Oak Leaf Gardening Monthly Cuttings
Newsletter 25 - June 2013
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 lavender and grow them on to replace existing plants that have become straggly.
  • Sow biennials, autumn annuals and winter/spring bedding.
  • 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.
    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.
  • Cut lungworts (pulmonaria) to just above ground level to encourage fresh leaf growth.
  • If you spray your roses continue to do so this month, particularly those showing signs of disease.
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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Damp down your greenhouse and provide additional shading if required.
  • Top up the water levels in ponds and other water features.
  • Mulch any bare soil to retain moisture (water the soil before mulching).
Hosta 'Blue Angel'Plant of the month

Hosta 'Blue Angel' is a lush plant usually grown for its large, deciduous, blue/green leaves. In summer white flower spikes extend the height of the plant to 1m. It needs to be mulched in the spring and watered in the hottest months. Protect the leaves from slugs and snails to maintain the foliage display. Find out more...

Problem of the monthRose rust

Rose rust is a fungal disease which starts out as bright orange pustules on leafstalks, branches and leaf undersides in spring. In summer yellow-orange pustules develop further on the underside of the leaves. As well as looking unattractive, the feeding fungus can weaken the plant. Many roses are available which have some resistance to rose rust. It can be treated by good hygiene and, if you wish, by using an appropriate fungicide. Find out more...

In the news

Chelsea Flower Show - the winners

In its ninth year at Chelsea, the Trailfinders garden finally won the Best in Show award for its dramatic show garden design by Phillip Johnson, which focussed on sustainability within an Australian urban environment. In the Great Pavilion the Warmenhoven display of alliums and amaryllis earned them the Diamond Jubilee Award, while the delphinium and begonia presentation by Blackmore & Langdon won the President's Award. In the public vote Geranium wallichianum 'Rozanne' was crowned the people's 'plant of the centenary'.

Sugar benefits transplanted trees

Research by the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratory has shown that feeding transplanted trees with a sugar solution can positively increase root vigour. The studies were carried out using 12 tree species and recommendations have been prepared for tree professionals to use.

University report indicates bee decline

In a report commissioned by Friends of the Earth, the University of Reading has found that most of the 12 'iconic' British bee species they examined are now in decline across the UK. The Potter Flower Bee is now only found in a handful of sites while the Great Yellow Bumblebee is gone from 80% of the land it was originally found on. Intensive farming and urban development have been identified as the main reasons for the decline. The UK has lost 20 species of bee since 1900 and numbers of the 250 remaining species have fallen dramatically in recent years.


Realistic ideas from the Chelsea Flower Show

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is full to bursting with great ideas for your garden. From planting schemes to ornamental structures, if you have a blank canvas in your back yard then Chelsea will help you fill it.

But for those with less grand designs, Chelsea can also provide inspiration for quick and easy improvements. We've scoured the show for fresh ideas for your garden which you could do in one weekend (actually most of them will only take an hour or two):

Chelsea 2013
  • Make use of old building supply bulk bags by planting them up. They're brilliant as raised beds for vegetables because they allow for a really deep soil level (particularly good for things like potatoes). If you don't need the soil to be so deep then simply roll down the top of the bags to the level you want, or fill the base of the bag with polystyrene and top up with compost. Perfect for urban designs.

  • This year's NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) garden included large cobble stones with messages painted on them. Why not create your own for your family sayings, names or wishes? It's a great idea for kids. Use acrylic (oil based) or enamel paint so that your artwork doesn't wash away. If your designs are going to be walked on (eg if they are on cobbles in a path) you can use a clear sealant/varnish over the top to protect them.

  • Take inspiration from Sparsholt College who created wonderful chairs where the seat padding has been replaced with herbs, though you could use other plants such as sedums. A base made from stout plastic should support the weight of the thin layer of compost the plants will grow in. You could even plant your seat with thyme or chamomile, which will survive being sat on - but if you intend to do this then ensure that the seat is reinforced, perhaps with a solid metal base (with drainage holds) or a strong metal grid.

  • Transform your autumn or spring prunings into handy - and free - plant labels (shown here). A grafting knife is perfect for taking a slice out of the wood to make these attractive plant markers. Sharpen the other end to stick into the soil, or drill a hole if you want to hang it from a tree or shrub.

Read our blog for more ideas.


What's on this month

As things warm up make the most of sunny days by visiting one of the many summertime garden events happening around the country. Here are a few to try:

  • 1st & 2nd June - Bovey Tracey Open Gardens, Bovey Tracey, Devon.
  • 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th June - Edible Gardening - Seasonal Advice Weekly Drop In, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
  • 12th June - National Garden Scheme Open Day, Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire.
  • 12th to 16th June - BBC Gardeners' World Live, NEC, Birmingham.
  • 15th & 16th June - Plant Exchange, University of Leicester Botanic Garden, Oadby, Leicestershire.
  • 15th & 16th June - West Woodhay House Garden Show, West Woodhay House, Newbury, Berkshire.
  • 21st to 23rd June - The Blenheim Palace Flower Show, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire.
  • 24th June - Organic Vegetables Talk, Loseley Park, Guildford, Surrey.
  • 28th June - Tree Medicine Talk, National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire.
  • 29th & 30th June - Hemingford Abbots Flower Festival, Hemingford Abbots, Cambridgeshire.
  • 30th June - Dilston Physic Garden & Northumberland Medicinal Plants Open Day, near Corbridge, Northumberland.
  • 30th June - Raby Castle Plant Fair, Raby Castle, Staindrop, County Durham.