Ne’er cast a clout … don’t be hasty with planting out

It’s the time of year when you may be keen to put in your bedding plants out as quickly as possible, to get some welcome summer colour into the borders, but don’t be too hasty just yet.

There’s still a risk of overnight frost in the early weeks of May, so we always wait until the second half of the month – when the major risk has passed – to plant out our tender summer plants. Those extra few days indoors, as well as putting them outside for a few hours during the day to start hardening off, will ensure the plants are stronger when they can eventually be moved outdoors.

For us, these will include replanting the cacti and succulents display, adding the flowers for the ‘totally tropical’ beds and the dahlia border, all of which will be on display on the Terrace. In the grass garden, the team will be adding hedychium, salvia and cannas to the borders, while thousands of summer bedding plants will be planted around the bandstand, on the car park and on the Terrace.

If you head to our glass houses, you’ll see the gardeners refreshing the Mediterranean House floral display, adding dozens of specimens such as begonia, canna and heliotrope.

One major job begins in earnest this month: maintaining the lawns. That means the lawnmowers will be out and about, keeping the grass looking smart.

May is a big month for butterfly lovers, too, as we prepare to open the Butterfly House on May 23. This wonderful feature contains hundreds of beautifully colourful butterflies from all over the world, as well as gorgeous plants such as pentas, lantana, buddleia and bougainvillaea. It’s a great summer attraction; do make time for it next time you come to visit.

The Gardens is a superb venue for an array of different events and this month, we’re hosting the South Staffs Bonsai Show on May 15 (did you know we have the national bonsai collection here?) and on May 27, we’ll be welcoming This Is My Theatre, our first outdoor theatre company of the year, which is staging Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the family classic.

Want to learn a little more about the Gardens? Our next guided tour is on May 26, when the theme will be the Wilson Border – it’s a great chance to learn all about Ernest “Chinese” Wilson, who worked at the Gardens in the 1890s and introduced a number of plants here. Tours are free and start at 1pm.

Whatever your reason for a visit here, you are always welcome. We also love to see your photos, so don’t forget to tag us or post to our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. Hope to see you all soon.