The mad spring season of massive growth is past and canny gardeners can, to a certain extent, sit back and enjoy the view come June – wisteria, roses and lupins should all be in full and glorious bloom right now. That said, you still need to tend to your plants, give them a good mid-season fertiliser boost and of course, harvest your veg and fruit crops. June also marks the start of peak pest season and you’ll find you are not the only ones enjoying your garden’s abundance! June 21st is the longest day of the year, so celebrate in the sunshine of the great outdoors.
If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance.
- Bernard Williams (1929–2003)
Your garden needs a lot of watering in the summer months, especially if the temperatures soar and the summer sun comes out. Save water and avoid scorching your plants by watering in the mornings and evenings only, and if drought conditions begin, be water-wise. If you haven’t got water butts, get them installed now and make the most of what rain we do get through the summer.
As much as the sun helps flowers and crops grow, it also promotes weed growth. Hoe regularly and mulch if required. Look closely at leaves (both sides) for eggs and larvae, and keep a close eye on aphid numbers.
Mow once a week or so, depending on rain. The key in summer is to mow little and often, but do, if you can, keep an area unmowed for wildlife and wildflowers. If composting, distribute the grass cuttings as too heavy a layer of grass can’t breathe and won’t compost. If the weather becomes very dry, leave the grass a little longer to protect your lawn from scorching. Prune spring flowering shrubs (camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons, etc) and cut back wisteria, if you have it, once the flowering has finished. Prune magnolias in full leaf, and clip back your hedges to keep them in shape.
Dead head all flowers to encourage further growth, and stake tall blooms as they grow. Give plants in pots liquid feed every couple of weeks. Pinch out shoots to encourage bushy plants, and pinch out a few buds to encourage bigger blooms on the remaining ones.
In the grow your own section of the garden, you’ll want to pinch out all side shoots on tomatoes to give as much nourishment to the fruit themselves. In general, you better be prepared for the June drop of strawberries and salad leaves, but you will need to cover your berries with netting so you will get to eat them rather than the birds. Potatoes crops should be coming thick and fast too and if you’ve planted pak choi, it’s peak season for this as well.
Give your houseplants a summer holiday and put them outside – in not too hot a sun trap though, and keep them well watered.
You will need to shade the greenhouse to prevent scorching inside if June does indeed mark the start of summer.