Soaring temperatures arrived at the start of June (after chilly conditions during May), writes Jackie Power…
But within a few days torrential rain set in and temperatures dropped.
Traditionally, June weather is unsettled – but it is the month of the Summer Solstice, long days and peak growth in the garden.
There is still time to prepare and put up hanging baskets. There are many different plants to choose; try a herb filled basket – use a good quality compost, add varieties of Basil, Thyme, Chives and trailing Nasturtiums.
Alternatively, put in the trailing tomatoes (Tumbling Tom red or Tumbling Tom yellow), alpine strawberries – and add Pot Marigolds to give some flowering interest.
A traditional hanging basket can be filled with annuals such as Petunias, trailing Geraniums, Fuchsias and Lobelia.
If there is space – do one of each!
At mid-summer attention is focused on the garden but don’t forget houseplants.
They need regular watering and feeding over the next few months.
Clean leaves with a soft cloth and tepid water, dust down cacti and plants with felt-like leaves such as the African violet.
Most houseplants will benefit from being outside – either in the garden or on the balcony (out of direct sun) until late September.
Although it was a dry spring and the ground remained parched; most of June’s predicted rainfall arrived in three days.
This brought problems – torrential rain tends to run off very dry ground (causing flooding and overwhelming drainage systems).
It also damages delicate flowers and the large soft blossoms of Roses and Peonies.
As temperatures rise along with humidity levels, weeds are exploding into growth and need regular clearing. Keep couch grass, bindweed and thistles under control – or they will take over.
Shrub and hybrid tea roses have stunning displays this year (likely due to the mild winter); regular dead-heading is vital to encourage continued flowering and also watering during dryer spells.
Lavenders are coming into bloom; a favourite shrub for the herb garden and borders – with their evergreen aromatic foliage and deliciously perfumed flowers – a summer highlight.
A popular variety is Lavendula angustifolia ‘Munstead’ with its compact habit and deep blue flowers.
There are numerous beautiful varieties available to suit most locations – including containers.
If you have space for nothing else plant – ‘Hidcote Superior’ ‘Munstead Blue’ or ‘Sarah’. Lavenders prefer full sun and are fairly drought resistant once established.