Our gardening columnist’s tips on growing at full speed

News Desk (29 June, 2017)

"It is generally warm but there were un-seasonal cool and windy spells with torrential downpours at the start of June"

735Jackie Power

 

June is one of the most fragrant months; full of flowery scents. And we have reached the summer solstice (longest day) which arrived on 21st June – daylight hours are now at maximum length.

It is generally warm but there were un-seasonal cool and windy spells with torrential downpours at the start of June.

Humid conditions mean everything is growing at full speed – grass needs cutting fortnightly, weeds are coming up so quickly you can almost see them growing! Regular work is needed in the garden or it is hard to keep control.

To get the best from roses a continued routine of care is needed – this depends on the types grown but there are some basic rules; to ensure strong blooms feed every three weeks through the summer, water in dry spells and deadhead regularly. Watch for pests and diseases and treat accordingly. Pruning is tricky and usually carried out in winter. Lightly trim old garden roses; for modern bush types including miniatures remove two thirds of growth before March. Treatment of modern shrub and climbing roses, ramblers and species rose also depends on the individual variety but are usually only lightly trimmed.

Honeysuckle is in flower; with its strange segmented petals and gorgeous fragrance- so noticeable on warm summer evenings. Mock orange (Philadelphus) has pure white blooms and a subtle spicy perfume. Jasmine is producing masses of little star shaped sweetly scented white flowers. Lavender is out with dense blue spikes of aromatic flowers (other colours include pale mauve, pink or white blooms). At the start of June small round flowers with yellow filaments appear on the Lime tree (Linden) – these pack a heady and intoxicating scent around solstice time. Other notable seasonal flowers (unscented) reaching their peak are St John’s wort – recognisable by its cheerful bright yellow blooms and the showy perennial Lupin.

To slow moisture loss from the soil during the summer months a layer of mulch can be spread over flowerbeds, in window boxes and around plants grown in tubs and pots. Various materials can be used depending on the type of area – Coir (peat substitute), semi rotted garden leaves or straw all help the soil retain moisture. There are also various types of mulch including bark available at garden centres (water and weed thoroughly before applying).

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