June In My Garden by Philippa Thomas

JUNE, MANY SAY, IS THE LOVELIEST MONTH OF THE YEAR AND OUR LONGEST DAY OF THE YEAR FALLS ON 21ST JUNE.  Our extra light and warmth encourages our gardens to put on an exuberant burst of growth.  It’s hard to beat that feeling of abundance and the whispered promise of golden summer days to come.  Fresh foliage and brightly coloured flowers, tall spires, slender foxgloves, plump baubles of purple and white alliums that almost seem to float above our ground, lacy astrantias, frothy lady’s mantle and breathtaking roses are some of our brightest stars.

 ‘Peonies and Roses are a marriage made in Heaven.’

 ‘Gardening, the disengagement it allows, the absorption; it is practical, satisfying and creative – , making it the perfect ‘thing’ to do: especially, when you want to cut yourself off from the rest of the world.’

 ‘Gardens are extremely important for the range of connected wildlife that makes ecosystems work.’ 

Dr. Steve Head, Wildlife Gardening.

We are now, being encouraged to move away from traditional labels.  Flora media are providing degradable and recycled options.  To help the war on plastic, LIDL will be selling their bedding plants in trays made of recycled plastic.  This should save 35 tons of plastic waste.  …Another major contention is the use of compost bags.  We can help by tyring to get as much use as possible before we bin them i.e. use them to store homemade compost or to line raised beds or hanging baskets, (for latter, pierce some holes).

Were your flowering pots disappointing last Summer?  Maybe, it could have been the compost?  By 2020 all composts should be peat-free.  Maybe, major on reliability, massive performers and colour with our seasonal annuals.  My number one, would be some white cosmos varieties, ‘Purity’, being one of my favourites.  It has delicate highly cut feathery leaves in the brightest green.  Oh by the way, there is a brand new species of Busy Lizzie that is resistant to downy mildew, Impatiens, Beacon.  …Remember too, to keep your eyes peeled for a host of new plants revealed at the Chelsea Flower Show.  There will be some new Foxgloves, a new Buddleja, – Butterfly Towers, only one metre wide, 1 metre tall: new David Austin and Harkness Roses and Thorncroft New Clematis.

What about placing your vases of fading blooms back outside in the garden for pollinators to make the most of pollen and any traces of nectar.  Insects are pollinators of about 80% of all plant species in Europe, including most fruit, many vegetables and some bio-fuel crops.  Imagine our diet without pollinators.  Prices we now consider affordable, a punnet of strawberries, a pot of plum jam -will rocket.  Take Bumblebees alone and look at what they pollinate.  Sunflowers, runner beans, raspberries, strawberries, apples, currants, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, blueberries, melons, squash etc.  – So, let’s get going and grow pollinator friendly plants in our gardens.  Cotoneaster, Hebe, Lavender, Berberis, Mahonias, Buddlejas (Butterfly Bush), Verbena, Foxgloves, Pyracantha, Nepeta, Rosemary, Thyme, Poppies, Kniphofia (Red Hot Pokers) are some of the best plants for pollinators.

New News!

A colony of Webspinners thought to be the first established in the U.K. has been found in a glasshouse at R.H.S. Wisley Garden.  These tropical silk-spinning insects are thought to have hitched a ride on imported orchids.  They are unlikely to survive outdoors so are little threat to native species.

Two new pests have recently made their way to the U.K., In This 2019, affecting Magnolia, Mulberry, Dogwood and a few other species.  It wraps its eggs around branches creating unsightly strings but isn’t thought to do any damage to the host plant: It is called Cotton Stringy Scale.

Meanwhile, the larger eight-toothed European Spruce Bark Beetle had been found in Kent and East Sussex.

Finally, A Thought For Hydrangeas.

Hydrangeas are a garden classic that offer so many options from ground cover to spectacular trees.  …There is a beautiful type to suit every situation and success is virtually guaranteed.  There are simply endless varieties.  Most varieties originate from Asia but are completely at home here.  My absolute favourites are; Limelight, Annabelle, The Oakleaf Tree, Hydrangea and ‘Hydrangea Paniculata Wim’s Red’ – its lacy flowers change colour from white in Spring through pink in Summer before maturing to a wine red in Autumn.

Might Do, Maybe June Jobs.

Try to water in the mornings so the foliage has all day to dry out before the cooler evenings, reducing the risk of fungal rot.  Water especially, anything newly planted as they are still growing roots into the soil.  …Fungal diseases thrive in cool conditions, so help the air circulate in your greenhouse by opening door and windows.

Possibly, the easiest way to feed pots is to add a Best Buy Controlled-Release Fertiliser at planting time and top up with a liquid feed towards late Summer.  As far as our plants are concerned, it’s irrelevant where the nutrients are coming from.  A good balance of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous and other trace elements are what matters.  Vegan gardeners can now choose vegan friendly soil conditioners rather than those that contain animal remains or manures.

  1. Cut lawn and re-seed the bare patches. Do you know that there is a new lawn seed (Fast Start).  The seeds are coated with aqua gel designed to aid germination.
  2. Inspect Lilies for the Scarlet Lily Beetle, whose larvae can strip plants in days.
  3. Aphids multiply rapidly in Summer. Remove early infestations by hand to prevent the problem getting out of control.  Aphids can transmit viruses, as can other sap-sucking insects.
  4. Oyster shell grit is great they say, for keeping garden pests away. It also provides calcium for our birds (it is generally sold for poultry).
  5. Maybe cut back sedum stems by half (The Chelsea Chop) in early June, in order to produce bushier plants.

 

“Minds are like flowers.  They open only when the time is right.”

Stephen Coupe.

 

“Don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers.  Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul.”

RTÉ One, yesterday.

 

 “As I leave the garden, I take with me a renewed view, and a quiet soul.”

Jessica Coupe.