June – and it’s all about the garden!
We’re in the first month of summer now and the garden has really come into its own, bursting with new growth, superb fresh green foliage, flowers, roses and fresh vegetables ready for harvesting. The warmer weather and longer days give you the opportunity to just sit back, relax and appreciate nature at its best and to take a moment to simply enjoy the results of all your hard work.
But gardeners never seem to sit still for long. There’s sowing and harvesting to be done in the vegetable plot and, in the flowering borders, you can add later-blooming plants, with herbaceous perennials for colour later in the season. Tender annuals like salvias and cosmos can be added for some extra colour and to fill in any gaps where the bulbs have finished.
Roses are easy to grow, and can tolerate a wide range of conditions provided that they are well fed. That is their main requirement, so for best results the soil needs to be enhanced with some well-rotted manure, garden compost or soil improver. Roses come in many shapes and sizes, producing flowers of all shapes and colours, some with superb scents, from climbers and ramblers to old and modern shrub roses, to the smaller patio roses, useful for growing in containers.
Roses are steeped in history, with Rosa gallica grown by the Greeks and the Romans. Other varieties came to the UK with the crusaders from Damascus, and by the end of the 15th century, 14 different kinds of roses were being grown in this country. But it was during the 18th century, with the arrival of the ‘China’ rose, that gardeners learned how to breed roses and hybrid perpetuals were developed, leading to formal beds of roses. Nowadays, roses can be grown together with shrubs or in mixed borders. With roses, good plant hygiene such as regular dead-heading and clearing away dead petals and leaves, is essential to help prevent black spot.
Philadelphus (Mock Orange)
Some other June highlights
Philadelphus (or mock orange as it is known) is another popular shrub with fragrant white flowers, available in many varieties. Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’ has reddish staining at the centre of single white flowers and a wonderful fragrance, and the more compact ‘Manteau d’Hermine’ produces highly scented, double flowers.
For a wonderful ground cover plant look no further than geranium Cranesbill which is hardy, with scented downy leaves and pink or magenta flowers. Some of the varieties are shade-loving, so ideal for growing under roses or shrubs. In autumn the foliage turns a rich red, an added bonus to brighten the autumn days.
Hostas are another highlight, with their large leaves in greens and steely blues and some variegated gold varieties. All varieties of hosta like to be grown in light shade and require moist soil with added organic matter added. The golden coloured varieties are ideal for growing under trees and shrubs or around ponds and look fantastic with Acers. You can grow hostas in pots If slugs and snails become a problem.
Sambucus Nigra ‘Black Lace’
Some other June highlights include Alstroemeria, Deutzia, Cotoneasters, the many types of climbing Clematis or the stunning Sambucus Nigra ‘black lace’. For an amazing, high-impact display choose herbaceous perennials of all heights and a varied range of flower sizes and colours.
Going potty for summer colour
Plant up summer pots if you want to brighten up patios or fill gaps in flower beds. Containers of bedding plants will add colour right up until the first frosts. Plants such as Petunias or the smaller bloomed Calibrachoa flower continuously in a wide range of colours, as do Pelargoniums, Verbena, Nemesia and Bacopa. For shadier areas try pots of Fuchsia, Begonias and Impatiens – all are very reliable and free flowering.
Plant up tubs of your favourite herbs by the BBQ area so they are to hand when you are cooking.
To plant up your summer pots, fill containers, tubs, window boxes etc with a mixture of multi-purpose compost and John Innes compost.
The loam increases nutrient holding, which is good for plants in containers which obviously cannot access the nutrients from your garden soil. Watering, feeding and dead-heading are the main summer jobs.
Water adds life to a garden
Whether it is the splashing of a water feature or the reflection of the surrounding plants on the water’s surface, water adds an extra dimension and has been an important part of gardens for thousands of years. There are many choices ranging from a formal pond or a more natural looking, informal pond which is wildlife friendly and has some shallows allowing a range of plants to be grown around the margins.
Even a small space can house a pond, using a half barrel or large plastic container to house a dwarf water lily and a few smaller plants. Ponds need a sunny open location and some oxygenator plants to provide the essential oxygen to maintain healthy life in the pond. Marginal plants are adaptable to different depths of water depending on variety. Most are happy partially submerged in a few inches of water with some growth above, including Pickerelweed, Dwarf flowering Rush, Flag Iris, Watermint and Marsh Marigold. The arum lily Zantadeschia Aethiopica can be planted in 15cm of water, but the crowns will need to be protected from frost.
Marsh Marigold (Caltha Palustris)
Vegetables and Herbs
Sow lettuce, rocket, spring onions, radish, pak choi, Chinese cabbage, maincrop carrots, peas, swedes and plant out sweetcorn, French beans, runner beans, courgettes, marrow and squash. Keep an eye out for asparagus beetle, easily spotted as it is bright and shiny and needs to be removed before it has a chance to damage foliage.
Protect strawberries and soft fruit from birds. We have found ‘Strulch’ mineralised straw works well round strawberries to protect the plants from slugs and snails, and as a mulch also retains soil moisture and breaks down to enhance the soil.
The joy of houseplants
Even if you don’t have a garden or outside space, you can still garden indoors, houseplants have become hugely popular. We have a wide range of interesting and exotic lush foliage plants in all shapes and colours. Some like orchids produce incredible flowers, and some like the Saintpaulia (African Violet) or Peace Lily are perennial favourites.
Saintpaulia (African Violet)
We have houseplants suitable for all rooms in the home, whether shady spaces or a sunny window sill, as well as plants that improve air quality. Some even oxygenate the air at night while you are sleeping! Plants provide us with beauty. So do enjoy your gardening whether inside or out!
We look forward to seeing you soon.
The Van Hage team