Gardeners' notes - what to do in June

Gardeners are great optimists and will already be starting to think about next year.  For us that means sowing biennial seeds to provide flowers for the spring and early summer.  Wallflowers and foxgloves are currently our favourites.

We sow wallflowers directly into the soil on any spare ground in the vegetable garden.  ‘Vulcan’, ‘Cloth of Gold’, and ‘Scarlet Bedder’ have been our regular choice for several years but a peruse through the seed catalogues is time well spent if you want to try other alternatives.  Once the seedlings are up the only problem you may experience is that of tiny flea beetles creating small holes in the leaves.  These attacks are usually shrugged off but if you find them to be a particular problem - more common in a hot, dry, summer - a cover of fine horticultural mesh should keep them at bay.

Foxgloves are our other favourite choice of biennial.  We treat them as a bedding plant and use them generously throughout the borders.  We usually sow in a tray of compost and once growing and of a size that’s easily handled they’re transferred individually into 9cm pots.  About six or eight weeks later we move them out into any vacant space in the vegetable garden.  This is just their temporary lodgings until they get planted into their final location in the autumn once the flower borders have been cleared. 

June is the time of year when your Clematis will have put on a lot of growth and, while quite capable of scrambling and clinging unaided, some help may be required to stop them becoming too unruly.  Simply tie them onto their supports with string. 
Roses should be at their peak now and to prolong the flowering season regular deadheading is time well spent.  Cut the spent flower and a small portion of stem off just above the first set of leaves.