May can be a cruel month in the garden with cold nights, followed by warm days: sun followed by thunderstorms. We are avoiding the cold nights at the moment, under a stream of low pressure systems again. But when the sun appears it is remarkably warm and the ground is wet, and wetter after heavy showers, and things are growing well. I have just come in from scattering some slug pellets around – they need repeating more often than a Carry On film on a bank holiday. Slugs and snails are a real pain this year and, having optimistically planted out some courgettes, am losing the battle to keep them alive. Despite the slug pellets, the five are now three, but I have more sown as replacements.
But the hostas are looking fresh and lovely, and I will avert my eyes from those that have the worst slug damage. A snail has hauled itself up the styrax tree and is nibbling leaves 2m up. That is just not on!
The Salix magnifica is looking fine with its long catkins (it is a male after all) and rich ruby new foliage. It got caught by the frost a few weeks ago and these leaves are blackened but this is becoming less obvious as the new leaves take over. The poor Vitis coignetiae is the worst affected by that frost and it was looking great till then. Now it is just one new shoot, but it is a strong plant so should be OK – It was only planted last year.
Cerinthe major, aptly named honeywort, is also doing well. All my plants were originally from ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ which had red and cream flowers but, either by accident or design, I have selected and saved seeds that are producing dark flowers and very purple bracts. These plants were sown direct in autumn where they were to grow – the best way to grow them really – and they are doing well though, unusually, the bumblebees are not that interested. But then they are busy on the Lonicera nitida flowers and pulmonarias which is buzzing with them.
There’s huge growth at the moment from the rain and the heat.
All looking very good. I’m having the same slug/snail problem with a few newly planted pea plants in spite of daily sprinkles of slug bait- gone next day but a few more leaves gone too! Planted out my sweet peas at the same time some just feet away but thankfully no damage . . .so far!
I have lost half my sweet peas to the slugs – really annoyed as I cut down on the numbers. Ironically, somehow a runner bean has appeared in the row – not sure how – and they have left that alone completely. If I had planted it it would have been destroyed! My peas are struggling too but perhaps they will grow away now we have some sun and warmth.