Geranium joy – Grow-how tips for June

It’s all going pretty well up till now, as far as the garden goes. A spectacularly hot May, at least here in the south, has brought flowers a-plenty, and Caroline tells me that northern gardens are shaping up nicely too. Welcome rain is now wetting parched soil here, so with less stressed plants, we can get on with some jobs like cutting back geraniums, thinning fruit and dividing irises……………… Geraniums forever…. What a ridiculously handy species the hardy geraniums are! Their range is enormous – from the neat little alpine types like G. cinereum to 3ft.beauties like G. psilostemon...

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Cardoon flowers

Bees, battered courgette flowers and sparrow boxes

Things are really getting a shift on now, aren’t they? And some of your crops, such as courgettes, broad beans and tomatoes may be starting to flower, so you’ll be noticing many more bees and other insects homing in on your veg patch. You probably set out to grow food for yourself and your family, but in the process are feeding our pollinators too, so which crops are helping the most? We eat different parts of our food crops, the leaves of lettuce, the roots of carrots, the stalks of rhubarb. For all those crops from which we harvest...

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Summer pots, three ways

Planting up a pot is such good fun! You can grow a huge variety of things, as long as you adhere to a few simple rules regarding container, soil/compost, aspect and maintenance. (What are the chances that Caroline is paying attention?) You can use almost anything as a container but you MUST have drainage or your carefully-planted darlings will end up sitting in soggy sour soil that will eventually mean failure. Lots of people prop their pots up on little ceramic feet to aid the drainage, and I always add some extra grit to any potting mix for that...

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Rosa ‘Dortmund’

Rosa ‘Dortmund’ AGM

I make no apology for choosing another rose this week, we are in June after all, and this amazing climber is such a winner, I just couldn’t ignore it.  Many years ago, we first saw ‘Dortmund’ growing on a wall of ‘The Garden House’ in Devon and as I remember it was the only rose on sale in the nursery at the time. This, in itself, was a recommendation and it immediately went into the trolley! The foliage of this vigorous rose is glossy and dark green, it always looks healthy: no nasty black spot, no mildew and no aphids! The abundant clusters of single, pillar-box red flowers have white centres with yellow anthers and when they are lit from...

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