Oak Leaf Gardening Monthly Cuttings
Newsletter 49 - June 2015
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.
  • Remove any unopened flower buds from rhododendrons in case they harbour bud blast.
  • Propagate shrubs/roses by softwood cuttings, clematis by layering and short-lived perennials (eg pinks) or rock plants by cuttings.
  • Clip box hedges and topiary to keep them neat.
  • Trim back winter flowering heathers.
  • Divide bearded irises after flowering.
  • 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.
  • Water tree ferns, watering into their crowns.
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.
  • Stop cutting asparagus spears and top dress the plants with a general purpose fertiliser.
  • Put straw or matting underneath strawberry plants to keep ripening fruit away from the soil.
  • Tie in and pinch out the sideshoots of tomato plants. Start feeding them once a week.
  • Remove male flowers from cucumbers.
  • Pinch out new shoots on fig trees to keep the plants compact.
  • Provide soft fruit plants with extra water as the fruits develop.
  • Cover soft fruit with netting to keep the birds off the ripening fruits.
  • Prune wall-trained plums and cherries, removing diseased, dead, damaged, crossing or weak stems.
  • Regularly feed crops growing in pots and grow bags otherwise they will run low in nutrients.
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 'Eyepaint'

June heralds the start of the rose season and Rosa 'Eyepaint' is a striking addition to any garden. This cluster-flowered rose has vibrant, scarlet flowers and a slight fragrance. It will grow to around 1m tall and 80cm wide and can be used as a hedge or screening, as well as in beds or borders. Find out more...

Problem of the monthCucurbit powedery mildew

Cucurbit powdery mildew is a fungal disease affecting plants from the cucurbit family (eg courgettes, squashes, gourds and cucumbers). It causes a white powdery coating on the leaves and can weaken plants and, in severe cases, kill them. Find out more...

In the news

Chelsea winners

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Kilimanjaro Sunrise' has won the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year award for 2015. The compact shrub, produced in a joint venture by Javado and Van Son & Koot BV, grows to 1.5m tall and has white blooms. It will be available to purchase from this autumn via Burncoose Nurseries.

This year's Best In Show award went to the Laurent-Perrier Chatsworth garden designed by Dan Pearson, who returned to exhibit at Chelsea after more than a decade's absence. The Sculptor's Picnic Garden (pictured below), designed by Graham Bodle for Walker's Nurseries, won the Best Artisan Garden award. The Best Fresh Garden prize went to the Dark Matter Garden created by Howard Miller Design Ltd on behalf of the National Schools' Observatory.

The Sculptor's Picnic Garden

Crowdfunding to support Scottish parks

MyParkScotland, the country's only crowdsourcing website to support parks and green spaces, has been set up to provide private funding for Scotland's parks. One of the first projects, creating a mini orchard for Hayburn Park Association in Glasgow, has already raised over £330 of the £550 it needs. Currently focusing on Glasgow and Edinburgh, the website hopes to eventually extend to include green spaces across Scotland.


Low maintenance gardening - lawn alternatives

For some gardeners their garden lawn is a labour of love. Hours spent worshiping each blade of grass. Mowing, feeding, weeding, scarifying, aerating and top dressing to get that beautiful sward of green stretching out from their home.

A well kept lawn is a beautiful addition to any garden. But it’s easy to underestimate the amount of work that’s required for a pristine lawn, and to suddenly find that instead of a verdant carpet, you have a mossy quagmire on your hands (or, rather, under your feet). This article, while admiring the dedication of those with terrific turf, is for gardeners who simply don’t have the time to achieve such perfection.

So, what are the options? Well, here are our suggestions for low maintenance lawn alternatives along with the pros and cons of each.

Artificial grass

Tick It’s getting better and better. Forget the plastic-looking fake grass of yesteryear, today’s artificial turf is realistic and tough.

Tick Great for kids as they can play on it just like normal grass (only without the mud).

Cross It’s expensive to install.

Cross It won’t last forever (though some come with a 20 year guarantee, so it may well last until you next move house).

A ‘natural’ lawn

Tick Means that you can keep your grass, but without the maintenance of a ‘well manicured’ lawn.

Tick Low cost solution (although you’ll still need to maintain a lawn mower).

Cross Will require some mowing to keep it to a reasonable height.

Cross If you have beds and borders around the lawn then the weeds within the lawn will inevitably spread to them.


Tick Cheap and easy to install.

Tick Provides a soft surface, so it’s suitable for children’s play areas.

Tick Its dark colour is attractive and will contrast well with surrounding plants.

Cross The looseness and lightness of bark means that it will ‘travel’ around the garden so it’ll need to be topped up regularly.

Cross As it breaks down you will find that weeds start to grow in it, so the whole area should be replaced with fresh bark every few years.


Tick A wide variety of styles and colours are readily available to suit all gardens.

Tick If the paving is pointed with mortar then this should prevent most weeds growing on it.

Tick A permanent solution which should require little maintenance (although some paving types will need regular cleaning, see below).

Cross Can be expensive and generally requires professional installation.

Cross Some paving will require regular cleaning and will become slippery if algae is allowed to grow on it over the winter.

Cross Paving can look rather harsh over a large area, though this can be prevented by softening the edges with plants, creating planting pockets within the paving or mixing it with other hard landscaping materials such as gravel.


Tick It’s available in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours, so you can find the perfect style to suit your garden.

Tick It’s a relatively cheap solution which you can usually install yourself.

Tick You can use edging or a metal grid to create shapes and patterns with different coloured gravels.

Cross Gravel does have a tendency to ‘travel’ so you will find it appearing on nearby beds and paths.

Cross It only takes a small amount of soil to ‘contaminate’ your gravel and cause weeds to grow, although this is easier to manage (by hand removal or weed killers) than in a lawn.

Cross It’s not a great surface for children to play on and can feel a little unstable to the elderly or infirm.


More suggestions for lawn alternatives...


What's on this month

As the summer hots up, take advantage of the good weather by visiting one of these garden events:

  • 2nd June - Frogmore House Garden Open Day, Frogmore House, Windsor, Berkshire.
  • 5th & 6th June - Toby Buckland's Garden Festival At Bowood, Bowood House and Gardens, Calne, Wiltshire.
  • 5th to 7th June - The Garden Show, Stansted Park, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire.
  • 11th to 14th June - BBC Gardeners' World Live, NEC, Birmingham.
  • 13th & 14th June - Open Garden Squares Weekend, various locations in and around London.
  • 14th June - Plant Exchange, University of Leicester Botanic Garden, Leicester.
  • 27th & 28th June - Shenstone Open Gardens, Shenstone, near Lichfield, Staffordshire.
  • 27th & 28th June - Woburn Abbey Garden Show, Woburn Abbey, Woburn, Bedfordshire.
  • 28th June - Grand Bonsai Event, Capel Manor Gardens, Enfield, Middlesex.
  • 30th June to 5th July - RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey.