Category Archives: jobs for june

Think twice when designing a Rose garden

Elaeagnus x ebbingei, an evergreen shrub, is grown as a ‘standard’ in this garden.  Last year I left it to grow a little bit wild over the summer so we could enjoy the fabulous scent it gives out when flowering in the autumn.


Autumn came and went and the (insignificant) flowers came as hoped, but the scent did not linger in the air as I had wished for.  Our semi-formal rose garden looked quite  shabby for the duration of summer so my hand was forced  to keep them trim this year.  Armed with secateurs it took 2 of us the best part of a day this week, to get them back in shape. We could have pruned them with shears, which is a quicker process, however this will cut the leaves, which then get a brown edge and spoil the overall appearance of the plant.


Having done that job, I returned to the garden for a second day this week to start pruning the box hedges around the roses.  These can be started with a hedge trimmer and given a neat finish with shears.  Again this is a very time consuming business.  With 2 of us working, we still didn’t manage to get round all the hedges in a day.  There is a lot of clearing up do afterwards.  Our relatively strong backs were also not thanking us for a day of diligent pruning – at such a low level.

When that is done I see that the roses are beginning to go over and they require a lot of time dead-heading.  A very worthwhile job to acheive a longer flowering period.  Whilst doing this we are also weeding under the roses  despite a good mulching at the beginning of the year.  In a bad year for ‘black spot’ usually after a warm damp Spring (fortunately not this year), we are also sweeping up all the dead and yellowed diseased leaves from under the roses.

When we finally feel we can leave this area, we know that the Nepeta underplanting the roses needs cutting right back to get a second flush of flowers for later in the year..

Hang on a moment … before we know it, we have spent all season in this area and the rest of the garden is going to pot.

For these reasons, stunning as this garden is, I strongly recommend giving rose gardens lots of thought when planting.


In another garden I work in, the roses are dotted through the border.




This could be a better picture to demonstrate how well this can work, so you’ll have to just take my word for it,  but it really does…


More summertime jobs and the weather is warming up nicely


Pauline (above), Bea and I were whipping through the borders yesterday having a good old clear out of spring flowering plants that are sadly now over, but making room for the almighty perennials that have sprung up in the last month..


The garden is looking spectacular and is just the best place to be on days like this




The First days of Summer



Today we had a delivery of mushroom compost – basically  a year old horse manure that has had mushrooms growing in it. Good  for keeping down the weeds, not particularly high in nutrients and also good for helping the soil retain moisture during the summer months.



Not so much fun and games getting covered in horse poo from head to foot:

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Other highlights of the day – The London pride is flowering and so are the wonderful foxgloves:


The worst thing about Topiary

I love the finished look of freshly clipped Box hedges and balls as it adds the perfect neat contrast to the shaggy fullness of a June garden. I even pride myself on getting the shapes just right, but picking up the little pieces afterwards is a bit of a nightmare.
There are 2 things we try to do to make the job a little easier: Firstly by draping an old tablecloth around the base of the plant and if there are other plants all around it, the cloth will gently lie on those plants and still catch the majority of the clippings. Secondly we try and remember to add mulch to the border – either mushroom compost, a soil conditioner or decorative bark chippings AFTER clipping, thus leaving a tidy finish.
Don’t forget to give the plants a good long drink and a feed at the end of the job.

Gardening in June

Much of our time at the moment is taken up with weeding and watering. We water all the pots at the beginning of the day (and maybe at the end too if we are not returning to the garden for a while) and with the prediction of a drought, this is a necessity. All the plants in the border are left to fend for themselves unless we moved them this year and then they will need watering too. It’s hot, but we have made the mistake before of wearing shorts and vests. Now it is time for trousers, hats and long sleeves as the horseflies are out in force. We also cover up in the sun as that beats any sun protection in a bottle.

The clematis are making the most of our rustic arches but having divided them earlier this year, the flowers are smaller and the growth less prolific. However they are still delightful.

When we start getting really hot we head to the shady parts of the garden so these areas become the most well tended weed free areas for a while! In the hotter drier areas the weed growth slows down of it’s own accord thankfully.

Now is also the time to take stock of the planting and make decisions about what will be divided in August. Our moat border can be quite overwhelming right now so I am always thinking of removing and reducing plants rather than adding to the show. Less is more!


In the back yard

To be honest, you wouldn’t believe I am a gardener when you see my back yard. However the number of plants I have bought over the years could fill this space at least 5 times over. The fact is that whilst the yard receives sun for a great part of the day, it is also assaulted regularly by salt laden winds of hurricane-like proportions that leave devastation in their wake. The times I have woken up to plants in a pile at the end of the yard and pots smashed to smithereens does not bear thinking about. I have also filled my kitchen with plants for days on end to save them from the raging elements.
Finally I have just given up and given in. My yard is now a place for relaxation on a hot summers day where I can lie in my hammock and read a book and not be tempted to tend to plants.

Nevertheless I have a few seed trays on the go, just a few that can be brought inside quite easily. Now is the time to sow the seeds of Honesty, Wallflowers, Foxgloves and Violas. It is great sowing at this time of year because the seeds germinate quickly and can grow outside quite robustly without getting leggy on a windowsill. Just beware of the demon slugs and snails. Every day I move my seedlings to a new position just to confuse those little critters.IMG_0960

Todays tasks for the team