Seeds to plant now:

Indoor or in a heated greenhouse





Ornamental Pepper






Aubretia, Rock cress, Aubrieta, Aubrietia

Basil, Sweet basil, Common basil

Beet, Beetroot, Chard

Beetroot, Garden beet

Borecole, Kale











French bean, fine bean


Italian beetroot, Beetroot, Garden beet

Kohl rabi





Normandy sorrel

Ornamental winter kale


Runner bean


Spinach, Summer spinach

Spring onion

Sweet corn

Sweet pea

Swiss chard, Ruby chard, Rhubard chard




Sweet corn

Shows and events:

Update 18/03/2020
Following the recent Government advice about public gatherings, a number of garden shows have been cancelled or scaled back.

Perhaps we can spend what we would have spent on show admission on a plant order and support a local or online plant nursery/grower/garden centre and have a private garden show in our own garden.
I'll try to keep this list up to date as the situation changes. Regards Nick.

29/05/2020 - 31/05/2020

Gardening Scotland  Now cancelled A 3-day national gardening and outdoor living show and Scotland's gardening festival. 400 exhibitors selling plants, tools, gardening equipment and furniture.
Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh
Gardening Scotland Gardening Scotland

10/06/2020 - 14/06/2020

Chatsworth: RHS Chatsworth Flower Show  Now cancelled RHS Chatsworth Flower Show @ Chatsworth
Information from show organisers: Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and current Government advice all RHS shows have been cancelled until at least 30th June, 2020. For further details please see the RHS website (
Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire, DE45 1PP
RHS Chatsworth Flower Show RHS Chatsworth Flower Show

18/06/2020 - 21/06/2020

The NEC: BBC Gardeners' World Live  Now cancelled BBC Gardeners' World Live @ The NEC
Information from show organisers: Cancelled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
North Avenue, Marston Green, Birmingham, West Midlands, B40 1NT
BBC Gardeners' World Live BBC Gardeners' World Live

25/06/2020 - 27/06/2020

Blenheim Palace Flower Show  Rescheduled date A wonderful three day show in the grounds of the beautiful Blenheim Palace.
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, OX20 1PP
Blenheim Palace Flower Show Blenheim Palace Flower Show

01/07/2020 - 02/07/2020

Norfolk Showground: Royal Norfolk Show  Now cancelled Royal Norfolk Show @ Norfolk Showground
Information from show organisers: Cancelled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Norfolk Showground, Dereham Road, Norwich, NR5 0TT
Royal Norfolk Show Royal Norfolk Show

22/07/2020 - 26/07/2020

Tatton Park: RHS Flower Show Tatton Park  Now cancelled RHS Flower Show Tatton Park @ Tatton Park

Knutsford, Cheshire,
RHS Flower Show Tatton Park RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

07/08/2020 - 08/08/2020

Taunton Flower Show  Now cancelled Taunton Flower Show.
Vivary Park, Taunton, Somerset
Taunton Flower Show Taunton Flower Show

15/08/2020 - 16/08/2020

Robin Hood Country Show Robin Hood Country Show.
Brentwood Centre, Doddinghurst Road, Brentwood, Essex, CM15 9NN
Robin Hood Country Show Robin Hood Country Show

10/09/2020 - 15/09/2020

Hampton Court Palace: RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival  Rescheduled date RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival @ Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is the largest annual flower show in the World. Hampton Court has 34 acres of parkland so the flower show is able to spread out more than Chelsea. Unlike Chelsea where you can only purchase plants on the last day sell-off, at Hampton Court you can purchase plants and garden sundries on all days. In the last couple of hours in the afternoon of the last show day, a lot of the plants that have been in the display gardens are sold off at a reduced prices, so you may get a bargin. However, this also means that in late afternoon it's a bit frenetic and difficult to see the displays at their finest. 30 minutes by train from London Waterloo.
RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

11/09/2020 - 13/09/2020

The National Flower Show  Rescheduled date A three day event in Hylands House and surrounding gardens, celebrating the best in gardening.
Hylands House, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 8WQ
The National Flower Show The National Flower Show

20/09/2020 - 20/09/2020

Alresford Watercress Festival  Rescheduled date A celebration to mark the start of the watercress season.
Alresford, Hampshire, Hampshire
Alresford Watercress Festival Alresford Watercress Festival

26/09/2020 - 27/09/2020

Malvern Autumn Show A show for food and garden lovers. The event hosts a range of seasonal food, cookery demonstrations, gardening talks, plant sales, vegetable displays, vintage tractors, art & craft stalls and more. As the show is quite late in the year, the focus is on food crops and late flowering plants.
Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR13 6NW
Malvern Autumn Show Malvern Autumn Show

17/10/2020 - 18/10/2020

The National Country Show Live  Rescheduled date The National Country Show Live.
Hylands Park, London Road, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 8FS
The National Country Show Live The National Country Show Live

05/06/2021 - 05/06/2021

The Royal Bath and West Agricultural Show A festival of agriculture entertainment and food & drink. The Royal Bath and West show is one of the oldest agricultural shows in England. Taking place over 4 days.
The Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
The Royal Bath and West Agricultural Show The Royal Bath and West Agricultural Show

All event details have been entered as accurately as possible, but please check with the event organisers before travelling to avoid disappointment.

Welcome to the UKGardening Internet site.

The UKGardening web site has been running since 1998. The idea behind the site has always been to provide what we think will be interesting and useful information for the novice gardener.

Jobs to do in the garden this week.

  • Harden off summer bedding plants by bringing them out of the greenhouse during the day but returning them under glass at night. A May frost is not uncommon in the UK.
  • When the leaves of cyclamen have fallen, stop watering and allow the bulbs to dry out.
  • Continually nip out side shoots from upright (cordon) tomato plants. These reduce the amount of food available to fruit baring branches. If growing plants in the greenhouse, nip out the growing tip after the plant has produced 4-5 fruiting trusses, reduce this to 3-4 if growing tomatoes outside. See here, for more information:
  • Cover strawberries and fruit bushes with netting to protect them from birds. Start to feed the plants weekly when the fruit starts to form.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs, including ceanothus and forsythia, after they have bloomed. Give topiary a light trim after a spurt in spring growth.
  • Buy plants in strips or trays that are compact and sturdy, the compost that they are growing in should be moist. Try to buy plants in bud, with few open blooms.
  • Dead head azaleas and rhododendrons.
  • Introduce fish into a new pond.
  • If your daffodils, in the past, have been attacked by the narcissus bulb fly (Merodon equestris - the larvae will eat the centre of the bulb), firm down the soil around the bulbs or use fleece or similar to cover daffodil bulbs to stop female flies from laying eggs, preventing their larvae causing damage. Derris powder was traditionally used as a treatment, but it is no longer available (Derris powder contains high levels of the rotenone, which is a strong insecticide, toxic to fish, it has also been linked to Parkinson's disease. All derris based products have been withdrawn from sale in the UK from October 2009) and chemical alternatives aren't available.
  • Once forced bulbs have finished flowering, plant them out into the garden.
  • Remove any wayward growing raspberry shoots. They will just crowd the fruiting canes.
  • Stake and tie perennials to prevent them being broken by wind and rain. Remove fading delphinium flowers to encourage a second flowering.
  • Paint shading on the greenhouse glass, or use shading to lessen the scorching effect of the sun and to keep temperatures lower.
  • Check the ties on climbers, flower stems and standard roses - the tops of plants can get very heavy when in full bloom or when wet.
  • Pinch out the growing tips of annuals and some perennials to create a stockier plant and to encourage more flowers More information here.
  • Sow hardy annuals in their flowering positions to fill any gaps in the border.
  • Check gooseberries for sawfly. Prune this year's growth back to 4-5 leaves (this shouldn't affect fruit as they appear on old wood).
  • Pots, planters and hanging baskets can be planted up now, although keep them covered at night until all chance of frost has passed. See the hanging basket project for further information.
  • Some perennials appreciate a late May prune, known as the Chelsea Chop (as it's done around the same time as the famous flower show) encouraging stronger and stockier plants often with an extended flowering period. Cut stems back by a third or a half. Plants that benefit include penstemon, hardy chrysanthemums, tall sedums, helenium and echinacea.
  • Earth up the first early potatoes that were planted in March, to stop the tubers being exposed to light, turning green.
  • Cut runners from strawberries (unless trying to propagate more plants). Runners will divert energy away from crop production.
  • Remove spring bedding plants and lift and store spring flowering bulbs (with the exception of snowdrops).
  • Prune helichrysum and artemisias shrubs to encourage bushy plants.
  • Support herbaceous border plants with canes, where they will be needed in late summer. It's easier to do this now while the plants are still small, this also reduces the risk of damaging the roots later in the season.
  • Prune plum trees, paint fresh cuts with Arborex to prevent infection.
  • May is an ideal time to create ponds / pools. Click here to see the pond project page.
  • Spray roses with 'Rose Clear' to kill aphids and protect from blackspot.
  • Trim hedges to encourage the branches to thicken up and to keep them neat and tidy.
  • Take soft wood cuttings from thyme. Thyme cuttings take easily, so they can be stuck in the soil or in pots. Remember that thyme likes full sun and hates to be grown in the shade.
  • Plant out greenhouse grown runner beans or sow them at the base of wigwams 5cm (2in) deep. Keep well watered.
  • Fuchias flower from the ends of their branches, nipping out the growing tip will encourage more shoots, creating a bushier plant with more flowers.
  • Replant dahlia tubers that have been lifted and stored for the winter. Put a stake in now to save damaging the plant and roots once it has started growing.
  • Propagate marginal pond plants. Take short cuttings, remove lower leaves and push stems into pots of mud. Keep top of the pots just under the surface of the water.
  • Lots of tender plants can be grown outside in containers between May and September as long as the pot is big enough and they get enough water and the occasional feed.
  • If becoming boisterous, prune spring-flowering clematis including alpina and macropetala after flowering. Use cuttings to propagate new plants.
  • The adult vine weevil, the number one garden pest, will be emerging from the soil as the temperatures rise.
  • Control weeds in lawns with a selective weedkiller. Don't cut the grass for at least a week after applying. Don't put these grass cuttings on the compost heap.
  • Protect plants from slugs and snails with slug pellets, course grit or traps. Alternatively try to encourage birds, hedgehogs and frogs to your garden - all prey on slugs and snails. More suggestions to reduce slug and snail damage.
  • Regularly water trees and shrubs that were planted last autumn and winter. Their roots won't have had a chance to fully develop yet.
  • Thin out seedlings, leaving the strongest growing plants. Water the soil gently beforehand to reduce soil disturbance.
  • Cut grass weekly, long grass takes more nutrients out of the soil. It is also harder to cut and may leave yellow patches in the lawn.
  • Apply a weed and feed to established lawns. Water in with a hose after a few days if it hasn't rained.
  • Feed established roses, fortnightly, with a rose fertilizer, dead-head regularly and check for aphids and black spot.
  • Lift, divide and replant chives.
  • Remove the dead heads of spring flowering bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, before they have a chance to produce seed. This will encourage the plant to store energy in the bulb rather than wasting it on seed production.
  • If your lawn is more moss than grass, then treat with a lawn moss killer. Bare in mind that the moss will turn black within a couple of days, so don't be too alarmed. A couple of weeks after application, if you are left with bare patches in your lawn, mix equal quantities of grass seed and seived compost and scatter over the patches, cover areas with fine netting or twigs gently pushed into the soil, to protect from birds and animals. Combination lawn feed and moss killer is available, but feeding your lawn when it's not necessary will encourage it to grow quicker and therefore need to be cut more regularly.
  • Transplant any self-set aquilegia, lupins and hollyhocks to new locations.
  • Sow vegetable seeds (courgette, marrow, runner and French beans) in the vegetable patch and salad seeds (lettuce, spring onion and radish) little and often to provide a staggered harvest through the summer.
  • Scatter growmore granules under fruit trees and bushes, especially apple, pear and plum trees. If it doesn't rain for a couple of days, water the granules in with a hose or watering can. Growmore is a slow release, general fertiliser, it includes the three main plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphates and potassium).
  • Your pond may have started to turn green and cloudy. This is due to a rapid increase in algae, which flourish in the warmer spring temperatures. Once the pond plants start to grow again, especially the oxygenating plants, these will use up the nutrients and create shade, reducing the amount of algae. To speed up the clearing of the water, drop a small string bag/pair of old tights stuffed with barley straw, into the pond. Weigh the straw down, so that it floats just below the surface of the water.

    As the straw breaks down, it produces hydrogen peroxide, which reduces and inhibits the growth of algae and blanket weed. If the algae is particularly bad, barley straw extract can be bought in liquid form and added to the pond water (follow the instructions on the bottle, but as a guide before purchasing,125ml treats approximately 4,500 litres/1,000 gallons, but multiple, fortnightly treatments through the year may be necessary). If you have a fountain or waterfall, try to position the barley straw underneath this. Remove and replace the barley with new straw after about six months, before it completely rots down, polluting the water.

    The small, pre-filled barley straw bags to add to your pond, cost about £2 each, but you can buy a 17 litre pack, which will last a few years for less than a fiver from your local pet shop or Amazon here: Supreme Petfoods Tiny Friends Farm Russell & Gerty Barley Straw, 17 Litres Blagdon Extract of Barley Straw - 250ml

  • Weed and spread compost from the compost bin over the borders and vegtable patch. This adds valuable nutrients to the soil and acts as a mulch, to retain moisture and reduce weed growth. Ensure that the soil is moist before adding mulch.
  • As it's starting to warm up, it's a good time to lay a new lawn, althought the best time is in Autumn or late winter, as it's damper and cooler, allowing the turf to bed in without you having to worry too much about regular watering. See here: laying a new lawn for further information.
  • Remove algae and moss from patios and paths with a proprietary patio and path cleaner or tar-oil winter wash.