We find keeping busy is the best way of staying warm over winter and with a drier than normal winter predicted wet weather excuses for not getting all of those nagging jobs done will be few and far between.
Crisp sunny days in winter are a blessing when so many jobs beckon.
With gaps and holes proliferating in the border over May ,by June any cohesion is lost - it is time to discipline the unruly mob.
- Make sure all shrubs and evergreens mixed through your perennials are pruned, trimmed and fertilized before cutting down the last of the perennials.
- Reorganize groupings - the copious notes you took through the summer will guide you.
- If your border is wide enough see if you can't discretely establish a 30cm service path through it so that extra planting, staking ,and later on, dead-heading can be effected more easily.
- Drive in stout labelled stakes to mark positions of tender perennials and new additions which will be planted in spring or place unused terracotta saucers where the plants are to go.
- Finish cutting down perennials and lift and divide older clumps , work from the back, loosen soil and mulch as you work your way towards the front.
- If poppies are to be sown - remove any mulch and thrust a few twiggy branches in the ground to make a cage over the seedbed - scatter seed and water in with a fine rose watering can.
As the bulk of the garden ebbs away what needs to be done to restore balance becomes more obvious.
- Assess your shrubbery to see where an evergreen shrub may add a spark to predominantly deciduous planting or vice-versa.
- With most deciduous shrubs deplete by June, now is a good time to lift lower branches to reclaim some lost ground for other planting. You can then lift and divide clumps of wood Anemone (before they become too active) to plant under them.
- The bedraggled remnants of Clematis maximowicziana and the viticella varieties can be dispensed with over the coming month. Cut down to 30cm or so, feed and mulch.
- June is the best time to prune and tidy tree Peonies, there is nothing more bedraggled than a peony bush hanging on to last seasons leaves and seedpods. Tree peonies benefit from being forced to make new growth from the base. As with Hydrangeas, remove some of the branches , those with the flakiest bark, from down near the base - vigorous new water shoots will replace them with lots of flowers to follow. Mulch and feed generously.
- If frosts have arrived any evergreens taking on a yellow tinge ( low temperatures expose iron deficiency) should be given a dose of lime and a spray of Iron -chelates to restore them to a verdant state by spring.
- As deciduous hedges lose their plumage rogue seedlings of other species become obvious. A sharp hoe will make short work of them.
- If you didn't manage it last month apply iron-sulphate and potash to lawns to toughen them up over winter, as well as a general organic fertilizer such as Blood and Bone which will have broken down by spring just in time for steady new growth.
- Healthy lawns stave off weed invasion but even they have a hard time dealing with clover. If dealt with early rather later a weaker solution of a proprietary herbicide can be used.
- Di-kamba , the active ingredient in most proprietary broad- leaf herbicides is particularly toxic to English Box - be careful with its use near them.
- Deal with mossy compacted spots with a fork and a bucket of sand - fork, lift and brush
Even if it is not something you do, winter is a great time of year to orchestrate the volunteer seedlings in your garden.
- Moving self-sown seedlings of Opium Poppies at this time of year makes sure they establish before the coldest weather is upon them.
- With all bulbs in the ground now is a good time to lightly dress borders with a light layer of mushroom compost.
- Over-sowing bulbs with the likes of Allysum, Nemophila, or Limnanthes can be done down now in mild areas.
- All bulbs, except Tulips ,should already be in the ground, if you can't get them into the garden immediately then pot them into an assortment of pots ready for early spring planting when other bulbs in the garden are showing through.
A succession of elegant flowering pots over the warmer months needs planning , much of it can be done this month.
- June is a good month to dig up and pot a clump of Parma Violet from the garden or rejuvenate your old pots of them. Leave outside in a sheltered position until established and then bring into the relative warmth of a sun-room or closed-in verandah and enjoy the sweet fragrance at close quarters in late winter.
- Pots of Cyclamen have been available since Mother's Day, always buy two or three so that they can be rotated. Cyclamens need cool temperatures and ample light if they are stay compact and continue to flower. Keep just moist and take the opportunity to feed with half strength fish emulsion when watering.
- Pots of Stocks in the greenhouse will be starting to bulk up - keep them well fed.
- In mild areas pots of Primula malacoides and obconica are starting to become available -buy them early so that the plants are compact and strong.
- Pots of Freesia will be active by now and should be held in a frost free position or cold greenhouse.
- Pots of Hosta respond to being re-potted and divided at this time.
- Re-pot and fertilize any evergreens used in your displays. A dose of Iron-chelates and a little slow release fertilizer watered in will keep any topiary in pots verdant over winter.
A bounty of flowers for the house needs some planning and not a small amount of effort.
- Late flowering Chrysanthemums can be dug and moved into a sheltered position to protect flowers from inclement weather. ( water well after doing so)
- Plunge some small twigs in and around Sweet Peas to get them climbing as quickly as possible.If severe frost threatens make shift cloches should be propped up against their trellis
- Keep young weed seedlings at bay by spraying bulb rows with vinegar.
- As peonies become available get them in the ground as quickly as possible.. If buying divisions through the mail, prepare their planting position now. - dig in copious quantities of humus and dolomite lime.
- Lilies can be lifted and divided this month if their stems have withered.
- Self-sown seedling of Orlaya will be making themselves obvious by now and can be thinned or moved elsewhere whilst still small.
- Helleborus foetida will be getting ready to flower - provide support of some kind in readiness.
- Cut away Helleborus orientalis foliage an mulch plants to protect from rain spatter.
- Dahlias can be cut-down now , left in-situ or lifted and stored in a frost free spot.
- Mulch herbaceous Peonies with mushroom compost ready for their burst of spring growth.
- Summer pruned roses will still be offering a few flowers, regularly dead-head them to prevent mildew taking hold on old flowers in wet weather.
- New roses will be arriving soon so now is the time to dig generous holes and fill with compost in readiness
- In coastal areas Stocks and Snapdragons will be starting get a go on so keep them moving with a little liquid feed, the same applies for cool- greenhouse grown ones in inland gardens.
Have the following at the ready for winter jobs
- Potting mix
- Lime, Iron-sulphate, Potassium-sulphate,
- Blood and Bone
- Sphagnum moss
- Snail bait
- Stakes for tree planting
- Bamboo canes in various sizes
- Copper-sulphate to deal with mossy lawns
- Slow release fertilizer
Make sure your tools are in good order, it's a good job for a wet day.
- Send off tools for sharpening in preparation for winter pruning
- Send the mower off for it's yearly service - you know putting it off will only cause headaches in spring!
- The emptying of the compost bins over winter is always gratifying, all that goodness for free.
- When filling up the compost bins try and keep the proportion of green and brown waste equable and add lime ( to sweeten) and old compost ( to inoculate) as you go.