As mid-summer fast approaches, everything in the gardening seems to be happening at once during
June. Greater sunshine and warmth bring out an abundance of flowers and perhaps queen of them all is the rose.
So often the chosen subject of the poet or romantic gesture, they have been bred in such a variety of forms that there is almost certainly one to fit every circumstance. Be it a sprawling rambler, a deeply perfumed old-fashioned shrub or a contained miniature to brighten the corner of a patio or balcony, the only decision remaining is what colour to select.
This year, ours have responded particularly well to a good hard prune in mid-February and look set to be smothered in blooms. Remember to extend your flowering season by snipping off the dead-heads, to a bud, as they fade.
Now that the risk of late frosts is behind us, it’s time to have planted out your courgettes so that they can establish themselves in the vegetable patch. It will soon be time to begin harvesting your first crop, but it’s a good idea to get a second later sowing done so that you can stagger your supply through until the end of summer. It’s wise to sow in pairs so that you can remove the weaker seedling as they germinate. Beetroot and Florence fennel can also be repeated now.
Over in our new cut flower garden, we’re busy hoeing to keep well on top of the annual weeds as they come through. As our array of asters, cosmos, gladioli, sunflowers and sweet peas grows larger and begins to bloom, the amount of bare ground diminishes and the job becomes somewhat easier.
But looking ahead, we’re considering mulching options such as grass clippings or straw to suppress any further weeds and retain moisture, whilst also marking out the diminishing pathways between our well-ordered rows. It’s worth remembering that any technique which saves labour now, prolongs the moments for standing back and savouring the delights of the season.
…talking of courgettes; whilst they are still young they're lovely thinly sliced, salted and fried along with their flowers, then added to a thin broth with anything else in the garden this time of year – maybe there’s still some asparagus, broad beans, even some early potatoes. The start of summer in a dish!