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Whatever the size of your plot, there is time to exhale after the manic month of May – just don’t ease up too much and let all the hard work and love you have put in go to waste.
June is all about keeping up with watering and bearing down on weeds to give young plants the best possible start.
But don’t stop having fun and being creative in your garden this weekend – and watch for those subtle daily changes that are happening all around you.
Easy gardening projects to tackle in June
Primroses in flower during March and April give me a huge amount of joy when I’m out walking with my dogs. Like me, you may have a few that you enjoy in your garden, too. At this time of year, they have finished flowering and can be divided to increase numbers.
The quickest way to do this is by lifting the clump, dividing it into smaller pieces and replanting in shaded spots. Water the freshly planted clumps well in dry periods to make sure they root successfully.
Dig in those dahlias
By early June, most of us should have seen the back of the frosts. If a late one is forecast, however, cover any tender plants to prevent damage. All being well, dahlias can now be planted out into pots and borders.
Dahlias are hungry and benefit from well-rotted manure or compost being dug into the ground before planting and a good watering in dry spells.
Once they are planted, pinch out the top two sets of leaves to encourage the growth of a more branched and bushy plant for the summer – a bushier plant means more flowers.
Show support for the iris
I’m a big fan of the tall bearded iris – an attention grabber that copes well with sunny, dry spots, such as the base of a south-facing wall. Some of my favourites are ‘Stepping Out’, which has beautiful purple and white flowers; ‘Jane Phillips’, with scented, pale blue flowers; and the exotic-looking ‘Rajah’, with crimson and yellow flowers – all are well worth growing.
In more exposed positions these tall, dramatic flowers may need a little support.
Push a 75cm-long bamboo cane into the soil next to the flower spike and loosely tie the stem to the cane to keep the blooms standing tall.
This weekend, why not create a small pond in a pot? Any container that can be modified to hold water will be fine. Cover any drainage hole with plastic (for example, a section from a plastic milk bottle) and use an outdoor silicone sealant around the plastic to form a watertight seal
You will be amazed at the speed at which nature moves in once a few pond plants are in place. This is a great one for kids to try, and the RSPB has a guide to help: visit rspb.org.uk and search “Create a mini pond”.
Two garden projects to plan
Quite often by June most planting out is done and dusted, which means that there is a lot at stake if we get dry weather. Make sure that you keep anything recently planted well-watered for the next month or so. Watering first thing in the morning or late at night is ideal to avoid excessive moisture loss through evaporation.
Don’t let all that hard work growing your plants go to waste by not continuing that nurturing relationship once young plants are out in the “real world”.
Seek out suckers
Plants are growing at their fastest in May and June. Most of that growth is welcome, but you need to keep an eye on certain plants – for example, shrubs, trees and roses that are “grafted”, which means that the stems of one plant have been fused and grown on the roots of another.
The root system, known as the rootstock, is generally very vigorous and is used for its strong growth rather than decorative value. If you see an eruption of growth coming from the base of a grafted shrub, rose or tree, these may be root suckers and should be removed.
The way to tell is the leaves: they will be slightly different from those on the main plant and the growth rate will be faster. Prune those suckers down to stop them taking over!
This article is kept updated with the latest information.