Jo’s Garden Corner – June
A constant task at this time of year is deadheading – remove spent flowers from containers, pots, hanging baskets, beds and borders and feed them all occasionally with liquid feed. Deadheading diverts energy from producing seed into producing new flowers…..so is a good thing all round. Watering is essential once the weather is drier and warmer – water thoroughly once or twice a week rather than little and often although containers and hanging baskets need watering every day and sometimes even twice a day if it is hot and windy – this encourages plants to put down roots in search of water rather than coming up to the surface. For large shrubs or trees, leave a hose trickling around the base for an hour – hedges are best watered with a trickle hose (a length of old hose punctured with little holes) left running for an hour or so. Mulch can be spread around all plants to help conserve soil moisture and deter weed growth. You can now cut the foliage from daffodils and tulips down to the ground and mow and edge your lawns, of course adding the grass cuttings to your compost heap. Leeks and brassicas can be planted out if you have been growing them in the greenhouse and tomato plants may now need to be tied to supports as they grow. If, like me you love the scent of lavender you may wish to raise new plants from cuttings. This can be done from June through to September. Choose sideshoots as cuttings, pulling these away from the main stem with a thin strip of bark, or heel, still attached. This heel is important as it is where the roots of the new plant will develop. Trim off the small flap of excess bark with a knife. Remove the lower pairs of leaves so that the cutting has a length of bare stem that can be cleanly inserted into the compost. Dip the cut end of each cutting into rooting hormone. Insert several cuttings around the edge of small pots of gritty compost. Water the compost well then cover the whole pot with a clear polythene bag to maintain a humid atmosphere around the cuttings. Put the pots in a warm, shaded place. Once rooting has started, cut the corner of the bag to increase ventilation. Remove the bag completely after a few weeks. Leave cuttings in place until they are well rooted, then pot up individually. This will provide you with several new lavender plants to produce a truly fragrant display.