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Gardening with Mick

Gardening June

One of our wonderful patients, Mick, has kindly written some sound gardening advice for June

Here is his first gardening instalment... keep your eyes posted for more!

Lots of work to do this month. All the bedding to plant out, hanging baskets, troughs and planters to complete and all of these will need regular watering and weekly feeding. If that hasn’t put you off gardening nothing will.

With the warmer weather come pests and diseases which will appear and multiply like magic. Please try to use organic control if possible as our drainage and river systems are becoming overwhelmed with the indiscriminate use of pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers.

You should be lifting your bulbs now and leaving then to dry. I leave daffodils, narcissus, snowdrops and grape hyacinth in the ground as they will happily survive most English winters. Some of them, particularly grape hyacinth (Muscari.) will also multiply giving you free bulbs.

Tulips I lift dry and replant August/September.

Dahlias should be showing new growth by now, you can either plant the tuber as it is being very careful not to snap the shoots off, or you can remove the individual shoots and propagate them giving a number of new plants with exactly the same colour as the parent.

Lupins should be at their most spectacular this month along with peony, dianthus, clematis and roses. My rhododendron is a mass of deep red flowers at the moment, a real picture. When dead heading a rhododendron be very careful because the new bud is immediately behind the old flower.

The beautiful heads of the allium will start to turn in June but the star shaped seed heads will remain until autumn and make a good dried flower. Whilst in full flower the tiny florets are really tasty when added to a salad, after all they are a member of the onion family.

If you want a second display from your roses continue to deadhead. If you have not completed deadheading your bulbs do so now to assure nice fat bulbs for next year, not only does it control disease but it also makes a tidier garden. The safest thing to do with the heads you have removed is to burn them as they can be a source of disease.

Herbs are really coming in to their best now. Picked fresh from the garden and added to almost any, meal hot or cold, they can totally alter the taste. They are also capable of brightening up a drink and adding a pleasurable kick. If you decide to plant any of the many varieties of mint it is best not to plant in the open ground. Always plant in a container as mint has the propensity to take over the whole garden and is very difficult to get rid of once established.

I have had the most wonderful show of Iris Germanica this year and will come back to them in July to show you how I propagate this majestic beauty.

If June becomes very dry don’t just water but mulch as well this will help retain the moisture.

All fear of frost should be over by now so you can go ahead and plant outdoor tomatoes, cucumbers, marrows, courgettes and winter brassicas.

The greenhouse really comes in to its own now. Tomato plants will be ready for the removal of the first side shoots. Peppers, both chilli and bell will be racing on now and may even start to form their first fruit. Indoor cucumbers should give their first crop in June, pick them young to keep them fruiting and they taste better when young. Melons and aubergine will take a while longer to develop but are well worth persevering with.

If we get a really warm June please ventilate the greenhouse and conservatory, damp down if necessary. If exceptionally hot apply shade to the glass.

Most greenhouse plants need a daily water and a weekly feed. Tomorite is an excellent feed and suitable for all of the above. Be careful not to over water and be very vigilant for pests and diseases.

Fuchsia cuttings should be ready to pot on, handle very carefully with the primary leaf as they snap like a twig.

Its time to bring your house plants out for a few weeks fresh air. That includes carnations that you may be growing in the greenhouse. Carnations will flower 365 days a year if properly looked after.

Place your houseplants in partial shade ideally beside that bench that you are just about to rest on and have your first glass of the day. My choice would have been a drop of Talisker single malt with 2 ice cubes but for medicinal purposes I am no longer allowed so it will be a long cool tumbler of thyme and lemonade.

Happy gardening, Mick


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