The Green Scene

Flower PowerHypericum

It was back in 1969 that George Harrison of The Beatles sang “Here Comes The Sun”. Summer has arrived after a dismal winter and a disappointing spring so it’s time to enjoy floral gems glistening in the summer sunshine; colour, fragrance, beauty all around us.

Plants are brimming with life – all of them welcoming the Summer sun. Long days and short nights make June and July the great months in the gardening year. Glorious days from dawn till dusk make it such a pleasure to be in the garden.

I write this sitting on a large rock with my back warmed by the late Spring sunshine with my little friend, the Robin, dancing around my feet. We are saying goodbye to one of the most awful Spring times in my memory.

And this time of year one can appreciate the value of trees and shrubs as they improve the quality of the atmosphere – certainly in our built-up cities. Look out for the lovely Mock Orange, the bees busy around the Cotoneasters, the beautiful Dúzia, the white blossoms of the Pyracanta, the blue of the Ceanothus, Roses, Fuchsias, Hydrangeas, Hypericums and the long Summer flowering Spirea Anthony Waterer.
In your garden, complete the planting of Summer bedding such as Geranium, Petunia, Salvia Lobelia and white Alyssum Begonias. All will benefit from a fortnightly tomato feed.

Keep your Rose beds free of weeds and spray, if required with Rose Clear and give them a dressing of rose fertiliser. As Rhododendrons and Azaleas finish flowering, cut off the dead flowers. This also applies to your Herbaceous Perennials. Daily watering of window boxes and baskets and indeed all container plants is necessary. Feed them with a fertiliser every ten days.

The lovely Sweet Pea, with its massive diversity of colour needs regular feeding and a good soaking twice weekly during hot and dry weather. During the Summer months, deadhead all flowering plants regularly for continuous flowering.

Feed your lawn and cut your grass on a weekly basis and if required use a selective weed killer to control weeds. Use After Cut to get that great green colour. It is time also to think ahead, so sow now and you will have many flowering plants for next spring. Mid-June is an ideal time to sow Wallflowers, Double Daisies, Foxgloves, Polyanthus, Pansies, Sweet William and Forget-Me-Nots.

In the vegetable garden, lift early potatoes in July and remember succession is the order of the day. Sow Peas, French Beans, Runner Beans, Carrots, Beetroot and Lettuce. Plant out all herbs, Brussels Sprouts, Savoy Cabbage, Onions, Celery and Kales. Sow Turnips now for Autumn and Winter use.

Feed your outdoor tomato plants every fortnight and as the fruit begins to develop, continue to remove side shoots every week and stop the main shoot in early August. Watering is the secret for a good tomato crop. Give them a good soaking three times a week in hot and dry weather. Use the hoe regularly and your soil will produce crops by giving it plenty of humus and fertiliser.

A word now about a plant that is recognised as a symbol of peace and of all that is good in life, the Lily, especially the most beautiful Lily of all – the Madonna Lily. It’s correct name is L-Candidum and it is the oldest of all the Lilies and should be planted (or replanted) during August and September. Do not plant it deeply. Three inches is deep enough. It may take some time to establish itself. If you haven’t already done so, maybe consider introducing one of these beautiful Lilies into your garden this Summer.

All house plants should be out in the garden during July and August. This will benefit them greatly. Be careful with the feeding and watering. For those of you with a garden pond, the planting of aquatics is best done in May and June. Of course, the Water Lily is ideal for the formal pond.

As soon as I finish sharing a few thoughts for the Summer gardening months ahead, the sun is fading here and the birds are quietening down. I am the classic old-style gardener leaning on my spade with my gardener’s mug of tea and sandwich at hand…
Yes, I still get great pleasure from a day in the garden and if God wills it I’m looking forward to many hours in the golden days of Summer. The Swedish proverb springs to mind, “A life without love is like a year without Summer.” Please God we are blessed with a good one… Enjoy it.

From left, clockwise: Hypericum, Cotton Eater, Jasmine and Spirea Anthony Waterer.

By Jim O’Doherty