Rushlake Green Village Leaf

Gardening Diary June 2014

"A dripping June brings all in tune"

After a wet and windy May we may be looking forward to a little more sunshine and a much less of the dripping this June. Fingers crossed the jet stream, that wayward child of recent seasons will keep to it's auld course this year.

June should be one of the most delightful months of the gardener's year. The blooms of spring may have faded but in their place is a wealth of summer blossom. By the end of the month we may give in the urge to drive the mower over the old daffodil foliage, this two month stay of execution will have helped the bulbs to build up for next year. The season of the sucking and biting pests is in full swing so to allow for a good nights' sleep, the diligent gardener must wage unceasing war on insect pests. If aphides and caterpillars are allowed to multiply unchecked they will wreak havoc in the flower garden and amongst vegetable and fruit crops. It is at this time of year that the benefits of deep and thorough winter digging begin to show; Drought has nothing like the same effect on thoroughly prepared ground as it has on shallow soil hastily dug to the depth of a mere few inches.  Planting out of any tender subjects remaining is a job for the first week of the month. Summer bedding will at last be ready, room for growth should be allowed when planting and carefully watered until established.

Our minds may now be turning towards displays for next spring. Wallflowers, fox gloves, sweet william, forget-me-nots and canterbury bells may be sown now in finely prepared beds to give them as long as possible to grow before planting out in autumn. Staking and tying and the feeding of plants that are actually in bud and bloom are other tasks, which command our attention. A heavy June downpour will quickly lay any tall plants face down across the lawn. Be alert to the sucker growing from the base of roses, they usually have more thorn and leaf than an ordinary stem and should be removed on sight. We may not be afraid to thin out crowded stems of such plants as Rudbeckia, Helianthus, Michaelmas Daisies, Phloxes and Solidagos. A few strong stems will make a far better display than overcrowded clumps. No faded flower heads should be allowed to remain on Rhododendrons and Azaeleas. Snapping them off above the foliage will free the new growth and the buds will thus be freed from restraint and begin at once to grow vigorously. Old Paeony flowers should also be removed, though I like to keep a few seed pods on the old types which make useful material for dried flower displays at Christmas.

In the vegetable garden we may continue to remove all unwanted runners in the strawberry bed. Seeds of French and runner beans may still be sown, that deep trench of organic matter the reader dug in some months ago will pay back with a heavy crop of beans. Lettuce, radishes and spinach can still be sown for succession. Maincrop Turnips and Swedes around the middle of the month. Plant Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflowers, sprouting broccoli and Savoys as the ground becomes available. Continue with the thinning of previously sown crops, no overcrowding please. Earth-up Potatoes little and often as growth proceeds. We should cease cutting Asparagus around the middle of the month and give the bed some nourishment to encourage strong top growth of the stems still left. That hoe should be stirring the soil from time to time to break up any panned surfaces and keep the soil from drying out and baking hard.

During the summer months plants in pots should be watered every day regardless of the weather and given a liquid feed once a week. If we have kept up to speed with jobs through winter and spring we should soon have an effulgent garden with just some minor daily pottering needed, so allowing us the time to enjoy long pipes in the sunshine listening to the summer sounds of bees buzzing at safe distance and Test Match Special on the wireless.

Content kindly volunteered by Ross Atabey from Green & Great Gardens your local landscaping and garden specialists. For further advice contact Ross on 07941 315214 or 01435 812 153 or visit www.greenandgreatgardens.co.uk