“If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance.” – Bern Williams
Is there anything more beautiful than walking among roses on a beautiful June morning? It’s that time of year, and as the days move on the floral pageant grows. How lucky are we to be surrounded by this wonderful sight?
This year, 2015, we celebrate the 80th anniversary of the rose that I consider to be the greatest rose of all time – the peace rose. It was bred in France by the great Francis Meilland in 1935 and it was the first rose to be inducted into the rose hall of fame in 1976.
Millions of these beautiful roses have been planted all around the world. It has vigour, with disease-resistant foliage and very large scented yellow flowers. Buy one for your garden this summer and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
It is summer in the garden, so take a look with fresh eyes. We welcome the sunflower, the beautiful summer bedding, and the wealth of colour of lovely shrubs such as cistus, escallonia, potentilla, jasmine, buddlia globoa, fuschias, clematis, hypericum and many more. Look out for a lovely tree suitable for a small garden – the Japanese rowan. Also try sorbus commixta with its shiny green leaves, large white flowers and lovely red berries. Plant it in the sun; it is loved by the birds.
Look out for the magnificent viburnum plicatum mariesii with its lovely tiered branches. It’s a lovely addition to the garden. July is a good month to plant Shirley papery poppy, a flower that self-seeds.
There are lots of tasks to keep us all busy at this time of year. Now is the time to prune shrubs that will bloom in winter and early spring.
If you have a vacant spot, sow seeds of wallflower, polyanthus, pansies, bellis, Canterbury bells, Sweet William and other biennials for planting in autumn. Cut sweet pea on a daily basis and water and feed them with a tomato feed on a regular basis.
Under glass, tomatoes will soon be ripening; be careful with watering and pick fruit daily.
Sow French and runner beans, main crop peas, sweet corn and outdoor cucumbers and plant outdoor tomatoes and courgettes.
Keep weeds under control and all crops will need regular watering and feeding with tomato feed. Continue to sow little and often lettuce and white Lisbon onions.
Summer window boxes and hanging baskets will need daily watering and once a week feeding. Don’t forget to dead head regularly. This is also a good time to divide bearded irises and lily of the valley. Cut the grass once a week and apply a summer feed. If weeds are a problem, use a selective weed killer.
Cut back hardy geraniums and clip back lavenders in late July once flowering is over. You can now grow dwarf fruit trees in containers on your patio, coronet trees are available in most garden centres. They will never get out of hand.
It’s also a good time to look out for the lovely regale lily, beautiful white trumpets tinged with rose and gold flowers.
Enjoy this season in the garden and keep busy. Summer is a great time of year to be a gardener!
So many of the great writers have captured in words so much of what I see in nature, so let’s finish with the great Charles Dickens.
“Nature gives to every time and season some beauty of its own. And from morning to night as from the cradle to the grave is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.”
Have a lovely Summer!
By James O’Doherty