The May Garden 2024

Water is an important part of any garden, as a life-giving source for plants, humans and animals, water can also be used for aesthetic appeal, to create calm spaces that reduce anxiety and reflexive surfaces which can produce feelings of rest and relaxation. Add in a pump (electric or solar, and water can and a sense of movement and sound to the garden. Garden ponds can add an additional element to your garden, giving home to new plants, insects, and other animals.

Over the past few decades, the size of new-build houses has been shrinking, and naturally their gardens have been shrinking in size too.  But all is not lost.  It is perfectly possible to have a water feature in the tiniest of patches, providing an attractive feature that also supports wildlife.   The Royal Horticultural Society website states that around 70% of ponds have disappeared from the countryside over the last century, making the provision of water in our gardens, however small, vital.   The RHS also shares a wealth of information on how to construct and plant your pond to attract wildlife

I constructed a small pond in my garden last year – having a tree stump removed left a hole that was too good an opportunity to miss. I used a flexible liner and after stocking with a few pond plants, at different levels, and making sure that rocks were placed to allow animals to escape if necessary, it has provided endless fascination for me. Within days pond skaters and water.

boatmen had found their way to it, and there is now a resident frog.    I decided not to stock it with fish as they would eat all the invertebrates and their waste causes the build-up of nutrients which invites algae and blanket weed to grow.  My pond is not much more than 1m x .5m, a size that is easily transferrable to even a courtyard garden.

Ponds can be even smaller and still be successful. Half barrels, old Belfast sinks and even bin lids can be adapted to hold water and attract wildlife. A sunken shallow bowl in a border can be filled with a mix of soil and water to become a bog garden (safe if small children may be near). Children are fascinated by water. Why not use an old washing up bowl as a project with them? Pop it on the patio and fill with stones (to make it safe for them) and a couple of little pond plants.

Birds will perch on the stones to drink and Dragonflies and Damselflies will enjoy landing on the plants. If you can position a little wooden ramp to it, perhaps a hedgehog may find its way to it for a drink. Keep it topped up daily, preferably using rainwater.

Site ponds in a sunny spot, for at least some of the day, and always make sure animals can escape should they fall in. Scoop out autumn leaves to help keep the water fresh.

Jobs in the Garden for may

• Tender vegetables such as beans and courgettes can be planted outdoors from mid may.
• Plant out bedding plants into containers and borders.
• Sweet Peas planted earlier in spring will need tying in to their supports regularly.
• Open greenhouse windows and doors on warm days but close at night as temperatures can drop drastically at this time of year.
• Check for pests on plants as they can increase in numbers rapidly now.
• Continue to feed spring flowering bulbs as the foliage dies down.
• If strawberry plants are flowering, keep horticultural fleece handy to cover them on cold nights. Frost damaged flowers will ruin the chance of a decent crop.
• Lay lawn turf or sow seed this month. Damp soil and warmer temperatures help grass roots grow into the soil quickly.
• Sow salad crops such as cut and come again lettuce little and often for a succession of fresh leaves.

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.
Independently verified
0 reviews