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Gardening Advice - add colour to your garden but watch out for aphids as the weather warms up

PUBLISHED: 00:19 31 May 2013

Brodsworth hall and gardens

Brodsworth hall and gardens

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Add colour to your garden but watch out for aphids as the weather warms up says Dan Booth, head gardener at Brodsworth Hall

Brodsworth hallBrodsworth hall

With warmer weather and more daylight hours, the garden is growing quickly and, if you’re not careful, will swiftly get out of hand. Hoeing and weeding are still a top priority at this time of year, but now the maintenance basics have to compete for your time with many other important tasks all vying for attention.

A weekly grass cut is now a necessity here at Brodsworth and probably in your garden too. Even with our large range of machinery to choose from, it can still take the team two days to get it all cut and edged off and all this grass can cause a few issues elsewhere.

Depending how big your lawn is you may end up with quite a heap of arisings which can be problematic for the compost heap. If grass is not sufficiently mixed with other green waste it will form a horrible, stodgy lump that will take a very long time to compost thoroughly. To avoid this, make sure you keep the heap well turned to get the grass mixed in and incorporate high carbon waste (woody stuff) to keep the air gaps open. We have specialist machinery to help process the many tonnes of green waste Brodsworth produce but in the domestic garden a pitch fork, spade and shovel do just as good a job.

Another task that produces a lot of waste is the bedding change over. You may have already done this last month but if not, get it done now so you can enjoy the display for the rest of the summer.

You can make use of any spare bedding you have left over to plug any gaps in herbaceous displays. This is particularly useful if you have lots of late flowering perennials such as Rudbeckia or Helenium which won’t be flowering for at least a month or so yet. You can also use fast growing annuals such as Calendula to fill any obvious gaps. These can be sown directly in situ in June. Once they germinate, keep your eye on them and thin them out every couple of weeks until you end up with the desired spacing, about 6ins or 15cm is a good guide.

Here at Brodsworth we’re fortunate enough to have two herbaceous borders, one early summer and one mid to late summer so there are always perennials in flower in one of the borders from May to November.

Another way of adding more flowers to your garden for the summer without too many maintenance commitments is by using baskets, troughs and pots.

Ideally, if you’re growing your own, you will have already planted them with plugs or seedlings back in April and having spent a couple of months in the shelter of a glasshouse they should be looking lovely and healthy, ready for display.

It’s highly unusual to get hard frosts in June so now is a good time to get them out. You’ll need to keep checking for watering, feed them every couple of weeks with a liquid feed and frequently dead head to keep your basket looking good. To ensure well rounded baskets, you should turn them every so often so that each side gets the best of the sunshine. We grow a good selection of baskets for sale here at Brodsworth, always packed with a wide variety of plants.

By June your spring bulbs should have died back sufficiently for you to cut off this year’s leaves. However, avoid doing this if there are still some green in the leaves as it can cause the bulb to come up blind next spring, meaning all leaves and no flowers.

If any of your bulbs have come up blind you may as well remove them altogether now as they are unlikely to ever flower again.

You will probably notice an increase in insect activity this month brought on by the sunshine and the warming of the soil. Most of what you see around the garden will not do your plants any harm but there are a few you need to keep an eye out for, in particular, aphids.

June is a big month for aphids as they start to multiply rapidly and populations can explode from a few hundred to millions in a matter of days. Treat early infestations as soon as possible either by removing by hand or using chemical or biological controls. Be careful though as many biological controls will not work on massive aphid populations as they breed too quickly for the control to catch up, in these cases, treat with chemicals first then use bio controls to maintain a low population.

More tasks for June

Vent glasshouses on hot days

Clip hedges, checking for nesting birds first

You can still divide Hosta.

Lift Myosotis before it seeds everywhere (and pops up annually…forever!)

Check for Hellebore leaf spot on old leaves

Pot on root bound plants

Top tip

If you’re off going on your summer holiday this month keep the glasshouse cool and reduce the watering requirement while you’re away by applying a coat of glasshouse shading paint.

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