June has arrived, after our long wait for May and the Irish spring and all of a sudden we are nearly at mid-summer.
As a working gardener I feel a bit shell shocked at the overwhelming list of “jobs to be done.”
Twenty odd years of experience have taught me, in theory that is, to prioritise, (it’s still very easy to get distracted by a patch of Hairy Bitter cress, Cardamine hirsuta.)
So, priorities for June, in the Irish Garden, or five things you should do:
- Cut the grass as often as you can. O.K. no need to go too mad, but it is worth trying to do it once a week. That lovely mix of warm and damp weather we are having means that if you leave your lawn unattended for more than seven days it is likely to run amuck. None of that South East of England parched landscape for us.
- Do go on bindweed, Calystegia sepium, patrol. Bindweed, Convulvulus arvensis, being the weaker field version of the well-known garden smotherer. It is well worth patrolling the garden for this most thwarting of weeds. Try to trace it to its base and pull. If you don’t have the time, or patience, to unravel the top then don’t worry, at least you’ve halted it for now and it will wither within a few hours. For those not averse to using a bit of Roundup, try painting the leaves with a mix, perhaps using a sponge and empty bottle of pop, or paint brush and small bucket. Beware of spills and do ware gloves.
- Water greenhouse / tunnel regularly. Even though some days are dull or damp, temperatures under cover are now well up. Try to provide some permanent ventilation and do water mist regularly in order to prevent those dry conditions so favoured by greenfly, whitefly and red spider mite.
- Tie in your clematis’. This should really have been going on for the past few weeks and should continue to be done regularly. It is not too late to start in most circumstances. It does create a wider spread and help support. Same applies to many climbers.
- Weed in one area at a time. Try to tackle one part of your garden at a time. At least then you know you have got control somewhere.
- Do not forget to prop tall perennials now. Well worth doing before they get too unruly, looks better too and not like an afterthought.
- Do not leave any of your bedding plants unplanted. It is a common occurrence that the ambition to plant lots of bedding exceeds the actual time and ability to plant them. Don’t leave it too late to get the best from your hard work and efforts in propagating the plants you have or those you paid hard cash for. If nowhere else at least plant them in a spare bucket or that broken window box you should have thrown out.
- Do not leave any of your vegetable seedlings unplanted. Same story as above.
- Do not leave any of your pots unplanted. Again, same story as above and it can lead to some interesting results, for example the pot with the Nigella, sweet pea and purple sprouting or the lettuce, mint and Rudbeckia combination.
- Do not forget to sit back and enjoy the sunshine when it does show up. Very important although usually best practiced in somebody else’s garden or beer garden as then you are not distracted by the “to do list” and can enjoy a moments smugness instead, looking at their unkempt climbing rose.