Garden Plants and Tasks for the Month of May


Many plants will begin to flower over the next month or so, flowering along with them is this VIP (very important plant).

Ribes sanguineum

Consider planting Ribes sanguineum commonly known as the "Red Flowering Currant".
This large deciduous shrub can have ultimate height of 3 metres (9ft), with a spread of approx 3 metres (9ft). A native to the United States, it is frost hardy and right now is laden down with pendulous reddish pink flowers. These flowers which resemble miniature bunches of grapes are held amongst light green leaves from mid to late spring. The foliage is similar to that of the blackcurrant plant due to the lobes on each leaf. The foliage produces reasonable displays of both red and orange autumn colours before leaf fall. Both the flowers and leaves are aromatic, the leaves especially so when bruised or crushed.
The "Flowering Currant" is mostly used in the mixed border as a showy specimen plant although I have also used it in whip planting schemes to good effect. If you would like to cut some flowering stems to bring indoors, they will last approx 6 to 10 days.
To ensure quick growth plant in a position with full to partial sun and an adequate supply of water. I would highly recommend this shrub if you have a problem growing plants due to air pollution, as it is very resistant to exhaust fumes etc.
Three cultivars or varieties to look out for are "Pulborough Scarlet" (deep red flowers) and "King Edward VII" (vivid scarlet flowers) and "Brocklebankii" (pink flowers amongst golden leaves).

Good points

- Grows in most soil types, preferring moist and rich to thrive.
- A tough and low maintenance shrub.
- Can be cut back hard if required.
- Can be transplanted, good survival rates.
- Pollution resistant.
- Classed by some as a classic garden plant.
- Wildlife love its size (to hide within) and its many flowers.

Poor points

- Classed by some as old fashioned.
- Emits a heady resinous scent when brushed past, you better not have an aversion to the smell of blackcurrant.

Main pests and diseases

- Rust disease, in damp conditions and in areas of poor air circulation.
- American gooseberry mildew, a white powdery growth on the leaves encouraged by stagnant air and over feeding with nitrogen.
- Coral spot, orange lumps on stems and branches caused by a fungus entering by means of a broken stem or branch. It causes dieback and can kill the plant over a period of time.

Garden tasks for May

- Keep on top of the weeds. Weed your beds and borders, early weed removal will save you excessive weeding in months to come. Mulching with bark or gravel after weeding is recommended.
- Also, watch out for pest and diseases, as they increase as the weather warms up.
- Lightly trim spring flowering heathers, if not done already.
- Deadhead daffodils and allow their leaves to dieback naturally.
- Trim your Leylandii hedge, as well as other conifer hedges.
- Sow new lawn areas.
- Position stakes for tall border perennials.

View further information on this topic in the Irish gardeners forum >>>>

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