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June 2013 Newsletter

June 2013 Newsletter


June is the month when most of Britain gets into its gardening stride.
In England the bank holiday and The Chelsea Flower Show have just finished while in Scotland the Gardening Scotland show at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston is about to start. And Welsh gardeners have the Royal Welsh Show to look forward to in July!
Just like the show calendar the growing conditions all over the UK differ from North to South, East to West. Frosts aren’t unheard of in June especially in the Scottish highlands where it still pays to protect plants but generally throughout the UK weather is kinder, the soil is warming up and plants are raring to go.

Make the most of any warm, sunny weather to get jobs done but don’t work so hard that you forget to enjoy your outside space! I know from experience as a professional gardener that it’s easy to focus so hard on the weeding and planting that you never really appreciate the full glory of the garden.
So make time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done... and don’t beat yourself up about the jobs that still need doing. Ideas often change as inspiration strikes.

I’m convinced the best gardening is a journey, not a destination...
So let’s enjoy the ride!

Feed Plants Hot sunshine one day and pouring rain the next may not be easy for us to manage but our plants will love it. You can almost watch the stems lengthening and flower buds starting to burst.
Warm, wet soil encourages strong roots and healthy growth and plants also take up nutrients very quickly in these optimum growing conditions so now is an ideal time to give plants a boost with some feed.
Anything that feeds the soil as well as the plants is a bonus at this time of year when growth is at its strongest. Seaweed is a great natural fertiliser that benefits all kinds of plants from edible crops to ornamentals. It’s the magic ingredient in Bio-Gro Black Gold and in the Bio-Gro Plant Invigorator.
Invest in improving the soil and plants will romp away with increased health and vigour. The healthier the plant the more able it is to shrug off pests and combat disease, not to mention added flower power!
If you’re growing roses they’ll really benefit from a specialised rose feed for bigger, better blooms and disease resistance.

 

Buy 9 cell trays of bedding -the more you buy the more you save!
It’s not too late to get young plants that will flower this year so if you thought you’d missed the boat there’s still time to choose a great selection including these favourite plants: Fluffy Ageratum Champion, Mini Marguerites, Dahlia Figaro Mix and gorgeous Dianthus Parfait Mix and for tubs in or semi-shaded borders Nicotiana Cuba Mixed is perfect .
Or try these for vibrant containers and bedding schemes: French Marigold Durango Mix, Lobelia Trailing Mix, Petunia Deep Dark Dawn, Petunia Limbo Mix and lovely Verbena Quartz Mix
They all arrive as garden ready plants in 9 cell trays that are deep enough to keep the plants growing without check; handy if work or weather means you have to wait for the weekend to plant them.
As well as being ideal temporary homes for the plants the cell trays are sturdy enough to be reusable, the lid allows ventilation for the plants inside and will also make a very useful mini propagator once the young plants are in their new positions in the garden.
At this time of year most young plants can be planted straight into their growing positions outside. But if you want to make sure that they really acclimatise well to their new homes you can also pot them on into slightly bigger pots. Use a multi-purpose compost or John Innes No.1 and let them put down a few more roots for extra sturdy plants.
Give them a pot just a size up from the cells they are in. No plant enjoys being repotted into a overlarge pot, I always think it’s a bit like us when we went from a snug familiar home into ‘big school’ for the first time, it helps to be put into a nursery class first to get acclimatised!

 

Veg Spray for pests and protect vulnerable plants from slugs and snails
You won’t need me to tell you that it’s prime pest time! The evidence is all around… Slugs and snails love warm wet soil and the ants and aphids are also making their presence felt in the garden.
There are plenty of ways to control pests but vigilance is your best line of defence to start with. An aphid problem is easy to nip in the bud if you spot it quickly, small infestations can be rubbed off stems or jetted off with a quick blast from the hose. But if things have gone too far there are still controls to use such as sprays. And now, after lots of rain, it is the best time to use nematodes against many garden pest. Water them in and say goodbye to pests including slugs, above and below ground, for six weeks

 


Grow some flowers for cutting.
Flowers from the shops are beautiful but they can be expensive, especially if you like a variety, but picking flowers from the garden is a cost effective way of keeping vases full. Some of the best cut flowers are easy to grow at home.
Flowers such as alstroemeria and late flowering chrysanthemums can provide cut flowers for month on end and well into autumn and their blooms last for ages in a vase,
Alstromerias come in vibrant shades of red or purple blues while the chrysanthemums are supplied in 5 lovely colours that range from Red, purple, bronze and golden yellow to ultra-fashionable green variety ‘Froggy’.
You won’t need a vast amount of space to have your own cutting garden. These plants will happily grow in ordinary garden soils in an open position.
Give the chrysanthemums some support and pick alstroemeria often to keep the flowers coming.

 


Grow something special. We have some very special Garden Orchids in our summer catalogue that give gardeners a chance to grow something just that little bit out of the ordinary. I love them all but can’t wait to try the Southern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa) in particular. It’s got that gorgeous wild orchid look and will be perfectly hardy outside. I have a spot in mind for it that stays moist in summer so it should do well.
If you fancy starting a collection all the orchids are pretty easy so you won’t need to be an intrepid plant hunter or own a grand hothouse to admire their beautiful flowers! Stocks are limited so hurry if you want to try something special.

 

Tips for the garden...


Mulch borders after showers
We are having April showers… in June!
I know it’s perverse but just take advantage of the wet soil and spread some mulch. It won’t matter if it’s homemade compost, leaf mould or any other sort of bulky organic matter even grass clippings will do .As long as the mulch goes on top of wet soil it will keep the moisture in and act as a shield to stop the sun from drying out the soil beneath(That is when we do eventually get some much needed sun!) .
But as soon as weather is dry and sunny don’t spread mulch onto dry soils always mulch after rain. Because the mulch acts as a barrier it can seal rain out as well as in.
Mulching on wet soil now will also stop weeds from growing and prevent weed seeds germinating. It also helps to keep shallow rooted plants such as raspberries, magnolias and rhododendrons cool and keeps hungry and thirsty plants such as clematis,roses,sweet peas and beans topped up with moisture.


Put out baskets and containers
In the next few weeks it should be safe to get your hanging baskets, patio containers and tender plants outside permanently. It’s been a cold spring –the coldest in half a century, but June may yet turn out to be ‘flaming’-so here’s hoping!
If you’ve already planted up containers the plants should have bushed out nicely by now. Keep pinching out the tips of any straggly plants to encourage lots of branching stems that will carry plenty of flowers.
If you still have to plant up your bedding displays our ready-designed basket and container mixes are a brilliant way to get a designer style display.
Choose from four fabulous mixtures, each one is a unique blend of plants.


Support climbers
Roses and perennial climbers are putting on lots of new growth now, the slow weather has meant climbers are very leafy and also very heavy when rain falls and windy weather strikes. Make sure plant supports and trellises are strong enough to cope with the extra weight.
Annual climbers such as Sweet peas, thunbergia and rhodochiton also need secure supports.
One climber that won’t need a long term support is Hydrangea anomala it’s self-clinging once established and ideal for a north wall. But if you want one act fast, our stocks are very limited.

 



Prune hedges
Tradition has it that box hedges are trimmed around Derby Day. All over the country it is something of a ritual to get the shears and secateurs out and tackle the hedges in the first weekend in June!
Small hedges such as low clipped box hedging should be fine to trim this weekend but check before you cut larger hedges because some late nesting birds are still raising fledglings inside.
You can cut small-leaved hedges such as box, yew, privet and conifers with shears but it’s best to use secateurs for large-leaved hedges such as laurels and bay to avoid damaging the foliage.


 
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