Celebrity gardener David Domoney’s 1p gardening trick that all gardeners need to know!

Plus, more ways to get the best from gardens in May

It's spring! The sun is out and the April showers have given your garden the boost it needs to get growing. So now is the time to do a bit of prep work to reap the benefits. But with so much to do in the garden in May, what is top of the priority list?

This Morning's celebrity gardener David Domoney, broadcasting live from his own garden in Warwickshire, shared his expert tips and tricks – to help us improve our gardens this month.

More: Brilliant budget garden ideas to boost outdoor spaces without breaking the bank!

David Domoney's gardening tips

1. Prune your shrubs

'When it comes to pruning, it's a great time,' David explains. 'Most things, you're pruning to remove dead, diseased and damaged branches in shrubs, roses and trees.

David does warn, 'It's not a great time for cutting hedges and the like, because we've got to be wary for birds.' He explains the RSPB recommends refraining from pruning hedges between March to August, because of nests.

david domoney gardening tips for pruning

(Image credit: TI Media)

2. Always prune to an out-facing bud

David demonstrates on a branch of his apple tree how to prune with precision. The direction in which you angle the cut is key – so if the cut slants left the growth will follow that direction.

He goes on to say when pruning trees, apples and the like 'always try to keep them almost like a wine glass' – as in their shape. This will encourage growth, 'around the outside, and free of crossing branches in the middle.'

3. Use the 1p garden hack

I'm often asked 'How do you tell if a plants alive or dead at this time of year if it hasn't come into leaf?'. His response, 'All your need is an expensive bit of equipment' he jests, as he goes on to explain, 'it costs a penny, it is a penny!'

He goes on to demonstrate how you use the 1p coin to scrape away a small patch of the bark on a branch, to determine the health of the plant. If it's brown, it's dead and if it's green or white (depending on the branches) it's still alive and well. This simple garden hack instantly tells you which plants are alive or dead.

4. Feed gardens with natural plant food

He stresses the importance of healthy soil for feeding plants. 'Healthy soil is a healthy garden' he exclaims. He goes on to share his top tip for feeding your garden naturally.

'Collect up some nettles, put in a bucket and let that stand for about seven days for a good source of nitrogen to boost the foliage of your plants – when you use the water that's rotted those down .'

kitchen with compost

(Image credit: Future PLC/Spike Powell)

Alternatively 'Comfrey is a good source of potassium which is good for fruit and flowers' he says. Saying you can grow this yourself, or collect some on a woodland walk.

Lastly he shares the tip of using bananas, 'or at least the skins' he says. The skins are especially good for roses.

'Please feed your plants an organic matter in your soil, it helps to make plants healthy' he concludes.

Related: Wildlife garden ideas – how to turn your outdoor space into a haven for wildlife

He finishes his segment by explaining the importance of simply watering the garden.

'There's something about being outside and engaging with nature that makes us feel better, both physically and mentally' David rightly points out.


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.