The strong winds and low cloud that characterised the weather throughout May spilled into June; and with torrential rain kept temperatures low making it feel more like November. Large numbers of new leaves were stripped from trees in the gales and deposited on pavements and roads.
But just a few days into June, temperatures quickly soared to 25 degrees (C) bringing the sun, abruptly followed by unsettled, humid and stormy weather. These conditions are ideal for weeds which continue to grow quickly and need removing before they set seed. Slugs and snails seem much more numerous this year; use an environmentally friendly product such as ‘Advanced Slug Killer’ (available from www.organiccatalogue.com) to control the slug and snail population; otherwise they will inflict significant damage to a whole range of plants.
Following the cherry blossom month of May, June delights with a profusion of flowers – everywhere is overflowing with growth and a range of plants to enjoy.
Elderflower, which is rarely cultivated, can be seen on embankments, hedgerows and waste ground; the flat clusters of creamy flowers make it instantly recognisable. The thorny Pyracantha, grown for its orange-red berries in autumn, is now covered in white flowers. Philadelphus (Mock orange) produces lots of pure white little blooms with a feint exotic perfume. The Catalpa (Indian Bean) is a tall, elegant tree usually seen in parks and larger gardens. By the end of June it is covered in white flowers and with its large heart shape leaves is stunning. Tillia – the Lime tree has little bunches of pale, yellow flowers grouped between its small heart shaped leaves – the perfume is intoxicating, there is no other description for this spicy honey scent.
One of the stranger flowers to be seen at this time is the Calla lily; described as a bulb but is more like a tuber, it produces a curled flower which is a bract (type of leaf) surrounding a spike covered in minute flowers. The overall effect is that of one large flower-head. Calla comes in many colours but the white ones are more usually seen.
Roses remain the jewel in the summer garden; different varieties are laden with colourful blooms. The perfumed ones have spicy, fruity and subtle scents. Dryer weather suits roses providing they are watered well, deadhead regularly to ensure continued flowering and treat any greenfly infestations quickly. Feed through the summer months; this will enable plants to be more resistant to disease attack.