Embrace the Majesty of Summer

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June garden - Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show 2023 – Tom Massey’s wildlife garden for the Royal Entomological Society [Photo credit: Alamy]

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From Gentle Beginnings to Summer’s Powerhouse: June Transformation

Written by Adam Woolcott

June comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion or so they say – either way, the days are now almost at their maximum length, and the sun is super high in the sky and is really packing a punch! And after a cold spring, our gardens are now nesting down ready for the beauty and majesty of summer.

Now, we’re into June and Gardeners’ World Live starts tomorrow with its amazing gardens, products, features, talks, plants and everything garden related. But first, let’s look back to this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

Highlights from Chelsea Flower Show 2023!

This year’s Chelsea Flower Show felt very different and was one of my favourite years, although I wasn’t there this year. There seemed to be a trend towards much wilder, less defined and manicured gardens; with wild plants and recycled materials featuring heavily. This always leads to the question of whether some of these exhibits are gardens or what some people call installations. Who cares anyway, if they look magnificent, bring joy and pleasure, provide habitats for wildlife and help sustain the wild environment then does it matter what you call it?

Chelsea Flower Show Winner - The School Food Matters Garden

Chelsea Flower Show Winner – The School Food Matters Garden by Designed by Harry Holding. [Photo credit: www.rhs.org.uk]

It was interesting to see one garden featuring dandelions and I chuckled to myself as I remembered our first Chelsea garden back in 2006 which featured nothing but totally wild and native plants including the beautiful dandelion, it was our first gold medal-winning garden.

Nothing but totally wild and native plants…It was our first award winning garden!

I remember at the time a member of the press commented on the dandelions and asking me if this was our way of putting a finger up at the RHS, I was quite taken aback by the comment, but it proved that to suddenly buck the trend can cause quite a reaction.

There were still some very traditional-looking Chelsea gardens this year with one achieving some fantastic accolades, but I felt a trend as I’ve said above, towards wilder, looser, less rigid planted gardens, so let’s see in 2024 if it’s a trend or a fad.

Embrace the Beauty of June in Your Own Garden

Coming back to the real world and our own gardens, June is one of those in-between months, the spring bulbs with their fabulous colours have now faded but the full glory of the herbaceous borders with their flamboyant perennials hasn’t fully kicked in yet and some trees and shrubs still have emerging and developing leaves.

Flowers to have in your June garden

A top priority for June must be watering and feeding, unless you’re an experienced gardener it can be easy not to realise just how quickly hanging baskets, troughs, pots and planters can dry out, and don’t be fooled by heavy showers These quite often make no difference to the above. Feeding is also important for plants in containers as most composts only have about six weeks’ worth of feed in them and as your plants are restricted to the compost in the pot they can’t obtain nutrients elsewhere, so feed using a liquid feed, tomato feed in general is an excellent choice or indeed seaweed feed.

Continue to support taller perennials as they grow to prevent them from toppling over in high winds or heavy rain, once the leaves on your spring bulbs have completely died back the foliage can be removed and deadhead your roses after flowering. This involves cutting the stem above an outward-facing bud under the dead blooms where it’s at a thickness of something from a knitting needle to a pencil.

Cut the grass a little and often and again continue to feed the lawn for that lush, green look but always raise the cutting height and cut less often if the grass becomes dry and drought-stressed, and use a liquid feed that gets to work immediately and doesn’t need watering in.

Combatting Pests and Diseases the Eco-Friendly Way!

Now we’re into summer and everything is growing so well unfortunately pests and diseases will also flourish, incredibly the usual culprits such as slugs and snails, aphids, and lily beetle. Spotting these pests early makes it much easier to keep them under control, so familiarise yourself with their habits and life cycle. Yes, you still can buy insecticides and controls for these pests but there are now many ways of dealing with these critters using environmentally-friendly methods. This year, I’ve had amazing results keeping my Hostas free from slug and snail damage using a homemade concoction of garlic and cinnamon mixed with water which I then spray onto the foliage.

Master the Art of Hedge Trimming

June garden tips - hedge trimming

Towards the end of June and once you’re sure there’s no more nesting birds it’s probably time to start trimming and tidying your hedges, topiary, and certain shrubs.

When trimming hedges try to trim in such a way that they are wider at the base and taper towards the top, this will ensure maximum light for the whole hedge and create greater stability. If you can put old sheets at the base of the hedges to catch the trimmings, this will be so much easier than laboriously raking them all up!

Years ago, I remember using an electric hedge trimmer and cutting through the cable whilst using it, fortunately, I was fine, but it really terrified me as to what may have happened, luckily these days there are amazing cordless machines totally free from this hazard.

Webb has a super lightweight, easy-to-use Webb 50cm Battery-Powered Hedge Trimmer with a 16mm cutting capacity and a run time of up to 45 minutes, so no more cable worries – just complete freedom to trim whatever you need.

Tackling Edges and Borders

June garden jobs - line trimming

Earlier we were talking about feeding and caring for your lawn and discussing mowing techniques but what about those areas your mower can’t reach, along the edge of fences, around garden ornaments and planters – and also the edges of your borders?

Webb has created an easy-to-use Webb 25cm Cordless Line Trimmer which doubles up as a lawn edger with a telescopic handles handle, guide wheel, flower guard and auto-feed cutting head so you can now easily tackle the areas your mower can’t

As I’m writing this blog, the sky outside is deep blue, the air is warm and my garden is looking fresh, lush and is showing great promise for summer. So the moral of the story is, try not to be inside looking out this month but instead try to find time to be outside and truly enjoy your June garden and for a while just stop, relax, savour and soak up what you’ve so lovingly created.

Happy Gardening,

Adam

Adam has over 30 years of experience as a professional gardener and has many accolades, but is probably best known for his four Gold Medals at The Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show and his three BBC/RHS People’s Choice Awards at the show (of which he is particularly proud) which he won as one half of Woolcott & Smith.

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