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Oak Leaf Gardening Monthly Cuttings
Newsletter 13 - June 2012
What to do now

Ornamental plants

  • Now's the time to get really stuck into deadheading to prolong your displays and tidy up perennials that have finished flowering.
  • Remove suckers from roses.
  • Propagate shrubs/roses by softwood cuttings, clematis by layering and short-lived perennials (eg pinks) or rock plants by cuttings.
  • Take cuttings from pelargoniums.
  • Sow biennials, autumn annuals and winter/spring bedding.
  • Collect seeds from hellebores and sow in pots.
  • Harden off any containers/baskets which are still growing under cover, and plant up any empty ones.
  • Finish planting summer bedding and summer flowering bulbs such as dahlias and cannas.
  • Give freesias in pots a weekly dose of a potassium rich fertiliser (eg homemade comfrey feed) to get the best flowers and scent.
  • Continue pricking out, potting on and hardening off greenhouse-grown plants.
  • Pinch out the tips of bedding plants (eg fuchsias, marigolds and petunias) and dahlias to get bushier growth.
  • Carry on supporting and tying in tall perennials in borders and pots.
  • Cut back the foliage from spring bulbs, or lift them, once the foliage has naturally died back.
  • Trim back winter flowering heathers.
  • Prune any spring flowering shrubs which you didn't get to last month.
  • Divide primulas.
  • Inspect lilies regularly for bright red lily beetles and their yellow eggs. Squash any you find.
Fruit and veg
  • Plenty of sowing still do to – lettuce, rocket, spring onions, cauliflowers, radishes, annual herbs, pack choi, peas, swedes, kale, endives, French beans, runner beans, sweetcorn, courgettes, turnips and pumpkins can all be sown now. Peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and aubergines can also continue to be sown under glass.
  • Make next year a bit cheaper by planting strawberry plants from seed now, ready for fruit next summer.
  • Start to harvest lettuces, calabrese, rocket, radishes, spring onions, gooseberries, peas, strawberries, early potatoes, overwintered onions and any remaining asparagus.
  • Tie in and pinch out the sideshoots of tomato plants. Start feeding them once a week.
  • Remove male flowers from cucumbers.
  • Pollinate melons and squashes by hand, particularly if it's a cool summer.
  • Provide soft fruit plants with extra water as the fruits develop.
  • Cover soft fruit with netting to keep the birds off the ripening fruits.
General tasks
  • Water plants frequently, particularly in dry spells.
  • Keep mowing the lawn regularly.
  • If your lawn's looking a bit worse for wear a dose of liquid lawn feed will give it a 'pick me up'.
  • Damp down your greenhouse and provide additional shading if required.
  • Mulch any bare soil to retain moisture (water the soil before mulching).
  • Keep on top of pond weed by scooping it out regularly.
Iberis sempervirensPlant of the month

Iberis sempervirens, commonly known as 'candytuft', is an evergreen perennial which flowers from late spring into summer. Happiest in a sunny location, this makes an ideal edging or ground cover plant, spreading well and growing to only 50cm height. Find out more...

Problem of the monthLeaf affected by impatiens downy mildew

Impatiens downy mildew is an increasing problem for growing Busy Lizzies. This fungal infection causes leaves to become mottled and yellow and fall. Flowers are shed and often the entire plant will die. A white fungal growth may be seen underneath affected leaves. Growing plants from seed can reduce the risk of infection; ensure good ventilation and only water from below. No controls or resistant cultivars are currently available and this disease can remain in the soil for up to 10 years. Find out more...

In the news

Olympic Park preparations continue

The grounds of the Olympic Parks are being readied for the Games. Last month the largest ever man-made wildflower meadow was sown, covering more than 10 football pitches worth of space, and is due to burst into a golden display to coincide with the Games. The park will also include 'Henman Hill' style parkland allowing spectators to watch the sports on a big screen while picnicking. To celebrate the greener side of the Olympics, the Aquatics Centre will host the BBC's Gardeners Question Time radio programme on the 14th June.

Compost Legionella cases in Scotland

Health Protection Scotland has warned gardeners to wash their hands after handling compost. A number of Legionella disease cases, including one death, have been attributed to compost. Despite the rarity of the cases, authorities are working hard to identify the cause and why there appear to be no similar cases in the rest of the UK.

Trouble in Gardener's World

The BBC have felt the wrath of Monty Don after releasing a statement indicating that they would be more consistent in recommending both organic and non-organic pest treatments within their programmes. This follows an episode of the popular gardening show where Monty Don said that picking off lily beetles is the only way to deal with the pest. Monty hit back at the BBC stating that he would not advocate non-organic products and that his viewers would not expect him to.

A sunny Chelsea brings out the blooms

This year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show treated visitors to another display of gardening genius; from the topiary delights of Cleve West's 'Best in Show' garden to the vibrant pinks of the 'Plant Of The Year', foxglove 'Illumination Pink' from Thompson and Morgan (which has now sold out). Take a look at our blog for photos from the event and our overview of the show gardens.


Celebrate the Olympics in horticultural style

A runner on an athletics trackWe're enjoying the best of British this year with the combined celebrations of the Jubilee and the Olympics. So why not get your garden into training for the sporting summer with our Olympic-inspired ideas? Here are a few to whet your appetite:

  • Recreate the Olympic rings with 5 pots, each painted in one of the Olympic colours and arranged to form the symbol of the games. Pot each one up with co-ordinating plants (see below for planting suggestions).
  • The Paralympic Agitos offers a great opportunity for drift planting of bedding in red, blue and green, perhaps surrounded with white plants. See below for planting ideas.
  • Why not commemorate the Games by planting a tree in their honour?. Create a plaque to show who planted it, on what date and occasion, then have your own planting ceremony just before you settle down to watch the Olympic opening ceremony.
  • Go all athletic by creating a running track in your lawn. You don't have to pay for expensive lane marker spray, just let your lawn grow a bit longer (in the hot summer weather this will be quite good for it) then mow running lanes into it. If your lawn is small you can still create a spiral track or maze for small children to enjoy.
  • Use up some of those old plastic pots by planting them up with grasses (or even just lawn grass), drawing faces on them and providing them with swimming goggles to wear - creating your own Olympic swimming team.
  • Tie the handles of three old badminton rackets together then peg the other ends into the soil around a plant that needs support, so the rackets form a three-sided pyramid around it.
  • For the ambitious (and those with the space) why not create a Union Flag bedding display? See below for planting ideas.
  • If you have smaller space or want something less fiddly, any planting scheme with red white and blue will show your support for Team GB. The national colours tumbling out of a hanging basket would look spectacular.

Read our blog for more ideas and suggestions of plants to use...

And check out the London 2012 site for even more inspiration...

Athletics image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


What's on this month

Enjoy the good weather with some garden events and visits this June:

  • 1st to 3rd June - Gardening Scotland, The Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh.
  • 2nd to 5th June - Ideal Home Show Scotland, SECC, Glasgow.
  • 3rd & 4th June - Lifestyle Green, Crawfordsburn Country Park, nr Bangor, County Down.
  • 4th June - Jubilee Teas For Macmillan - Bluebell Cottage & Gardens, nr Northwich, Cheshire.
  • 7th June - Introduction To Soft Fruit, RHS Wisley, Surrey.
  • 9th & 10th June - Ashton Under Hill Open Gardens, Ashton under Hill, Worcestershire.
  • 9th & 10th June - Open Garden Squares Weekend, locations in and around London.
  • 12th June - Urban Pollinators Talk, University Of Bristol Botanic Gardens, Stoke Bishop, Bristol.
  • 16th June - Garden Ferns Walk, Yorkshire Museum, York.
  • 16th to 17th June - Duntreath Garden Show, Duntreath Castle, Strathblane, nr Glasgow.
  • 17th June - Cheveley Open Gardens, Cheveley, nr Newmarket, Suffolk.
  • 17th June - Hillfarrance Open Gardens, Hillfarrance, nr Taunton, Somerset.