Tips of the month – June

The weather has not been as warm and sunny as we would expect for this time of year, but at least we have passed the danger of frost and night temperatures are getting milder. The longest day of the year falls on June 20th, bringing warmer temperatures and extra sunlight. June is the month when we can finally move those tender plants outside including houseplants. 

June is a month of plenty in the garden: plenty to harvest, plenty to grow and plenty more to do!

Refresh your roses 

They will benefit from extra attention now to provide plentiful blooms in the weeks to come.

  1. Regular deadheading to encourage new flowerbuds.
  2. Give them plenty nutrients: sprinkle a granular feeds around the base or water on a liquid rose feed.
  3. Control pests by rubbing them off by hand or using an organic spray.
  4. Tie in climbing or rambling roses. 

Tidy spring perennials  

Chop scruffy-looking spring-flowering perennials for potentially a second flush of flowers. Cut Alchemilla mollis, early geraniums and Oriental poppies back to ground level and remove flowering stems of lupins and delphiniums for more blooms.

Sow poppies

If sown direct now, when the soil is warm, many varieties flower within eight weeks. Poppies prefer to be sown direct rather than into a seed tray as they hate root disturbance. Follow Sarah Raven rule of the 4 T’s to succeed with direct sowing: 

  1. Sow into a fine Tilth.
  2. At the right Time (when the soil is warm and moist). 
  3. Sowing as Thinly as you can. 
  4. Thin the seedlings to leave them spaced 10-12in (25-30cm) apart.

Plant ahead for next spring: sow biennials

Next spring’s biennials, such as wallflowers, sweet williams, foxgloves and honesty, need time to establish. 

  1. Sow them now direct into seedbeds spaced a couple of inches apart. 
  2. Thin in three or four weeks to 30cm (12in), and transplant to their flowering position in early autumn. 

If you are short of space, sow them in pots in a sheltered spot until the autumn when they can be planted in their final positions. 


You can now bring your tomatoes out of the greenhouse.

  1. Plant them: at the base of pre-prepared supports. The key for a good harvest is to make sure you dig in plenty of garden compost just before planting and to keep the roots well watered. Tomatoes are hungry plants!
  2. Train them: train cordon tomatoes (also known as vine tomatoes) by pinching out the side-shoots that sprout from the joints between the leaves and the main stems. For bush tomatoes, let them develop naturally by leaving the side-shoots unpruned.
  3. Feed them: when the fruits start to set. 

Plants cucurbits

Young courgettes, marrow, squash and pumpkin plants started off indoors can be planted out. They need a sunny site with rich soil enriched with garden compost. 

Direct sow outdoor

Regularly sow and harvest beetroots, spring onions, radishes, herbs and salads leaves. Water well in dry weather to reduce risk of them running to seeds.

It is not too late to direct sow in the ground, runner beans and french beans, courgettes and squash.

Plan for a winter harvest

Sow slower-growing vegetables such as cabbages, broccoli and kale for harvesting in winter. Sow seeds in module tray or seedbed for transplanting to final position later. 

Don’t forget 

  • Keep on top of weeds … but don’t worry about a few weeds: you don’t want them to smother young seedlings but a few left in borders will support wildlife.
  • Get slug hunting: watch plants closely for signs of slug damage.
  • Deadhead flowering plants: to ensure the plant keeps producing more flowers rather than putting its energy into forming seeds.
  • Cool down the greenhouse:  At this time of year temperatures inside can rise to extremes, causing plants to become stressed and to dry out. Make sure that vents are open on sunny days. Drape shade nettings over the outside of the greenhouse. Damp down in the morning, wetting hard surfaces inside the greenhouse (floor and shelves) to help plants cope with the heat.
  • Top up water features.
  • Use water wisely: use water butts as much as possible and re-use water from the kitchen  such as water that has been used for boiling food or washing vegetables. Try to water early morning or late evening when it is cooler, to slow evaporation. Soak the soil around the plants roots once or twice a week rather than watering little and often every day. This will allow the water to seep deeper into the soil so the roots will grow down in search of it.  Create a shallow bowl in the soil around young plants – this ill act as a well. 

Tips of the month – May

With the weather getting warmer and risk of frost having passed, there is a lot that can be planted in both the flower and vegetable garden in May. 

Weather watch:

Although the risk of frost is diminishing, it is still a possibility as warm, cloudless days can be followed by cold nights. Keep an eye on the forecast and don’t be tempted to plant out tender plants until the end of the month. 

Toughen up tender plants 

Seedlings nurtured indoors cannot be planted outside straight away. Instead toughen them up by placing them outside in a sheltered spot for a few hours during the day then bring them inside. Gradually increase the amount of time they spend outdoors . Do this for a period of one or two weeks before planting directly into the ground. 

Divide Primroses

These spring plants can become congested over time . To reinvigorate them  and keep them producing blooms in future years, divide after they finished flowering:

  1. Dig them up: choose a cool day when the ground is moist
  2. Separate the plants: Using a spade pull apart the clump or slice into sections.
  3. Replant your divisions: backfilling the planting hole with compost or leaf mould. 
  4. Water well. 

Prune spring-flowering shrubs 

Flowering shrubs such as forsythia, ornamental currants, viburnums, chaenomeles (flowering quince) need to be pruned straight after flowering so there is plenty of time for new growth to develop and produce flowers next spring. 

  1. Use sharp, clean secateurs or loppers for thicker stems and remove any dead or damaged growth to a healthy bud or to the base of the stem.
  2. Prune out any stem growing in the wrong direction and spoiling the shape of the plant
  3. If the shrub is very congested, thin out the stems by removing a couple from the centre of the plant right down to the base. 

Plant out summer bedding and sweet peas 

Towards the end of the month, plant out begonias, tender salvias, pelargoniums, lobelias, sweet peas… Acclimatise plants to outdoor conditions  by putting them outside during the day and bringing them in at night for a week or two. Put the necessary support in place for climbing and trailing. 

Plant up baskets and window boxes with tender plug plants 

For long lasting summer colours it’s the right time to plant up hanging baskets and pots. If it becomes too cold for these plants to stay outside, keep your baskets and containers in a porch or greenhouse for a couple of weeks. 

Sow beans runner beans and French beans 

  1. Sow dwarf, French and runner beans:  5 cm deep into deep pots of peat-free compost and germinate on a sunny windowsill. 
  2. Set up supports ready for climbing types:  simply place three to four bamboo canes into the ground and tie to gather at the top. 
  3. Plant the beans outside once they have established, from late May. 

Earth up potatoes

Once the stems are 20cm tall, draw soil up to form a ridge along the row. 

This protect shoots from frosty and excludes light, which turns potatoes green and inedible.

Grow salads

Ensure a continuous supply of fresh leaves by sowing a small amount of seed every two to three weeks. 

Plan for a winter harvest

Sow slower-growing vegetables such as cabbages, broccoli and kale for harvesting in winter. Sow seeds in module tray or seedbed for transplanting to final position later. 

Don’t forget 

  • Keep on top of weeds: regularly hoe off or pull out annual weeds to prevent them establishing  and setting seeds.
  • Get slug hunting: watch plants closely for signs of slug damage.
  • Train climbers: tie in soft new shoots of climbing clematis and honeysuckle to their support. 
  • Apply a mulch:  to retain moisture: late spring is the perfect time to apply mulch. Adding a 5-7cm layer will help to retain moisture before drier summer conditions arrive.
  • Set up plant supports: put plant support in place before perennials get too big.
  • Water wisely during dry spells: focus watering on newly planted specimens. Do your watering in the early morning or early evening to minimise water loss from evaporation. 

Tips of the month – February/March

As the dark days depart, spring is on its way. We have already enjoyed some very warm days and on occasion, slightly dryer weather. February is the month to get your garden ready for new growth and colours. 

Weather watch:

With hints of warm temperature, February can sometimes be very cold. Hold off on most planting and sowing and focus on maintenance jobs that need to be done in the garden. After the stormy weather we had this year, it is the right time to check your fences and give them a coat of paint. Also clean paths and patios.


  • Lillies bulbs can be planted out towards the end of this month in pots or directly in the ground.
  • It is not too late to plant alliums, that will flower later than those planted last autumn. 
  • Summer bulbs: Order bulbs now to plant them when all risk of frost has passed.

Lift Snowdrops

It is the right time to lift and divide congested populations of snowdrops, replanting smaller clumps at the same depth as they were before.  

Cutting back and pruning

  • Clear away old stems and seed-heads of perennials left to stand over winter, making space for new growth. 
  • Prune summer flowering shrubs 
  • Lavender: trim back the old flower stalks 
  • Sedums: cut the brown stems down to ground level
  • Ornamental grasses: cut deciduous grasses down to the ground before new growth starts to emerge.
  • Shrub roses: remove dead or diseased stems and cut back repeat-flowering roses by a third to a half. 
  • Prune late-flowering clematis (group 3 clematis): cut just above a pair of healthy buds about 30 to 60 cm above ground.
  • Autumn fruiting raspberries: simply cut down all canes to the ground and apply a thick layer of homemade compost or mulch. 
  • Wisteria: February is the last month to give wisteria a winter prune. Cut back the stems to two or three buds. 
  • Fuchsia, penstemons: best to wait another month until you see signs of new growth. 

Sowing Annuals

  • It might still be too cold to sow outdoors. The end of the month is a good time to give annuals a head start, indoors in a warm sunny windowsill, or a heated greenhouse. Once the seedlings are big enough to handle, transfer them to small pots to grow, before moving them in late spring in the ground or bigger pots. 

Chitting potatoes

February is a good month to start chitting seed potatoes in a light, cool but frost free place. Potatoes will need 4 to 6 weeks of chitting before they are ready to plant. This will give them a chance to sprout and start putting on growth. They will be ready for planting in mid-March to April when the soli temperature warms up to 6-10 degrees.