June in the Garden

With David Williams

Be prepared to be busy in the garden in June as with the weather generally being warmer everything will be growing at a rate of an inch a week!

It is important to keep staking and tying up the garden plants. The perennials in particular will flop over very easily as they start to grow.

The last few months have been extremely dry with very little rain and the weather experts are already talking about a possible drought this summer! Many of your plants will be in need of a drink but it is important to be selective over what you water.

First priority is your pots, containers and anything that has been newly planted. After that I would always keep the vegetable garden well-watered to prevent plants going to seed or becoming woody in texture. After that I would water all your perennials. If you gave everything a good mulch in the autumn however you will not need to water as much as the mulch holds water and slows down evaporation from the soil. Mature shrubs, trees and grass will not need any additional water they may look sad but will always come back, so save the water for the plants that really do need it.

If you have not done so yet then there is still some time to get your tender perennials planted out; these are great for filling in gaps or just adding colour to your borders. I like to keep a few tender perennials growing in pots ready to pop into the border when a gap appears, such as when spring bulbs finish or when you have cut back another perennial.

Another way to keep your borders flowering is with dead heading, the more you dead head the more new flower heads grow.

Just as the garden is bursting into flower for this year we need to think about next year. June is the time to start sowing biennials and perennials for next year. Wall flowers need to be sown direct in the soil; a line sown in the vegetable garden is ideal. You will need to space them out very thinly as they grow into very bushy plants that will be ready to plant out in your borders in October. Sow your perennials in pots using gritty compost and place in a cold frame.

Like everything else in the garden the hedges will also be growing well and will need a tidy up, especially where they are growing around gates and along pathways.

One type of hedge that will definitely need a cut is Box as there is nothing nicer than a well cut box hedge or clipped topiary. I think it really sets the garden off. Do make sure that you disinfect the shears and clippers every time you move on to a new hedge or piece of topiary, this will help prevent the spread of box blight should you have any of it on your plants.

Don’t forget to net your soft fruit as they start to ripen, this will prevent the birds from having them for lunch!

In the vegetable garden keep up with the sowing of lettuce, radish and rocket so you get a constant supply of salad all summer long. It’s also time to start sowing your winter crops such as cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage; this will keep up your harvest throughout the winter months.