to store energy in the bulb rather than wasting it on seed production.
- Postion plant supports where they will be needed in late summer. Doing this now reduces the risk of damaging the roots later in the season.
- If your lawn is more moss than grass, then treat with a lawn moss killer. Bare in mind that the moss will turn black within a couple of days, so don't be too alarmed. A couple of weeks after application, if you are left with bare patches in your lawn, mix equal quantities of grass seed and seived compost and scatter over the patches, cover areas with fine netting or twigs gently pushed into the soil, to protect from birds and animals. Combination lawn feed and moss killer is available, but feeding your lawn when it's not necessary will encourage it to grow quicker and therefore need to be cut more regularly.
- Sow vegetable seeds (courgette, marrow, runner and French beans) in the vegetable patch and salad seeds (lettuce, spring onion and radish) little and often to provide a staggered harvest through the summer.
- As summer-flowering herbaceous perennials start to come back to life, lift and divide overgrown plants.
- Scatter growmore granules under fruit trees and bushes, especially apple, pear and plum trees. If it doesn't rain for a couple of days, water the granules in with a hose or watering can. Growmore is a slow release, general fertiliser, it includes the three main plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphates and potassium).
- Begin regular cutting of your lawn. If the grass is long increase the height adjustment of the mower to the highest setting. Once this first cut has been done, lower the blades/deck and go back over the lawn.
- Your pond may have started to turn green and cloudy. This is due to a rapid increase in algae, which flourish in the warmer spring temperatures. Once the pond plants start to grow again, especially the oxygenating plants, these will use up the nutrients and create shade, reducing the amount of algae. To speed up the clearing of the water, drop a small string bag/pair of old tights stuffed with barley straw, into the pond. Weigh the straw down, so that it floats just below the surface of the water.
As the straw breaks down, it produces hydrogen peroxide, which reduces and inhibits the growth of algae and blanket weed. If the algae is particularly bad, barley straw extract can be bought in liquid form and added to the pond water (follow the instructions on the bottle, but as a guide before purchasing,125ml treats approximately 4,500 litres/1,000 gallons, but multiple, fortnightly treatments through the year may be necessary). If you have a fountain or waterfall, try to position the barley straw underneath this. Remove and replace the barley with new straw after about six months, before it completely rots down, polluting the water.
The small, pre-filled barley straw bags to add to your pond, cost about £2 each, but you can buy a 17 litre pack, which will last a few years for about £10 from your local pet shop or Amazon here: Supreme Petfoods Tiny Friends Farm Russell & Gerty Barley Straw, 17 Litres
- Weed and spread compost from the compost bin over the borders and vegetable patch. This adds valuable nutrients to the soil and acts as a mulch, to retain moisture and reduce weed growth. Ensure that the soil is moist before adding mulch.
- Transplant any self-set aquilegia, lupins and hollyhocks to new locations.
- As it's starting to warm up, it's a good time to lay a new lawn, although the best time is in Autumn or late winter, as it's damper and cooler, allowing the turf to bed in without you having to worry too much about regular watering. See here: laying a new lawn for further information.
- Remove algae and moss from patios and paths with a pressure washer or proprietary patio and path cleaner (traditionally a tar oil winter wash could have been used, but these are no longer available, particualrly to the amateur gardener, as they were found to be carcinogenic).
- UKGardening YouTube Channel
- YouTube: Propagating snowdrops (Galanthus) by bulb division
- Sowing seeds
- Chitting and growing potatoes
- Care of Hippeastrum/Amaryllis after flowering
- Cleaning patios, paths and decking
- Making leaf mould
- Creating a compost heap
- Removing large branches
- Updated photo gallery
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