June is usually one of our driest months. We’re lucky to get more than 2” of rain in the south east and aside from occasional thunderstorms that barely replenish the soil, all our plants need our help to thrive. Here are a few quick tips to avoid the rigours of drought:
- Water early morning or late evening to avoid rapid evaporation and leaf scorch
- Give all the plants a good soaking – if you’ve a large garden, then concentrate on different areas each day
- Avoid watering “little and often”. All that happens is the roots are encouraged to come to the surface rather than drilling down in their search for water
- Apply and renew old mulches to conserve water and suppress weed growth. Ensure that the soil is moist before you add more mulch otherwise you just inhibit the penetration of water through to the roots
- Hanging baskets and planters in direct sunlight need a watering can full EVERY day when the temperature is above 21 degrees
- Trees younger than 5 years need a good soaking once a week (3 minutes with a hose each). All fruit trees and bushes will benefit from a good soaking in dry spells too
- Low evergreen hedges like Box benefit from having a seep hose snaked around each plant and given a thorough weekly soaking
June is also the month where all the “loveys” take centre stage with the rose always being in my opinion, the diva.
There are so many to choose from but get your heads out of the reference books and catalogues and be nosey – take a look at other people’s gardens, sniff a few which grace the pavements near where you live, see which ones are prolific, note their shape and form and whether they leave more petals on the ground than in the flower head!
Here are some of my favourites:
Rosa ‘Felicia’ – A hybrid musk rose, pink and highly fragrant with summer and autumn flushes. My Mum’s all time favourite!
Rosa ‘Climbing Iceberg’ – Wonderful fragrant pure white climber, vigorous and thornless, what’s not to like!
Rosa “Paul’s Himalayan Musk”, this rambler is short flowering but has a stunning abundance of blush-pink flowers June to July
Rosa ‘Margaret Merril’ – Big floribunda white flowers with a superb fragrance June to October
Rosa ‘’Marchesa Boccella’ is an old garden rose, soft pink flowers that appear from June to September.
Rosa “Rambling Rector” is a vigorous ramber ti cover any unsightly area of your garden, preferably in full sun it will produce large clusters of creamy white flowers in July and September
Here is a list of my other favourite plants to consider for June interest:
PLANTS OF THE MONTH
Trees: Laburnum, Crataegus persimilis ‘Prunifolia’, Liquidamber styraciflua
Shrubs: Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’, P. ‘Manteau d’Hermine and P. coronaries, Deutzia, Kolkwitzia, Syringa, Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’
Evergreens: Trachelospermum jasminoides, Escallonia, Hypericum calycinum, Photinia davidiana, Hebe
Climbers: Hydrangea petiolaris, Clematis “Barbara Jackman”, Clematis Montana, Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’, Clematis ‘Comtesse de Bouchard’, Wisteria floribunda, Lonicera periclymenum “Belgica’
Perennials: Alstromeria’s, Clematis ‘Jackmanii Superba’, Primula bulleyana, Gaura ‘White sparkle’, Hemerocallis (Day lilies), lupins, penstemons, agapanthus, campanulas, Alchemilla mollis , Corydalis flexuosa, hardy geraniums, Incarvillea delavayi, Nepeta, Paeoea lactiflora, Salvias, Veronica spicata, Lavatera x clementii
Bulbs: Allium, Camassia
Bedding/Patio/: Lobelia, Verbena, Aquilegia, Centaurea, Eschscholzia, Lathyrus odoratus
SOFTSCAPE PROJECTS FOR JUNE:
- Watering (as above), deadheading and weeding
- Lawn treatment.
- Mow the lawn once a week unless very dry.
- Feed with liquid lawn feed if it is looking a bit tired – diluted in water these are easy to apply with watering can or sprayer
- Raise the cutting height on your mower so less is taken off each time – a Barber’s trim about 1.25 cm (1/2 inch)
- Mow in a different direction each time to stimulate grass to grow in different directions
- Mix clippings with shredded newspaper to avoid a slimey compost corner
- Trim edges – it makes it look so much better
- Pruning and renovation
- Prune deciduous shrubs when flowering has finished – Shrubs such as deutzia, kolkwitzia, philadelphus and weigela. Prune out a third of the oldest and thickest stems. Afterwards feed with organic fertilizer and then mulch
- Remove suckers from roses and fading blooms from lilacs, camellias and rhododendrons
- Renovate leggy Lilacs to 46 cms (18”) above the ground
- Train climbing roses and give plenty of support to ramblers
- Deadhead flowers regularly. Cosmos, phlox, hardy geraniums, zinnias, salvias, verbenas, petunias, pelargoniums, all benefit from this and it will often extend the flowering period
- Stake tall perennials like Delphiniums
- Prune the vigorous Clematis Montana
- Clip the fast growing evergreen hedges like privet, griselinia, Portuguese laurel
- Plant out all the summer bedding plants including the feature plants like lilies and cannas.
- Try to fill gaps in borders with summer bedding plants to avoid bare earth and the onset of weeds
- Sow biennials like foxgloves (‘Alba’ and ‘Suttons Apricot’) and honesty (Lunaria). Honesty is happiest in semi shade while foxgloves love full sun
- Plant autumn flowering Anemones now – Anemone coronaria and De Caen varieties are best. Make sure you soak tubers overnight before planting 2” deep and 4” apart.
Watch out for Blackspot, mildew and rust on roses and quickly take action with sprays. With the lilies in full
bloom keep an eye out for the scarlet lily beetle before he nibbles his way through them.
EVENTS CALENDAR – my selection
Borde Hill Garden – This amazing garden celebrates 50 years of opening its gates to the public. If you get a chance, go and see Jay Robin’s Rose Garden and the Midsummer Border in the company of Head Gardener Andy Stevens.
Borde Hill Lane, Haywards Heath, West Sussex,
Beth Chatto Gardens – Living a few miles north of this magical garden I visited a few times but never at this time of year when the colours must be spectacular. So many different “zones” , it is impossible to imagine how in 1960 they transformed an overgrown boggy hollow into a truly inspirational informal garden.
Elmstead Market, Colchester, Essex,
Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum – This is a great one to take the kids to as designer Brita von Schoenaich has created sinuous walls, earth sculptures and a plant tunnel and clothed it in waves of summer colour. Excellent woodland walks.
Coggeshall, Colchester, Essex,
IS IT A TREE OR A WEED?
The Your Garden Project team has finished fencing in Kensal Rise, North West London and clearing an adjacent garden of a tree that has suckered all over this area with such success that it is fast becoming a nuisance. This is the Ash (Fraxinus) , second only to the Sycamore in its aggressive self-seeding in urban areas. If the young plants are left they sprout everywhere – in flower beds, on lawns and can soon disrupt a carefullty planned garden. Dig them out and make sure you remove all roots or, like most plants you are simply encouraging them to grow stronger!
WHICH FENCE AM I RESPONSIBLE FOR?