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Gardening In June

1st of June 2011

What an incredible spring we have had this year! April was about its hottest and driest
on record. With such low rainfall, we might be in for a hosepipe ban later in the
summer so it is time to make sure that water butts are filled without delay.

Flowers and shrubs.
Hanging baskets, window boxes and containers can be planted with geraniums, fuchsias, and surfinia petunias, million bells, begonias and busy Lizzies together with verbena, lobelia and various trailing plants. Use a good compost and add SwellGel to help conserve moisture and a slow release fertilizer. There are still collections of bedding plants in the garden centre ready for planting out. Now is the time to sow wallflowers, Canterbury bells and sweet Williams so that they are ready for planting in the autumn. Start to take softwood cuttings of shrubs. Carefully remove dead flowers from rhododendrons and keep up with deadheading the perennials. Feed roses and shrubs with something like Toprose fertilizer. Every few weeks spray roses with a fungicide such as Roseclear to control black spot, rust and mildew. Provado will help to control lily beetle and other pests on ornamentals. Make sure that good thick mulches are put around trees and shrubs to help conserve moisture.

Vegetables and fruit.
Plant out runner beans, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, marrows, courgettes, sweet corn, celery and leeks. Sow peas, french beans and salads such as radish, lettuce and spring onions. Cover brassicas with fine netting to keep off the cabbage white butterflies. Feed with Growmore fertilizer or use fish blood and bone. Hoe regularly to keep the weeds away and water often. Cover soft fruit withnetting to protect from birds.

The greenhouse.
Apply shading to protect plants from the strong sunlight. Keep up the humidity by damping down regularly and ventilate in hot weather. Remove side shoots from tomatoes and keep them watered at regular intervals to make sure that fruit does not develop blossom end rot.

The lawn.
Keep grass cut regularly with the mower blades set quite high during dry weather. Feed from time to time. Sow new grass areas or lay turf if the weather is not too hot and water until established. Once established, lawns should never be watered because watering discourages grass to become healthily deep rooted. During a drought, a healthy lawn may turn brown but will soon become green again once the rains arrive.

Shows and events.
Chipperfield has its summer flower show on 18 June and the Bovingdon show is on 25 June. Gardeners’ World Live is at the N.E.C. Birmingham from 15-19 June. (Tickets 0844 581 1352, bbcgardenersworldlive.com) and the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is from 5-10 July (tickets 0844 338 7526, rhs.org.uk/hamptoncourtpalace). Local gardens open this month include Ashridge on 5 June, Serge Hill Gardens, Bedmond, on 19 June and Waterdell House, Croxley Green, on 26 June. Maria Coote will give a talk on Pests and Diseases on 27 June in the Small Hall at 7.30pm.
Terry Simmonds

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