Welcome to Lee’s gardening advice for May written by local resident and keen gardener, Lee Stevenson (aka An English Gardener in Çalış).

May is the time of year that most flowers are in full bloom, or just about to burst open and reveal their colour. Don’t worry if you’ve yet to start your flower borders, pots or baskets as the markets and plant shops are full of different bedding plants and small shrubs that, with a little watering and care, will reward you with colourful displays.

On the subject of displays don’t forget the Fethiye Flower Show that promises to be bring a bit of colour to the current climate. For more information, please click on the link below.

Fethiye Flower Show- gardening competition

It’s not too late to start easy to grow edibles like tomatoes, lettuce, radish, carrots and others from seed, or you can buy most as small plants at the markets.

If you are planning on planting new plants or trees, make sure you water regularly in the evenings to avoid them drying out and to help them create a good root system.

You could also try planting ahead for harvests later in the year with edibles that need a while to grow like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower or swede. If you’re planning on buying seeds, it might be worth asking a friend to split the seeds with you as most packets I see in Fethiye contain enough seeds to fill a farmers field.

Easy ‘Pea’sy

If you haven’t had much luck with growing flowers so far, here is a list of those that are easy to grow:

How does your garden grow? Lee’s gardening advice - May the flowers be with you
Pretty sweet pea flowers. Photo by artmydesign.com
  • Sweet peas 
  • Zinnias 
  • Marigolds 
  • Pansies 
  • Impatien, 
  • Begonias 
  • Snapdragons 
  • Daffodils
  • Cosmo 
  • Geraniums 
How does your garden grow? Lee’s gardening advice - May the flowers be with you
Geraniums. Photo by Gardening Know How
  • Sunflowers (not just yellow either I grow red, harlequin and teddy bear varieties)  
  • Morning Glory (the purple variety can be seen growing wild all over Fethiye but I have grown pink and purple striped varieties that are not as invasive as the purple one).

If you do purchase small plants, don’t throw away the plastic pots they as they can be re-used to bring on seeds.

Whilst earwigs are great aphid eaters, they also devour young shoots and in midsummer will feed on the petals of flowers, especially Dahlias.

You can make an earwig trap by filling an empty pot with dried grass or scrunched up paper and place it upside down on a stick. Each morning, you can move any earwigs that have taken residence in the pot over night to another location (or feed them to the local chickens).

How does your garden grow? Lee’s gardening advice - May the flowers be with you
Earwig trap. Image by Marianne Majerus

I have recently been using old ayran cups for plant labels as I have run out of the normal ones. Make sure you use a felt tip pen that will not run when wet.

How does your garden grow? Lee’s gardening advice - May the flowers be with you
Using ayran cup to make plant labels. Photo by Lee Stevenson

If it fits

Another benefit of all this gardening is exercise. It all depends on what gardening task you are doing and for how long as to how many calories you will burn. Like any other form of exercise you have to be active for at least 30 minutes for there to be a benefit.

While enjoying yourself in the garden you are also working all the major muscle groups: legs, buttocks, arms, shoulders, neck, back and abdomen.

Gardening tasks that use these muscles build strength and burn calories. Just remember to ask for help when lifting heavy pots or bags of soil to avoid overdoing it and causing injury.

Don’t give up

One of the most common reasons people don’t garden or grow their own is time, something we all currently have plenty of. Others don’t know much about gardening and don’t think they’d be very good at it.

Give it a try and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. I enjoy gardening just for the challenge (mostly failures) which is fun in itself and it gives me a focus and interest, something we all need at the moment.

Outsized, weird and wonderful

Last month we asked you to share details and photographs of any outsized, weird or wonderful flowers or vegetables you are growing – or have grown in the past. Let us know how you’re getting on by sending a message on Facebook: An English Gardener in Çalış

Click here if you didn’t see last months article.

I’ll leave you with this funny…

“A friend dug a hole in the garden and filled it with water. I think he meant well.”

Until next time, Happy Growing

Do you have a question about gardening?

Please share your experiences with us and ask any questions you have on gardening. Gardening in a hot climate can present you with many challenges and these articles are here to help you.

Please visit and join Lee’s Facebook group for more information about gardening and to ask any questions:

An English Gardener in Çalış