Fill your garden with colour
Many half hardy annuals can be sown outside in May. If you choose the right varieties and give them the right conditions, they will flower from midsummer onwards. If you do not have a greenhouse to propagate seeds or seedlings, think about planting straight outside.
What to choose
Cosmos are a favourite and will grow tall and strong, looking spectacular in late summer. Zinnias thrive when sown in May and are ideal for cutting. Shorter flowers include variegated nasturtiums such as Alaska and French marigolds Bonanza, Disco and Naughty Marietta. Many varieties will flower in as little as 12 weeks.
Choose varieties that germinate quickly in low temperatures, will grow vigorously and provide an early display. So rule out Begonias, petunias and geraniums. You want packet varieties with plenty of seeds, as many will not emerge.
How to sow
Choose sunny and sheltered spots in fertile well drained soil. Rake before planting, draw drills with a stick not forgetting to soak each drill before planting. Cover the seeds with soils. As they emerge, thin them without disturbing those you want to keep. The seed packet will guide you in this respect.
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As bulbs fade and herbaceous borders grow in leaps and bounds, it is now clear that summer is approaching. Sowing and planting out bedding can begin, depending on regional weather variations, and you can take softwood cuttings. It's also time to get back into the lawn mowing regime, as the lawn will be loving the warmer temperatures this month brings.
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