We have well passed that date telling us about that unsettled weather of May even though it is one of the most lovely months for the wild flowers and the first Roses. Now we find ourselves having to ‘dead-head’ the Roses and any other flowering plant for that matter if we want them to continue flowering.
Summer frequently comes from simply one day to the next, the weather settles, the temperature rises and there you are preparing for an outdoor lifestyle, less clothes and bedding, the weather we have all been waiting for. June starts to be a very busy month in the garden as we creep up to the longest day, it is still planting time but above all its transplanting.
As both vegetables and flowers grow they need more room, be they in pots or directly in the garden so giving each one more space can only but enhance it. Thin out the Carrots and eat the tiny tender ones but at the same time giving those left behind more room to fill out. Transplanting of course needs careful handling with the ground well prepared, a deep enough hole to take whatever is to be planted in it.
A sprinkle of good compost always helps and plenty of water before settling the plant in. Make sure to take a good sized root-ball, that means there should be a fairly good compact amount of soil around the roots forming this ‘root-ball’. If the roots are hardly aware of the move then you will find they just carry on growing and never seem to wilt back. They will need a little extra watering for a few days to help settle the soil into its new place.
Now I have a fun anecdote about a ‘root-ball’, not exactly transplanting but thinning out the masses of Bignonia that can take over any garden, one clump came up as I pulled it, ball and all intact. In this case the Bignonia had rooted itself into a tennis ball that had been left behind by my grandsons whilst playing and there was my ‘root-ball’. You never know what surprises you can find in a garden.
With the fine sunny weather the garden is full of the birds and bees and butterflies , some birds are busy collecting twigs and any odd bits to make the nests but the butterflies are something else. Although we love to see them unfortunately there is always the caterpillar that will decimate any healthy leaf.
Turn any leaf over that may have a hole or two and underneath you will find a whole family of tiny caterpillars or the eggs waiting to hatch. To my way of thinking they go along with slugs and snails as real pests in any garden and that doesn’t mean they won’t get into potted plants on the terrace as well. Another butterfly making itself known again at this time of year is the tiny grey one that lays its eggs on Geraniums.
There is a pest control just for this butterfly available from the farm shops. This is a comparatively recent invasion said to have come over from North Africa somewhere. Another real intrusion in pots can be the grub of the vine weevil, a pale creamy coloured grub that can easily be the size of your little finger.
This pest lives off the roots in a pot and you will probably only be aware it’s there when the plant begins to wilt. As I mentioned last week, potted plants on a terrace may find this summer heat just a little bit too intense so be sure to move some pots into the shade and give them not only water but they will be needing some sort of feeding from time to time as extra watering can be known to wash out the nutrients in the soil if not topped up.
The every day maintenance of the garden will now include the regular cutting of the lawn and trimming the edges. The lawn will look better after a little feed of an all purpose fertiliser and of course frequent watering. Cutting back all unwanted growth on shrubs and trees is imperative now, whilst the growth is young and green it snips off easily and helps the air flow through the branches to keep them cool and with a bit of luck avoid those fungal diseases and mildew that grow so rapidly in our summer temperatures.
I am frequently making comments about fertiliser or pest control etc, any of this can be purchased from the Co-op or local garden shop who will always be able to advise you on any products you may need.