Garden inspiration


Jobs to Do in Your Garden in June

Summer is really here! Ornamental borders will soon be at their best when towards the end of the month scented roses begin to flower in earnest. There is plenty to do in the garden to keep you occupied, such as cutting back and mowing, but it’s a time of year to really sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labours. So, above all, take time to reward yourself. Gardening should never become a chore.

The start of dry spells means that if you have a new lawn or have planted new shrubs and flowers, they will need watering as required. If time is limited, it’s no good going out every evening splashing a little water over everything. This causes more good than harm in the long run as it encourages roots to come to the surface of the soil, making plants more vulnerable in dry conditions. Instead, concentrate your efforts on one area of the garden and give it a good soaking in the evening. This gives plants time to absorb the water overnight and their roots will go deeper in search of water. The following evening, concentrate on another area. Plants in containers require watering most, at least once a day, but in very hot conditions twice, once in the morning and again in the evening.

spray of water from hose

If you can, use a mulch to preserve water. Mulches are ‘coverings’ placed on the surface of cultivated soil. They can be applied to bare soil or to cover the surface of compost in containers.

Over the years I’ve tried all sorts of materials as a mulch and have found the best one to be well rotted bark; that’s the very fine sort, not the thicker pieces of bark used in car parks. This breaks down gradually to release nutrients into the soil and help improve its structure. It will need replacing when it has fully rotted down. The key is to apply a really thick layer. An 80L bag will cover an area of about 1 metre.

There are many benefits of mulching, including:

  • Helping the soil to retain moisture in summer
  • Suppressing weeds
  • Improving the soil texture
  • Deterring some pests
  • Protecting plant roots from extreme temperatures
  • Encouraging beneficial soil organisms
  • Giving a decorative finish

garden flowerbed covered with bark chip mulch

Deadheading is a regular task in all parts of the garden as some flowers ‘go over’. With many plants, the flowering period can be extended if old flowers are removed as soon as they fade. This is particularly important with roses. It will prevent the plant’s energy going into seed production and channel it into new growth and flowers later in the season. Most deadheading can be done with secateurs, cutting back to just above strong buds lower down the stem.

Some plants, like hardy geraniums, can be chopped right back with garden shears. This may seem a bit drastic, especially at first as they will look very bare, but later on in the season they will reward you with a flush of new flowers.

pruning a shrub

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