“I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.”
– L. M. Montgomery
June is a green month with trees, shrubs and plants arriving at their lush peak. Frost is a thing of the past and everything can now be hardened off and planted out into final position.
Our gardens truly come to life this month and that doesn’t simply apply to the plants. Tadpoles will now be metamorphosising into frogs and leaving garden ponds and birds will be feeding their young with as many caterpillars and aphids as they can find. Frogs, toads, birds, etc are all our unpaid helpers, unless you count the small fortunes some of us spend on our ponds, peanuts and seed!
One of the other many delights this month is sitting out late, enjoying the long evenings whilst listening to the birds putting themselves to bed and squabbling prettily over the most desirable branches on which to roost. Patio pots containing some of the night-scented flowers listed below will add an extra something special.
RHS Chelsea Flower Show Winner
We are delighted to announce that Sedum Atlantis has been crowned as the RHS Chelsea Plant of the Year 2019 Winner!
Sedum Atlantis is a plant for our times…drought tolerant, suitable for small spaces and attractive to bees. Its striking foliage forms rosettes of serrated green leaves with thick, creamy margins and tips that turn a pink blush in the autumn. The pink-tinged flower buds open to bee magnet yellow flowers.
The new leaves emerge in a beautiful creamy white, before developing into an attractive green with striking white borders and gradually forming a half metre wide cushion of drought-resistant leaves. To top it off, this plant then covers itself with a foam of bee and butterfly magnet yellow flowers from July through to September. Sedum Atlantis is a dramatic and versatile garden plant.
Versatile and happy in a hanging basket, window box, pot, rockery or border, this winning plant is available to order now.
If the weather allows you to do nothing else this month try and complete the following gardening jobs:
- The longer days and warmer soil will be encouraging all things to grow, including weeds! Keep your hoe, kneeler pad and fork handy.
- Pinching the growing tips from your bedding plants will encourage more flowers and a bushier plant.
- Summer hanging baskets can now be placed in position. In warm weather, they will quickly dry out so don’t forget them during your watering regime.
- Nothing smartens up a garden more quickly than a neatly mown lawn. Mow at least once a week and keep the edges well-trimmed.
- Containers that have been hardened off can be moved to their flowering position. Place any scented ones near doors and open windows.
- If you haven’t done so already then put plant supports and stakes in place for your taller perennials. Once they start to flop it will be too late!
- As your tomato plants start setting fruit, feed them with a high potash feed, every 10 to 14 days.
- If June lives up to its reputation and becomes a scorcher then you will need water, water and then water again. With some feeding in between!
- Evergreens can be given a trim now. If you feel artistic then June is the perfect month to try some topiary. Doesn’t every garden need a dragon?
- At last, you can remove the yellowed foliage from daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs. Mark where they are so that you don’t dig them up when looking to plant something new.
I’m Just Mad About Saffron
Call me mellow yellow but as well as being one of the world’s most expensive spices saffron is also one of my favourites. Easy to grow in well-drained soil in a sunny spot, Saffron Crocus bulbs produce deliciously scented purple blooms in autumn, when colour can be at a premium. Once they are in flower you can head out early in the morning with a pair of tweezers and gently remove the red stigmas dangling from the flowers. This is your much-prized saffron. Simply dry it thoroughly, store in an airtight container and use it to enhance your cooking.
Order your saffron crocus bulbs now for delivery in August, the right time for planting.
Christine’s Patch – Grafted Veg Growing
Hi, I’m Christine Loader, Horticultural and Technical Advisor here at Suttons. I have been an avid gardener all my life and have a passion for growing Fruit and Vegetables. When I am not in my greenhouse I can usually be found on my allotment. Gardening has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I look forward to sharing my expertise with you in our newsletter. This month we’re looking at how to get the most from your grafted veg plants.
Your grafted vegetable plug plants should all have grown well by now and be ready to be planted into their final place. They can be grown on in a greenhouse, polytunnel or hardened off and plant outside in a sunny and sheltered position.
Choose large pots, a minimum of 30 cm (12”) deep and wide or larger if possible and use a good quality compost or grow them in well-prepared beds. Please remember grafted vegetable plants are not suitable to be grown in growbags as there is not enough space for the roots to develop fully.
Ensure the graft remains well above the soil level and should any roots develop from above the graft, pinch them off and do not let them root into the soil.
Stake the plants with strong bamboo canes and tie them in as they are growing up.
Grafted plants are more vigorous than standard plants and will require more watering and feeding. Start feeding with a high potash fertiliser when the first flower buds develop and feed twice a week when the first fruits are growing.
Check your plants regularly against greenfly or other pests and remove any leaves that are damaged or showing signs of deterioration.
Cordon tomatoes need their sides shoots pinched out. Check larger fruits for Blossom End Rot, if the fruits start to go black at the base, remove them and increase watering. These are thirsty plants and the soil around the roots must be kept moist and not left to dry out. Only start to de-leaf tomato plants later in the autumn when you have pinched the growing tips out and just need to ripen off the tomatoes that are on the vine. If you grow the variety Sugar Plum Raisin and want to have vine dried tomatoes at the end of the season, stop watering the plants otherwise the fruit will not dry out but go mouldy instead.
Cucumber plants are all female and will not produce male flowers unless put under extreme stress. Remove any male flowers to avoid bitter fruits. Avoid over-cropping in the early stages, just thin out the fruits and you will get a more even crop throughout the season. Provide good ventilation and humidity, regular watering and feeding and avoiding hot and dry greenhouse atmosphere. Dampen down the greenhouse path if necessary.
Chilli plants perform best in hot greenhouses, in fact, letting the soil dry out a little between watering and stressing the plants produces hotter chillies! If the plants are reluctant to set fruit, increase the humidity and mist the flowering plants.
Aubergine plants perform best in a greenhouse or on a hot and sheltered patio. The large leaves act as solar panels and should not be thinned out. Pick the fruits regularly when they are about 12-15 cm long. The more you pick the more the plant will produce.
Melon and squashes grow happily outdoors in a protected bed, growing them through black polythene warms up the soil underneath but also increases the temperature around the plants. Melons will benefit from cloches or fleece if temperatures are on the low side. Check the grafting point and do not let any side shoots from the graft develop as this would usually be rootstock. If the rootstock takes hold then the grafted part starts to weaken and will perform poorly.
For comprehensive growing instructions for all our grafted vegetables, please go to ‘Growing Guides’ on our website.
Hopefully, every gardener will have the opportunity, weather and warmth to enjoying sitting outside on at least a few summer evenings. Chatting and eating with friends, reading, or maybe just having a doze and enjoying the night air. And hopefully, that air will carry the subtle fragrance from night-scented flowers.
Some plants such as roses and honeysuckle offer up their scent during the heat of the day whilst others, such as the herbs mint and rosemary, release their fragrance only when the leaves have been disturbed. And then there are those plants that hold onto their scent during the day, only releasing it when the sun has gone, and the cooler evening has arrived.
So, why do some plants only release their scent after dark? The reason is to attract night-time pollinators such as moths and beetles. The scent simply acts as a guide for the insects, they follow it directly to the plant in search of nectar. For this same reason, the flowers tend to be pale, often white, as this makes them easier for the pollinating insects to see in the dark.
These night-scented plants need to be positioned where you will most get the benefit. There is little point in planting them in a part of the garden that won’t be visited after dusk. So, plant them in beds and pots close to your patio, along paths, beneath windows and beside doorways.
Ideally chose a fairly sheltered spot. You want the fragrance to sit gently on the night-air rather than simply being blown away. But also remember to give the day-time growing conditions that the plant needs!
Just one word of caution. These plants are doing all they can to attract moths so if you don’t like moths, you’d better not plant them!
- Nicotiana Evening Fragrance – A mixture of flesh pink, rose, red, lilac, mauve, purple and white flowers. Wonderfully fragrant. A mix of pink, red, lilac, purple and white trumpet-like flowers
- Night-scented Stock – Delicate stems of small lilac flowers
- Hesperis – Commonly known as “sweet rocket” with clusters of small white flowers
- Night Phlox – A profusion of small delicate flowers above lance-shaped leaves
- Globe Artichoke – Architectural by day and scented by night
- Honeysuckle – Many but not all honeysuckles are night-scented so choose carefully
- Verbena bonariensis – Delicately scented both night and day
Offer of the Month
To celebrate another wonderful win at the Chelsea Flower show, we are delighted to offer our Chelsea Favourites Collection at a very special price.
Add a touch of Chelsea to your outside space with our selection of classic perennials inspired by the show. This selection of 6 perennial varieties (3 of each) will bring colour and height to your borders and containers, not only this year but next year as well.
Varieties include Coreopsis Sunkiss, Rudbeckia Goldsturm, Geum Mrs Bradshaw, Lupin Russell Hybrid, Verbena Bonariensis and Heuchera Palace Purple, which are all familiar sights in the gardens of Chelsea, making them key to creating a look inspired by the show.