Green Fingers and Thumbs

Horticulturalist offering gardening classes, creative workshops, floristry and garden consultancy.

May Jobs in the Garden

Hopefully May is when we can shut the door on any late frosts that affect tender plants and newly sown seeds. It is also a time when a lot is happening in the garden. Here are some quick 30 Minute Garden Jobs for May:

  • Sow Salad Crops: This can be into something as small as a window trough or as big as an allotment. They are quick to germinate and often come back after cutting. Things like radish and salad carrots can be harvested and new seeds re-sown for successional crops.

  • Sow Vegetable Seeds Direct: If you are lucky enough to have an allotment, raised bed or vegetable area in your garden; you can direct sow vegetable crops. This can be handy if you have no undercover space to start seeds earlier in the season. It also saves on extra work, time and materials and minimises any root disturbance.

  • Final Bedding Plants: Can be planted out into their final positions whether it be in containers and hanging baskets or direct into garden borders. They are good for filling the odd gap in your perennial planting and often offer early and long lasting colour for the whole season.

  • Plant Dahlia Tubers: After never being a fan, I have fallen in love with Dahlias and all they have to offer. They can be used in a mixed border, in containers, or grown like a crop in a cut flower garden. I think single blooms work best in a mixed border, but any sort can be grown for cutting. By deadheading the plants will keep flowering until the first frosts (which in 2021 was as late as November). They can be seen as a faff as you have to lift and store tubers over winter once the frost has killed off the top growth; and then replant in May. But for sheer volume of flowers and enjoyment I think the faff is worth it!

  • Stake Perennials: Getting your stake systems in early is the key for herbaceous perennials that tend to flop later in the season. It helps to support them as the vigorous green growth emerges and will disappear as plants become taller. It is very hard to try to support a plant in a natural way once it has collapsed either with long growth, rain or wind. You can use pre-formed metal stakes, bamboo canes/sticks and string or hazel and birch woven structures.

  • Hoe Weekly: Hoeing is a great way to get rid of any annual weeds before they have a chance to flower and set seed. It is easy on your back as you can do it from standing rather than bending. If done in dry sunny weather the seedings will dry up on the surface so you do not even need to clear them away. Done weekly it is a good way to keep in top of weeding before it becomes a bigger problem.

  • Chelsea Chop: Getting its name because it is generally done around Chelsea Flower Show week (in 2022 24th-28th May); it is when herbaceous perennials are reduced (cut) by one third of its growth. By removing the top growth it encourages a number of things:

  1. It keeps plants more compact so they are less likely to splay out later in the season

  1. It delays flowering so there are flowers later in the season

  1. It produces more, but smaller flowers

  1. You can use it to stagger flowering on the same plant to extend the flowering period


Stake Perennials

Chelsea Chop

Online Garden Sessions available as a recording:

My online beginner gardener sessions are recorded and available for £5.99. If you would like to view any of the sessions below please contact me for the recording:

  • Low Maintenance. High Impact. (1 hour)

  • Gardening for Wildlife (1 hour)

  • Garden Jobs for Autumn (1 hour)

  • Winter Fruit Pruning (1 hour)

  • Winter Plants for the Festive Season (1 hour)

  • Winter Jobs in the Garden (1 hour)

  • Preparation for the Gardening Year (1 hour)

  • Soil... is KEY! (1 hour)

  • Sustainability in Gardening/Plan your own Outdoor Escape (1 hour)

Green Fingers and Thumbs Gardening Community...

Last autumn I offered Spring Flowering Bulb Packs, here are some great pictures of the final results from you Green Fingered Gardeners out there...


"It was like going to see an Apple Genius Bar and coming away not only with your problem solved, but so many other new ideas as well!"

Lucy and Ed, on having an online consultation for a community garden and allotment project.

I really enjoyed your session last night. I am a longtime gardener but find your talks quite inspirational, my garden has improved so much by putting your ideas into practise and I feel far more positive about changing things to suit my needs rather than just maintaining it. Really looking forward to soil!

Jenny, Shropshire, on online gardening classes

"I didn't want a gardener to do my gardening for me but guidance and recommendations as to how I could manage my garden, to answer my questions and develop my gardening experience. I couldn't tell a weed from a seed. I didn't know when to cut, feed or leave. I has been amazing to have found the expert guidance and support Natalie's personal garden consultation provides.

Beth, Ripon, on a face-to-face garden consultation.

"As an absolute beginner, I have found these online gardening sessions so informative and enjoyable. The interactive sessions are led by a professional gardener whose passion is infectious. You are made to feel comfortable to ask any questions at any level to answer your queries. I throughly enjoy the sessions and look forward to the next one!!"

Anne- Marie, Shropshire, on online gardening classes.

"Natalie has been a huge inspiration in my horticultural career, firstly as a mentor during my gardening traineeship and whilst I worked for my qualifications, and then as a colleague. Always enthusiastic and passionate about her field of expertise she is also greatly supportive of those who want to learn and develop their skills, and imparts her vast knowledge at just the right level for whoever she is working with.'

Clare, York, on training and online gardening classes

"I really enjoyed Natalie's online sessions, they were really informative, helpful and fun without being overwhelming. Lots of top tips."

Zoe, Edinburgh, on online gardening classes.

"Natalie's sessions are fun and informative, and there is always a chance to ask questions. She's also brilliant at getting back to you with more information if you need it. I'm a relative beginner but I think more experienced gardeners would love this too."

Chrissie, Portsmouth, on online gardening classes.

"Natalie has given me superb advice to help spruce up my family garden. Her knowledge of suitable plants, plant positioning and care have been invaluable. She is a fountain of knowledge whois extremely enthusiastic about her craft. I loved watching her develop design ideas and see it all come to life. She makes the whole experience inclusive and enjoyable from start to finish."

Caroline, Royal Tunbridge Wells, on face-to-face garden consultation.

"As a noviceI find Natalie's bite-size classes really helpful. The different topics mean that I can find out about particular areas of gardening without being overwhelmed. She is expert in what she does and has a great way of explaining things in a practical way, with just the right measure of technical. Her approach is so helpful, it has really helped me become more confident in gardening and enjoy it.

Helen, Melmerby, on online gardening classes and face-to-face garden consultation.