June – long days and tennis
The start of June sees gardens full of colour. Many herbaceous plants are at their peak and summer baskets and pots are now out.
However, all these flowers mean it’s deadheading time . Regular deadheading encourages more flowers to be produced. Cut roses just above a strong bud , below the finished flowers. For delphiniums and lupins cut the old flower stem off at the bottom. You will often then get a second lot of flowers later in the summer. However, they tend not to be as spectacular as the first bloom. Giving them feed when you cut down the old flower stems also helps encourage more flowers.
Hardy geraniums are best if cut back hard with shears after flowering. It looks a bit drastic at first but the new growth will be through very quickly. Your bravery will be rewarded with a bushy plant and more flowers!
Flowering shrubs such as deutzia, philadelphus and weigela can be pruned once the flowers are over. Remove any dead or damaged wood and reduce the overall size of the shrub if you need. On larger, more established shrubs where the base has become congested remove up to a third of the old woody stems. This will encourage new growth from the bottom.
Oriental poppies flop rather after flowering. Cut the foliage back to near ground level and give them a feed. New growth will soon appear.
Remember to keep watering pots and baskets . Even if it’s been raining they may still need doing. The leaves act as umbrellas so very little of the rain makes it to the soil. They will also need regular feeding now through the summer to ensure they look their best. A multi-purpose feed made up in the watering can applied once a fortnight is great.
Now the nights are warmer runner and french beans can be planted out. However, slugs and snails love bean plants especially when they are new so protection is required! Once your beans start to flower don’t let the plants dry out or you won’t get any beans forming.
Outdoor tomatoes can also go outside . For best results they prefer a sunny spot against a south-facing wall. Tomatoes need consistent watering; if you are able, some water morning and evening is best so the compost stays damp and doesn’t dry out. It is also time to plant out courgettes and squashes. If you are planting them in the ground dig in lots of organic matter to retain moisture. if growing in pots or growbags they will need regular watering as for tomatoes. For tomatoes and courgettes once the fruit start to form feed weekly with a feed for tomatoes .
Strawberry season is here! . if we get lots of wet weather check regularly for botrytis (grey mould) and remove any affected fruit but don’t but them in the compost bin. Spread straw under the plants , under the ripening fruit. This keeps the fruit out of the mud and helps prevent it rotting.
All we need now is for some warm evenings to sit in the garden enjoy the extra daylight with a Pimms containing some homegrown strawberries and mint. Cheers!