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The Diary of a Cottage Gardener - June

I hope you all enjoyed the Platinum Jubilee weekend and found time to enjoy the gatherings that were organised. I have seen various posts from different villages of their festivities and there were some

stunning floral arrangements made to celebrate our Queen's reign.

May passed in a flash! I was extremely excited to kick off wedding season in the barns of historic Bradstone Manor.

The first wedding of the year is always a bit nerve wracking as I worry whether the flowers will have grown enough. The summer sown Sweet Williams and Sweet Rocket came good along with Ornithogalum’s and a great crop of Honesty. These flowers are all fabulous for cutting, last forever in a vase and gave such a lovely scent. What was most important was that they helped to achieve the vision for the bridal couple.

May Disasters:

May was a frustrating month as my seedlings seemed to stall and I had a lot of slug damage. I have tried so many natural deterrents for slugs with limited success, but I am hopeful that nature is going to right the balance.

Frogs love to eat slugs! A few weeks ago, I noticed thousands of tadpoles at the edge of the pond. Fast forward a few weeks and I keep thinking my eyes are playing tricks on me as the ground both in and outside the polytunnel is a moving mass of tiny frogs which are so cute.

May Success:

Last month I described how to take Dahlia cuttings and encouraged you to have a go if you have never done it before. I am pleased to say that all mine bar one took root and will be transplanted to pots in another month to grow on over the summer. I hope you have had success with yours as well.

The Cottage Garden borders:

June is such a vibrant month as the borders in the garden start to fill with colour. Now there are the last of the Peonies and new flowers including, Nepeta, Alliums, Delphiniums, Geums, Geraniums, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Clematis-I could go on and on. I must not forget the wildflowers. The bluebells have given over to the Campion, Ox-Eye Daisy, and Foxgloves but what a feast for the eyes.

The garden has started to buzz as you walk past the borders, and I take my life in my hands when it comes to deadheading as there are so many bees in the flowers. Although everything is growing and has that lovely fresh green hue, there are many jobs to be done in June.

Things to do in June.

Sow Biennials: I know I mentioned this last month, but it really is worth succession sowing the likes of Sweet Rocket (image opposite), Honesty, Sweet Williams, and Foxgloves ready for early Spring flowers. If you sow batches of seeds every few weeks (I tend to do 3-week intervals), you will have a continuous supply of cut flowers to take you into the summer months. They are hardy plants and so can winter out once they have been potted on or planted out.

Lift and divide Snowdrop clumps: It is a good idea to do this now that the leaves have died, and you will increase your display of these lovely flowers in years to come.

Deadhead Roses: My early flowering roses such as, Zephirine Drouhin, has been flowering for about two weeks so I make sure I deadhead regularly to encourage repeat blooms.

Sweet Peas: These are galloping away at such a rate but make sure you pick out Sweet Peas and snip off the tendrils to encourage more flowers.

Aphids: I found these all over my Honeysuckle recently. They can quite easily be removed by hand without the use of chemicals.

What I will be doing in June:

I am looking forward to welcoming two groups from the Werrington Ladies Circle this month for a tour of the garden followed by oodles of tea and cake. It will be great to meet them and discuss all things to do with sustainably growing cut flowers.

I will leave you with an image of the Larkspur and Lupins destined for a wedding in early June. Some of the Larkspur are over five feet tall! I will be crossing the border into Somerset to arrange the flowers for this wedding-passport ready!

Happy gardening in June!

Hilary x


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