Hints & Tips
Summer is almost here and many gardens will already be brimming with the colour. As June arrives, you’ll hopefully have time to put your feet up, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labours.
While the weather hasn’t been particularly balmy so far, with a bit of luck the showers will disappear and and we’ll be able to enjoy the sunshine. Nothing beats a bit of optimism.
Don't get too comfortable in your deckchair, though, as there's still a lot to do at this time of year.
Deadheading is essential to maintaining the look of your garden – removing any spent flowers from plants such as roses will encourage new blooms.
Weed control is another key task – you'll need to remain vigilant to ensure they don't become established, so hoe borders regularly to keep their numbers down.
At this time of year, of course, you'll need to do plenty of mowing. Make sure you cut your grass at least once a week to ensure your lawn remains in good condition – leaving it too long will only make your job harder in the future, especially if your mower's past its prime!
You should start work on any summer bedding tasks you have planned in June. Tender perennials such as verbena, bidens, gazanias and argyranthemums should be planted at this time – make sure you water them before and after planting to give them the best chance of success.
If you're a fruit and veg grower, there are a number of varieties you should think about planting or sowing in June. These include courgettes, tomatoes, lettuce, runner beans, beetroot and carrots.
Meanwhile, lettuce, radish, other salads and early potatoes can be harvested and you should pinch out sideshoots on tomatoes.
Fruit thinning is another job you can be getting on with this month. This ensures you will get a fair amount of good-sized fruit rather than a large amount of smaller fruit; it will also keep fruit healthy and help to protect against pests and disease.
For apples, you should thin to one fruit per cluster. Cooking varieties should be thinned to 15-23cm between clusters, while desert apple varieties need to have 10-15cm between clusters.
If the weather starts to improve, it will make sense to plan ahead for economising on water. With hosepipe bans a common occurrence these days, you might want to consider using containers to collect rainwater. A thorough watering once or twice a week is the best way of encouraging plants to put down roots.
It is also a good idea to put some supports in place for your plants, if you have not already done so. This will prevent them from falling over due to the extra weight – your task will be more difficult if you leave it too late.
Now that the risk of frost should be well and truly over, you can move tender plants such as agapanthus outdoors, while summer hanging baskets can also be positioned outside.
That's plenty to be getting on with, but make sure you sit back and enjoy the results of your hard work whenever you get the chance.