Your garden in June
"Have you ever stopped to think how different our world would be without the bumble bee?"
June in the garden and the plight of the bumble bee
June is the ultimate month for garden lovers as all the hard work you put into your garden throughout April and May, preparing the soil, feeding the plants, planting up the boarders, weeding and turning over the soil, has now paid off. The beautiful display you planted in April has now come to fruition and if you have been clever, it will continue to do so for the remainder of the summer.
The best part of this time of year is seeing all the lovely flowers in abundance, the array of colours, sizes, shapes and fragrances. The only thing that tops it is the wildlife, watching the small birds trying to work out how to get the seeds from the bird feeder and laughing at fat pigeons who nudge the smaller birds out the way. The birds drive my little Jack Russell “Bert” potty, it is lovely to watch, which brings me to my next point; where are the bees and butterflies? Ok, so it may still be early for butterflies but they should be with us by now, and this seems to be the same with bees.
As I write this month’s column from my own garden, I look up and into my flower beds and I cannot see a single bee. This I find worrying as my garden is full of bee friendly plants and I cannot do any more to encourage them, yet they still elude me. Normally at this time of year, bees make the most of the succulent, sweet nectar that plants produce and the plants normally hum from the buzzing of the bees, yet I sit in near silence, apart from Bert getting angry at the pigeons on the fence!
So what can we do to attract more bees to our gardens? In my case not a lot more plant wise, but you can follow my lead and plant more bee friendly plants. Plants such as Achillea, Digitalis (known to us as the Foxglove), Echinacea and Nepeta are to name but a few. Pesticides are also incredibly damaging, please try not to use them, if you do insist on using chemicals I would suggest doing so on a cloudy day when bees may not be so active or into the evening when the bees have clocked off for the day.
Have you ever stopped to think how different our world would be without the bumble bee? How would our plants pollinate themselves if it wasn’t for the hard little worker, our black and yellow garden friend? This has got me thinking how I can help more than I already do. My conclusion… I am going to get my very own beehive. I thought it would be great fun to try. Not only will it help the bee community but I will receive some lovely honey in return for my efforts, oh and you get to read all about it and hopefully try it out for yourself next year?!
Jobs for June
June really is a wonderful month for enjoying your garden, full of scent and colour. Here are my top jobs for the glorious month of June to ensure the best of your garden.
You can now cut back
Winter Aconites, Snowdrops and Daffodils. Leaving them for as long as you have ensures the goodness in the plant has had time to revert back to the bulb, this feeds the plant and helps you get the best out of it the following year, this is a must do for Me, My Spade & I!
Watering at this time of year is essential and you must water at the right time. I love to get home after a hard day’s work in the gardens, kick off my boots and get the sprinkler out. Granted I may have a beer in hand but this is not essential (wine is just as effective!). My point being watering at this time in the evening means it will not evaporate in the heat of the day. Water late and this will help get the best out of the plants during the day. I also like to use water butts, saving rainfall is as important as watering itself.
Possibly one of the most enjoyable jobs in the garden. Whilst the sprinkler is buzzing away in the background I like to mill through the flower beds deadheading where needed. Deadheading plants such as roses will give you more and more flowers throughout the year. Don’t be afraid to remove 2-3 inches below the dead flower where possible, this will stop the plant from getting too big.
Weed, weed, weed
As May comes to an end and June starts, your plants will have had an extraordinary growth spurt, so will the weeds. Hopefully you will have followed my last couple of month’s jobs, so the weeds will not be causing you too much trouble, as weeding tends to be a repetitive theme. With the rain showers and heat of May, the weeds will want to grow quickly alongside the flowers. I like to put in a huge effort at the start of the year to weed as much as possible, this will make the tedious job of weeding that little bit easier as the hard work has already been done and you can now spot-weed and get through the garden very quickly.
Whilst you are in the beds working away on the weeding I would advise you look at your geraniums. This is where I ask you to be brave, although your geraniums will be full of greenery and life, the flowers may be “over” this means they may have gone past their best and are now in decline. From here on they will only get worse, so, be brave and cut them back, by this I mean cut them back to the floor, by doing so you will encourage the plant to re-grow and produce a second flush of flowers, so be brave!
By now the lawn will be in full flow and growing very quickly, in some gardens I mow twice a week, however I realise this is a luxury so urge you to make the effort to cut the lawn on a regular basis. Lawns can have a vicious cycle, the grass gets long, you miss a week, it then takes longer to cut next time, feeling more like a chore, the cycle gets worse and only encourages moss and weeds to grow or even take over. Mow weekly as a preventative measure to making your life harder than it needs to be.
Me My Spade and I, based in Oxfordshire and provide specialist horticultural garden services throughout the Home Counties and London. From residential houses to commercial sites which includes full garden design, plant selection, landscaping and installation.
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