May garden

June Jobs In The Garden

Author: Lauren Coleman

I apologise if this becomes one long gardening ramble but I’m feeling a bit despondent about my courtyard project. Despite the research and bucketloads of effort it’s not really coming together as I’d hoped. I had a vision and let’s say it’s currently far from it. Sometimes Pinterest really does set us up for a fall doesn’t it?!

As usual May has been a busy month. We’ve built a bar! We’re not quite ready to start serving the pina coladas just yet and this brings me on to the first disappointment.
When painting the new fence I completely chickened out of going for a trendy grey shade and instead went for a safe dark brown. With an off-white rendered wall, oak patio doors and a load of dark wood stained outdoor furniture I felt throwing another colour into the mix wouldn’t work. The ‘bar’ (which is basically a glorified shelving unit with a tiled top) is bringing much needed storage to the garden as well as place to sip a G&T. Constructed of wood it’s accidentally been painted in one of the many dark brown wood stains we have hanging about. Ideally it would have been finished with a thin layer to allow the grain to show. However due to a bit of a mix up in supplies it’s now covered in a very thick, dense layer of stain. I really, really don’t like it. Sad face. Don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with a traditional brown wood I just would have preferred the new living area to look less like a bar of chocolate.
After using my very limited photoshop skills to render the wood in several shades I’ve decided I need to go for a mid grey tone. After dithering over the shelves at my local Wilko I came home with a few tins of their Slate Grey Garden Colour and aim to rid myself of the brown over the next few weeks. Will keep you posted.

In my mind I wanted to use the newly created beds to plant an abundance of perennials; alliums, delphiniums, verbena and scabiosa which could all be picked from the cutting garden. What I should have done is drawn a proper planting plan rather than hit the garden centre all gung-ho packing my trolley with beautiful specimens. In a limited space I can’t help feeling it’s going to end up feeling a bit overcrowded. Never mind though, my vases are going to be bursting and it’s certainly a very pretty if chaotic patch I’ve got myself.

On a more positive note I’ve planted out a few of my tubs, hung my hanging basket and James has started on the foundations for the patio. The race is on to get this place ship-shape before the longest day so we have somewhere to enjoy over the summer. Though at this rate I might still be painting fences well into the winter.

June Jobs

  • Plant out your hanging baskets and tubs now the risk of frost has passed. It’s a good idea to give your containers a weekly feed so they get all the nutrients they need.
  • Thin out hardy annuals such as poppies, stocks, lupins and cornflowers to prevent them overtaking beds.
  • Stake perennials if they begin to look like they need a little help.
  • Lift and store bulbs for next year. I have to add I’ve never done this before but am considering doing this as the leaves are looking really tatty now.
  • If like me you’ve planted sweet peas they should begin to flower by the end of the month (though everything in my garden is around three weeks late this year). They flourish when the flowers are picked so be sure to fill your home with the frothy blooms.
  • Deadhead roses to encourage more blooms. I’ve read to snap off just below the head which apparently makes new flowers appear quicker. I’ll be testing this out this month.
  • For those of you who like a bit of vegetable growing I’m tickled pink to announce Lolly will be sharing her veggie patch makeover very soon so stay tuned.

    How is your garden growing? Any fence painting disasters you’d like to share?

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    55 thoughts on “June Jobs In The Garden

    1. Oh Lauren, I feel your pain! This year I’ve finally started getting to grip with the garden but realised that no one really teaches you how to do it and do it well. My planting style is pretty haphazard and not as manicured as I like. But I’m growing in confidence. I’ve realised it’s a bit like interior design – I’ve learned loads in the last 10 years and evolved my style. And am hoping to do the same with the garden. Xx ps – I now want grey fences and we have 20 fence panels!

      1. Hello my lovely,
        I think that’s one of the things I’m finding frustrating – I’m okay at interior design so hoped it would translate to the garden!
        Wow 20 panels. I’m glad I’ve only got two 😉 x

    2. I feel your pain, we have just moved into a beautiful but overgrown garden. I know with a few weekends graft it could be stunning but I’ve no idea where to start!
      On a side note where are your chevron cushions from? I’ve been looking for some like this forever!

      1. Good luck with your garden Chloe. I’d love to offer some words of wisdom but I think someone needs to send some my way!
        The cushions were from H&M a few years ago. They’re usually in my office but I drag them outside when the sun shines. I don’t think they have them anymore but they have some other ace designs instead x

    3. Your allium are looking fantastic. I have them in my raised bed and they’ve definitely made me happiest out of everything I’ve planted – I did nothing with them and now they’re huge and beautiful (and fantastic for bees!). One of the gardeners I work with gave me the tip to plant things in odd numbers – 3, 5 or 7, and it makes it look less regimented – even if the same plant group is repeated throughout the bed.

      My main disappointment with my garden this year is the fact that I’ve very much got one tone of green in my beds – I completely failed to think about leaf colour, so in between flowering times (which I did think about!) there is just a dull green mass of leaves.

      I love Pinterest for inspiration but instead of pinning gardens I just pin things like planting plans so I use it more for tips than inspiration.

      1. Morning Sara – the 3/5/7 rule is something that Florists use too! Such a brilliant idea. And as for leaf colour I never stop to think about this but it’s definitely worth considering!

        1. It’s weird, in one bed I’ve done REALLY well (a purple acer surrounded with variegated hostas and little cyclamen in the winter – bags of colour!) and in the other it’s all just… Leaf colour.

          I have no allium tips. I literally just took them out of the packet and poked them into the ground. I think that might be why I’m so amazed by them! Squirrels aren’t getting to the bulbs?

          1. Maybe I plant them too deep then….

            Love cyclamen – one of my favourite flowers and we have an acer in our garden which is huge and which I’ve told the builders to stay away from or else!

      2. Hi Sara, totally with you on the odd numbers – I use the same trick when arranging shelves and the like. I’ve planted my delphiniums and verbena in threes just getting impatient waiting for them to flourish!
        I wish I’d pinned a few planting plans Sara. I bet your garden still looks lovely and lush with all that green.

        1. I ‘take inspiration from’ (aka plagiarise unashamedly) the Waitrose Garden ‘bed in a box’ plans, which have planting diagrams and a list of all the plants you need for it. I don’t copy them but it gives a good idea. Then I go elsewhere and buy the plants as I think they’re too expensive!

    4. I can never ever get alliums to grow – I”m not exactly sure what I’m doing wrong but I’m always more than a little envious when I see other gardeners’ perfectly formed spheres. In other news I love the idea of your cutting garden – something I’ll be integrating into the new house once the inside is completed. Instead I just grow things in pots for the time being so I can take them with me whenever we go on the move. I’m also going to try to take cuttings this year (rose, viburnum and hydrangea and lilac) from my mum’s awesome garden so any tips on how best to make them thrive would be much appreciated.

      Also I’m trying to grow foxgloves from seed and I don’t seem to be succeeding. Any tips also on how to make them germinate would be much appreciated!

      1. Oh Lolly you are so much more green fingered than me! I’m keen to carve out a little space; a mini potting shed so to speak so I can do some ‘real’ gardening next year. Can’t wait to hear about your plans for yours, and the veggie patch of course x

        1. I’ve been eyeing up a potting bench recently. I think it might stop Mr H complaining that we can never use our patio table because it’s either a) filthy or b) covered in plants (at the moment there are 4 trailing lobelia plants sitting on it).

          1. Ooh, you’ll have to let me know if you do get one. I’m thinking of ditching the BBQ (we never use it anyway) and then putting one in its place.

              1. M&S had a lovely one last time I looked Lolly. My mum recently got a gorgeous one from a little garden centre and I have potting bench envy! x

              2. I think I’m going to get a plain wood one from eBay (cheapy!) and then paint it with the leftover ‘seaspray’ wood stain from my raised beds. They’re only about £35, which will leave me more money to spend on plants that I have no room for.

      2. Lolly, when did you plant the seed? They’re biennial so you see seed one year, grow on, plant out in autumn or spring and they flow the next year. Other than that, just keep on feeding them!!

        1. Hi Faye I planted them last week but can’t see any signs of any activity yet whereas my sweet peas are coming on a storm! Just wondered how long I should expect to wait to see some kind of germination…

    5. I can’t wait to get properly into doing our garden! I’ve planted a few plants since moving in but with a puppy who is still spending all his garden time digging everything I plant out again (my poor gooseberry bush 🙁 ) I might have to wait for autumn and next year.

      Loving the idea of the bar with storage – might have to keep that in mind for when we get our patio bit done in a year or so. And on a complete sidenote – I loooove Wilko’s paints! I painted our shed, fence and decking in the old house before we moved (a very safe and sell-able brown) and that grey is perfect!

    6. Lolly, I have some massive five foot tall foxgloves in my raised beds but I planted them about 18 months ago, they didn’t come up last summer but they started to appear about two months ago and have been unstoppable ever since. I think some of them might be biennials coming every two years so that might be why you haven’t seen anything appear yet. You may have a flourishing foxglove patch next year though!

      1. Aha! That may explain it then….Thanks Amy – I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed for next year then xx

    7. Something munched on our aliums this year as they were starting to come up in the spring. So we are sadly left with just one 🙁 I really hope they reappear again next year as they are my favourite plant. Our clematis is absolutely blooming and it wont be long until the passionflower is out!

          1. If it’s any consolation, ours come up every year without me doing anything so hopefully they’ll reappear next year

    8. On the subject of fences, please don’t think you are taking the easy option by buying the spray type, an old neighbour of ours did and we had an enormous amount of overspray all over our new Yorkstone patio and newly cleaned hardwood table and chairs, oops! BTW love the Cosmos, every garden should have them.

      1. Oh Eileen in my old house my patio doors were sprayed green thanks to one of those sprayer type things. They are an evil invention!

    9. I think the glimpses of your garden are looking fab – please don’t be despondent about it!! I had such grand plans for our garden, mapping out areas and scouting out interesting plants, before realising that perhaps I should start with some basics and work from there…! Plus our garden is TINY and realistically I cannot fit all my favourite plants in it, shame. I’m reasonably pleased with some small things – the carrots and lettuce are doing really well this year, and the new apple tree seems to be coming along nicely, even my grandfather’s magnolia cutting (literally a twig!) produced a flower this year! It is all very very sporadic though. Baby steps! Does anyone know stop rhubarb stalks breaking at the base and flattening other young shoots?! I have tried string and canes but the stalks are so heavy I think I may have to go for a more industrial option instead…

      1. Ahh so lovely to hear your magnolia bloomed. I love the idea of growing from cuttings.
        Will ask my Mother-in-law about the rhubarb – her crop is prolific!

        1. Thanks Lauren – I would be grateful for any advice. I think the massive leaves must be weighing down the stalks but I don’t know how to fix the problem properly!

          1. Hi again Annie,
            M-I-L thinks it could be because the stalks are too dense and not enough light is getting through to the new shoots. She suggests cutting the big stalks down to give the little ones a chance. Then divide and separate them in the winter to give a bit more room. Hope this helps x

    10. I’m excited to get back from holibobs this weekend as all the flowers were starting to come through. We always have loads of sweet peas which my husband grows and I love. He is pretty good at planting and growing so his greenhouse is full of all sorts of lovely things. He will often take out the old bulbs so well worth it if you can. We have a whole assortment of flowers in various beds and then will fill the garden with pots and hanging baskets. Our fuchsia trees are my favourite as the colours are amazing. The veggie patch is also coming along and although we are having a bit of a break from growing too much this year the blueberries and strawberries should be out soon. The blueberries are the best and we have lots. Then hopefully the raspberries soon. Our fence is painted with Cuprinol garden paint in a willow green although I now wish I had done the stone/grey colour too. When originally painting the fence we decided to invest in one of the spray paint machine things to make it quicker. It was quicker but used a whole massive tin of paint on one fence panel. I very quickly went back to a paint brush!! xx

      1. Willow green is a super pretty colour Lottie.
        Very envious you have so many different specimens in your garden. I can’t fit anything else in. Just been to the garden centre for lunch and it pained me to walk away with nothing! x

    11. This has inspired me to paint our fence which has been needing doing for a while – was just put off the idea of painting it the horrible orangey brown everyone else has! Think I best get myself to Wilkos!

      We planted our tubs last week and they look great! I just need to find some colourful plants for our side border which is always in shade – any tips?

      1. Fran, I have astilbe in my shady bed – the flowers look like a mini neon christmas tree and the leaves are quite fern like.
        I’d love to have hostas but have a serious snail problem, but adore the purple flowers you can get on them. I’ve got alliums in both shady and sunny spots. Let us know how you get on x

        1. I’ve read that if you boil up some bulbs of garlic and mash in the pulp, then dilute and spray it really discourages slugs and snails! Apparently they hate garlic! I’m going to try it this year on my hostas as slowly but surely they’re being munched away, tut!

          1. I’ve got hostas and astilbe in the summer and cyclamen in the winter, all surrounding a really dark purple acer (which is still small and twiggy but I have hope for it!).

            Slugs are a problem – I put clothes on my hosta until they’re big enough to fend for themselves, and go on a nightly slug-hunt as well.

    12. For any of you Londoners – just been emailed about an event at Hampstead Heath 19-21 June called Grow London, described as a “contemporary garden fair”. It sounds really good, I’ve never been (and unfortunately can’t go this year either!) but I thought I would pass it on in case anyone is keen. x

    13. We inherited a beautiful cottage garden when we moved house last year, and apart from baskets and pots, I have been very disciplined and not touched a THING since! I said I’d give it a year then start making changes. It’s an amazing garden, all credit to previous owners, full of alliums, peonies (YAY!), dicentra, lavender, honeysuckle, clematis, a cherry blossom and lilac bush, and the worlds brightest, vivid pink, huge azalea. It’s going over now, but people actually stopped to lean on our garden fence and take photos, it got to the point that we’d wave hello and they’d get all embarrassed and run off!!
      Unfortunately, the fences are all picket or trellis type and are, um, purple. Yep, that most natural of garden colours. So in the winter we’ll be staining it a moss green. It’s quite shady in places and they are covered in moss and algae, so we went with green to join em rather than fight em! I’m also going to get some Foxgloves on the go soon ready for next summer, and will also get on some Astilbe, dahlias and a lot more herbs.
      One more tip, on rainy days gone by I sat and watched all of the How to be a Gardener vids on You Tube by Alan Tichmarsh, it really helped me cos I am really a novice, but if you’re lacking in confidence in the garden, I found it very helpful. Good luck with it all, it looks lovely now so will be even more gorgeous in a few months, especially round that bar with a few candles!! Xx

      1. Oh my word Faye, your garden sounds like my idea of heaven, You lucky lady!
        Thanks for the Alan Titchmarsh recommendation x

    14. I totally feel your garden pain – we are resigning ourselves to the fact that we will be having to completely re-turf come the autumn. In the meantime, I’m trying to cheer myself up with fence painting, bench painting… and rose wine (the essential garden accompaniment, right?) Hope the de-browning goes well! xx

    15. Update! The foxgloves have germinated – thanks to all of you for your helpful words of advice – very much appreciated!!

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