In many respects June is the most delightful month of the gardener’s year. The flowers of spring have gone, but in their place is a wealth of summer blossom. The lupins and the tall bearded irises are in their glory, and paeonies still remain in some gardens. Delphiniums have started their display and towards the end of the month will be at their zenith. Those who have seedlings of either lupins or delphiniums should keep them under critical observation, there being always a possibility of a real treasure (in terms of colour) cropping up which should be reserved for propagation by cuttings.

There can be no relaxation, however, for the keen gardener. Hoeing is a constant job unless surface mulches are laid down to economise labour. To be of most service these should be applied quite early in the month and preferably after heavy rain or a good watering. It is at this season of the year that the benefits of deep and thorough cultivation begin to show. Drought has nothing like the same effect on thoroughly prepared land as it has on shallow soil hastily dug to a depth of a mere few inches.

Planting out of any tender subjects remaining is a job for the first week in the month. Sowing of perennials and biennials must be made. Spring flowering bulbs which have ripened their growth should be lifted, and the increasing war which the gardener must wage on insect pests should be carried out with unabating vigour. Aphids, caterpillars, and other pests, if allowed to multiply unchecked, will create havoc in the flower garden and amongst vegetable and fruit crops.

Staking and tying and the feeding of plants that are actually in bud and bloom are other tasks to command attention.

In the flower garden push ahead with the planting of all tender bedding subjects including dahlias, begonias, cannas, fuchsias and foliage plants. There is little to be done in the way of planting hardy plants this month except that many seedlings from early sowings and cuttings which were inserted in the spring will have made sufficient growth to warrant transplanting in nursery beds so that they may gain strength and increase in size without drawing up weakly through overcrowding. It is an advantage if the bed or border for this purpose can be shaded from the full heat of midday sun. The rows of young plants should be far enough apart to make hoeing between them possible without risk of damage to the plants. This is not only a means of keeping down weeds, but provides also a surface tilth that retards the escape of moisture. Plants thus dealt with will be in far better condition for permanent planting in autumn or spring than those left crowded in the seed bed or frame all summer.

Tulips, hyacinths, and other spring flowering bulbs can be lifted if so desired and carefully dried and stored in a cool airy shed to await re-planting in the autumn. Auriculas and choice forms of polyanthuses and primroses can be lifted and divided. Disbud roses and feed regularly with weak liquid manure. Feed exhibition sweet peas after the first buds form.

Staking, thinning and tying quick growing plants will demand all the time available this month. Do not be afraid to thin out crowded stems of such plants as rudbeckia, helianthus, michaelmas daises, phloxes and solidagos. A few strong stems, given plenty of room will make a far better display than overcrowded clumps.

Feed delphiniums liberally, which are just beginning to open flowers and let none suffer thirst. As spikes of lupins finish cut them away just below the bottom pods unless it is desired to save seeds. The development of unwanted seed puts great strain upon the plants to the detriment of future growth.

No faded flower heads should be allowed to remain on rhododendrons and azaleas. Snap them off above the foliage. New growth buds will thus be freed from restraint and begin at once to grow vigorously. Old paeony flowers should also be removed except, perhaps, a few of the old types, which may be allowed to develop a few seed pods, which make useful material for vases when ripe. Make a start with rose budding towards the end of the month when the bark peels freely from the stock.

In the fruit garden as soon as the stoning stage has passed thin peaches, nectarines, and apricots, allowing three fruits to each two square feet of wall. Thin apples and pears which have set too freely, but not too severely at the moment. Thin gooseberries by picking green fruit for cooking. Continue to remove all unwanted runners from strawberry plantations.

Commence summer pruning of trained apples, pears and cherries about the end of the month. Tie in new growths of loganberries, tayberries and blackberries as they form. Cut a few right out from their starting point if they threaten to be so numerous that the growths will become unduly crowded.

In the vegetable garden sow seeds of French and runner beans, lettuce, radish and spinach for succession. Maincrop turnips and Swedes sow in the middle of the month and also a first early pea to crop after the late varieties. Perpetual spinach beet sown now will make a welcome substitute for spinach. Plant Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflowers, sprouting broccoli and savoys as the ground becomes available ( remembering that all these crop better if sown in hard ground so walk on it before planting). Maincrop celery and celeriac should be planted early in the month as well as vegetable marrows and ridge cucumbers raised earlier under glass. Continue with the thinning of previously sown crops. Earth up potatoes as growth proceeds and hoe between all growing crops as frequently as possible.

Water peas and beans etc during dry weather and feed established leeks and onions for exhibition. Cease cutting asparagus about the beginning of the third week of the month.
Give the bed some nourishment to encourage strong top growth of the stems still left.

Now that Spring seems to be established our thoughts will turn to the arrival of ‘Summer’. In earlier notes you will have seen that the arrival of Spring was defined as the date on which the average maximum temperature exceeded 50 deg F (10 deg C) and the same system can be used to determine the first day of Summer. In this case the critical temperature is 64 deg F (18 deg C). In this respect we must appreciate that the highest day temperatures in Britain are encountered in the Home Counties. With our definition of summer we thus get the earliest dates within a rough square whose corners lie at Norwich, Wrexham, Exeter and Maidstone. The coasts are excluded because the water around Britain is still cool, but the June 1st ‘line’ includes all lowland England south of the Wash.
A fortnight later, ‘summer’ has spread to most of Yorkshire and the East Midlands, South Lancashire, South Wales, and the South and East coasts of England.

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