They call it flaming June – and if it carries on the way it’s started – at least here in the south – it will have earned its name.
June is a particularly colourful month in the garden and here are 10 of my favourite plants in flower now:
1. Allium – Flowering Garlic – a summer bulb with eye-catching, large globular heads of silvery lilac to deep mauve star-shaped flowers on tall stems, and strappy foliage.
2. Buddleia alternifolia – Fountain Buddleia – a change from the usual variety you see everywhere in summer, this one is still a large shrub, but its arching stems are completely wreathed in clusters of lilac flowers, giving the plant its common name. Unlike other Buddleias, this one should be cut back as soon as the flowers have finished.
3. Cistus – Rock Rose – really easy evergreens, requiring no pruning, in various sizes with saucer-shaped flowers ranging from white to vivid cerise pink June – July and sporadically till October.
4. Clematis – many of the really spectacular large-flowered varieties of these climbers are coming into bloom now, with flowers ranging in colour from white to pinks, reds, mauves, blues, and even pale yellow. Easy to look after if you stick to the pruning instructions on the label.
5. Cotinus – Smoke Bush – quite a large deciduous shrub with rounded wine-red leaves which turn wonderful shades of scarlet in autumn, and purplish-pink plumes of tiny flowers, whose appearance gives the plant its common name.
6. Delphinium – stately perennials for the back of the border with attractive deeply cut foliage and spires of flowers ranging from white to pink to mauve to intense deep blue. Truly majestic plants, but not easy to look after, they need really good soil, lots of water and their height means they need staking early on. Slugs and snails can be a real problem in the spring too. Surely worth the effort though?
7. Geranium – Cranes Bill – an undemanding perennial with saucer-shaped flowers in a range of colours from white to pink, mauve and blue, some with attractive veining, above attractive mounds of deeply cut foliage. If you have the time to dead-head the fading flowers, the flowering season will last much longer.
8. Hemerocallis – Day Lily – such a great plant, so named because each flower lasts only a day, but is quickly replaced by another, giving this plant a long flowering season. It’s easy to look after and there are so many colours to choose from. As a bonus the flowers are edible too!
9. Iris xiphium – Dutch Iris – this iris is the one commonly used by florists and it is particularly good as a cut flower. The most popular variety is the blue, but white, yellow and purple varieties are available.
10. Philadelphus – Mock Orange – quite large, dense deciduous shrubs, some with beautiful lime green foliage, with masses of large, cupped, gorgeously scented, double white flowers. Immediately after flowering cut back the old wood that has flowered and remove any unwanted branches to ensure good flowering next year.
JUNE TIPS AND ADVICE
1. You’re safe to plant out your summer bedding now, if you haven’t already done so. Get those hanging baskets up!
2. Water everything well if we get a lot of dry weather. Do it in the evening if you can so that the sun doesn’t dry it up straight away. Also it’s better to give everything a really thorough watering once a week, rather than a sprinkling every day as this only encourages the roots to come up to the surface where they’ll dry out.
3. Top up ponds and water features regularly as some water will be lost due to evaporation.
4. Feed everything once a week, that way you’ll get a lot more flowers.
5. Tie in all your lovely climbers as they grow so that shoots don’t get damaged or too entangled.
6. Keep looking out for pests and diseases in all your plants and treat before they become too infested.
7. Hedges can be pruned now. Be careful that your tools are sharp and on no account allow the top of the hedge to become wider than the bottom, otherwise the bottom will suffer due to lack of light.
8. Ceanothus (Californian Lilac) can be pruned back now if it’s got too big, as can Chaenomeles (Japanese Quince).
9. Keep up with your weeding.
10. Relax and enjoy the weather!