June gardening tips
Bulbs, flowers and containers
Protect new shoots from slugs - egg shells, beer, nuclear bombs (only joking) – use whatever your conscience allows.
Plant out summer bedding and ensure it remains well watered.
Plant out hardened off and sprouted dahlias after the last frost and put canes by them for support later.
Thin annuals fortnightly to prevent their becoming spindly and leggy - a gap of 6 inches between seedlings is usually about right.
For next year’s spring and winter bedding (pansies, wallflowers etc.) plant between now and July.
Hellebores – cut back old foliage to the ground and feed with general fertiliser. Mulch with organic matter and wait for the seed pods to ripen (they will burst when squashed) – sow the seeds right away and wait and see what comes up next year... the offspring will rarely resemble their parents!
Cut back spring flowering perennials - remove the old foliage, lift and divide large clumps and replant with plenty of water and organic fertiliser.
Lift and divide primroses and relocate to a nursery bed for planting out next spring.
Cut back any dead foliage on bulbs (don’t be tempted to do this too early as they will go on strike next year!) - once it has died back, lift and divide any overcrowded clumps of bulbs.
Cut back spreading and trailing plants such as alyssum and aubretia to encourage fresh growth and new flowers.
Erect supports for herbaceous plants such as peonies, delphiniums and oriental poppies prone to undignified collapse. Make your own supports using hazel or birch twigs for a natural look that will fade into the border as your plants grow.
Sow annuals such as cornflowers, larkspurs and night-scented stocks - clashing colours just don’t matter in a garden, but remember to plant taller plants behind shorter ones.
Tie in sweet peas using sweet pea rings or soft twine. Removing tendrils and sideshoots will result in longer stemmed flowers.
Pots and containers desperately need regular watering, especially if they are near a wall and in a sheltered position. Take care not to overwater.
Plant up tubs, containers and hanging baskets for a blaze of colour throughout the summer - remember to harden tender plants off properly before exposing them to the elements. Use specially formulated composts for containers or use John Innes No 2 and regular multi-purpose compost 50:50 - it is also a good idea to use moisture retentive gel and slow release fertilisers.
And now for the fun bit - designing your container with the huge range of delightful plants available - traditional geraniums, fuchsias of the trailing and upright variety, verbenas, surfinias and a whole host of others will give you a wonderful show until autumn. Don’t forget to include one or two foliage plants too - silver or lime green Helichrysum or golden Lysimachia Goldilocks provide background and contrast to set off your display beautifully.