Oak Leaf Gardening Monthly Cuttings
Newsletter 37 - June 2014
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.
  • Clip box hedges and topiary to keep them neat.
  • Prune back brooms after they have finished flowering.
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.
  • Watch out for woolly aphid on fruit trees.
General tasks
  • Water plants frequently, particularly in dry spells.
  • Keep mowing the lawn regularly.
  • Damp down your greenhouse and provide additional shading if required.
  • Mulch any bare soil to retain moisture (water the soil before mulching).
Plant of the monthRosa 'Tatton'

Rosa 'Tatton' is a cluster-flowered bush rose producing large, coral coloured flowers with a good fragrance over a long season. Named to celebrate the first RHS Tatton Park Flower Show, this rose has good disease resistance although drought conditions can cause it to produce smaller flowers. Find out more...

Problem of the monthSolomon's seal sawrly

Solomon's seal sawfly affects Solomon's seal and related plants in May and June. The larvae start by eating strips from the leaves and will eventually defoliate the plant. Deal with the pest by removing the larvae by hand or applying a contact insecticide. Find out more...

In the news

Chelsea winners

Despite starting in a heat wave and ending in a downpour, this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show still had its heady mix of gardens and glamour. Best in Show winner, Luciano Giubbilei, designed the Laurent-Perrier garden which was frothing with creams and light blues (see picture below), contrasting against grey stonework and beeches cut into low mounds.

The People's Choice Award went to Hope on the Horizon, a garden designed for the Help for Heroes charity by Matt Keightley. The garden will be rebuilt at the Chavasse VC Home in Colchester, Essex.

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Miss Saori' won Plant of the Year. The Japan-bred hydrangea, displayed by Hillier Nurseries, has double petals with deep pink margins and white centres.

Laurent Perrier Garden at Chelsea 2014

Waitrose sell their own English wine

Waitrose has become the first English supermarket to sell its own, home grown, wine. The sparkling wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes from their Leckford Estate in Hampshire.


Attracting birds to your garden

There are many benefits to attracting birds to your garden. Aesthetically they bring colour, song and interest. More practically, they will help control pests such as slugs and aphids.

Birds can cause problems, damaging fruits, pecking up seedlings and distributing seeds around your garden, but these are pretty minor issues which can be easily fixed by the judicious use of netting and regular weeding.

There are three main considerations for attracting more birds to your garden; food, water and habitat.

Blue tit on feeder


The best way to feed birds is to introduce natural sources of food into your garden. This means using your beds and borders to provide fruits and seeds for the birds to eat, and also to encourage insects which birds find tasty to eat (so don’t work too hard to eradicate pests which could be food sources).

Native plants are a good choice for food, including rowans (Sorbus), thistles (Carlina), elders (Sambucus), yew (Taxus), holly (Ilex) and hawthorns (Crataegus).

In a smaller garden where you don’t have the scope for a wide range of plants you can use bird feeders to subsidise the natural supplies. These can also be useful for drawing birds closer to the house so you can get a better view of them. Make sure you clean feeders regularly to prevent bacterial infections.

A variety of food will attract different birds, for example peanuts are good for blue tits, coal tits, siskins and nuthatches. Finches love niger seeds and grated mild cheese will provide a feast for robins, wrens and dunnocks.


A supply of clean water will allow your feathered friends to both drink and clean themselves (dampening their feathers loosens dirt and makes it easier for them to preen).

You don’t have to pay out for an expensive bird bath to provide water in your garden. A plastic plant pot saucer with a shallow stone in the middle (to weigh it down and give the birds something to stand on) or an upturned dustbin lid make perfect water supplies. So long as there is a shallow area for birds to stand in, most containers will do the job well.

Clean the container regularly and float a rubber ball in it to stop it freezing over the winter, or defrost it each morning with water from a hot kettle.


The final thing birds need it somewhere to live. Many plants will provide perfect natural nesting sites for a wide range of birds, including elders (Sambucus), Cotoneaster species, oaks (Quercus) and dense masses of ivy (Hedera). Informal, native hedges are also a great spot for nesting birds, and will also provide a supply of food.

Nest boxes are an excellent alternative to natural nesting sites. They come in many different designs to suit different styles, sites and birds. Make sure you put your bird box in a spot which is sheltered from wind, rain and strong sunlight, out of the reach of predators, in view of the house so you can watch the birds coming and going, and easy to reach to clean it out once all its occupants have flown the nest.

Find out more about attracting birds to your garden.


What's on this month

It's finally feeling like summer might be here, so why not enjoy the sunshine at these events:

  • 3rd June - Garden Tour, Apley Walled Garden, Bridgnorth, Shropshire
  • 5th June - Floating Ballast Seed Garden Planting Event, University of Bristol Botanic Garden, Stoke Bishop, Bristol
  • 7th & 8th June - Garden Up, Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Sheffield
  • 7th & 8th June - The Fife Garden Festival, various gardens around Fife
  • 12th to 15th June - BBC Gardeners' World Live, NEC, Birmingham
  • 13th June - Summer Tree Identification Course, Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridge
  • 14th & 15th June - Festival Of Gardening, West Woodhay House, Newbury, Berkshire
  • 14th & 15th June - Open Garden Squares Weekend, various locations around London
  • 15th June - Plant Exchange, University of Leicester Botanic Garden, Leicester
  • 20th to 22nd June - Flower Show, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
  • 21st & 22nd June - Garden Show, Woburn Abbey, Woburn, Bedfordshire
  • 29th June - Gardeners' Question Time Summer Garden Party, National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire
  • 29th June - Great Bonsai Event, Capel Manor Gardens, Enfield, Middlesex