June might not be the busiest of time of the year in the garden, but there are still some garden tasks to keep in mind.
It’s also an excellent time to admire the sculptural qualities of certain deciduous trees and to do some planning for the seasons ahead.
Grow your own vegetables and herbs in containers this winter.
As the winter’s fingers get more ice cold, and tasks in the garden get fewer, why not experiment a bit with new ideas?!
A very simple idea, but very rewarding, is growing vegetables and herbs in containers. Not only can the project be productive; it’s also a great idea to keep the kids busy when they can’t go outside to play.
Your container can be made of anything!
Be creative: use recycled products, like big yoghurt tubs or old coffee tins. Just be sure to make drainage holes at the bottom of your container.
Also keep in mind that your container needs to be wide and deep enough – especially for vegetables like carrots.
Fill your containers with proper potting soil. You can add some peat moss or vermiculite to the soil to help to keep more moisture in the soil.
If you are using seedlings from your garden center, plant them directly in the container. But if you are sowing seeds, you need to remember to keep them indoors for a while – especially if the temperature is getting very cold outside. Once the seedlings are big enough, move your containers to an area that gets 5 – 6 hours of sun per day.
What to sow in June:
Beetroot, cabbage, carrots, broad beans, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, peas, parsley, spinach, radishes and turnips.
What seedlings to plant in June:
Some lettuce types, fennel (bronze), thyme, marjoram, calendula, chives and garlic chives.
(Photo shared from buzzle.com)
Keeping your Camellia happy.
Camellias are amongst the showiest and most rewarding evergreen shrubs that bloom in autumn and winter. They add colour and interest to the landscape when many other garden plants are entering the winter dormancy period.
You’ve purchased your very own Camellia....what to do now?
It’s important to know that Camellias flourish in rich, well-drained soils with a slightly acidic pH value. They prefer to be planted in dappled shade or in a south-facing position.
Plant your Camellia directly in the soil or it can also be grown successfully in pots – where the acidity of the soil is also easier to control.
Firstly, you will dig a nice deep, square hole and will add a bag of acidic compost and a handful of bonemeal. And mix thoroughly.
Create a small planting hole in the centre of the prepared soil just large enough to fit the root-ball of the plant. Carefully remove the container from the roots.
Place the plant into the hole and firm down into position. Water the plant well, immediately after planting.
Remember that if your young plant produce an abundance of flower buds, it is advisable to remove every second bud in order to promote better quality blooms. It also assists in not placing too much pressure on the plant to try and sustain an over-abundance of flowers.
Conifer care in winter.
Conifers are generally plants that require little maintenance, but unfortunately they are targeted the last few years by the Italian cypress aphid.
This 3mm long aphid with no natural predators begins its life cycle as the weather turns colder in autumn. In April they reproduce rapidly and by June their numbers have reached a peak. Warm weather causes them to hibernate. Conifers are thus at their most vulnerable in autumn and winter.
The aphid sucks sap from the branches of conifers and while they feed, they secrete a strong toxin that causes the leaves to turn brown.
Ask us to recommend a suitable product to control (and prevent) these pesky critters from causing havoc in your garden.
(Photo shared from RHS)
Winter pruning tasks.
As winter is generally a relatively quiet time in the garden, it gives gardeners the opportunity to catch up on some much needed garden maintenance.
Like pruning those trees and shrubs that will benefit from being cut back during winter.
It is important to remember that not all plants should be pruned in winter – some produce flowers or fruit on the previous season’s growth.
(do not prune these now: Hydrangea, Weigelia, Spiraea)
Plants that do benefit from winter pruning:
Roses, deciduous fruit trees, grape vines, Tecoma (Cape honeysuckle), Plumbago, Hibiscus and Lagerstroemia (Pride of India).
While you’re at it, you can also do these pruning tasks now:
• Chop off the top (growth tip) of young plants to encourage dense basal growth (especially in the case of hedges)
• Cut back quick growing flowering shrubs (such as Gaura) just after flowering. Cut them back to nearly ground level.
• Cut out dead branches from hedges, using a pruning saw or long handled loppers.
• Remove old and diseased growth, and low and overhanging branches from deciduous trees (they stand bare this time of the year which gives you the opportunity to see where pruning is necessary)
• Winter is also the right time to prune conifers lightly with hedge shears.
This will encourage fresh new spring growth and will keep the neat, symmetrical shape of the plant. It also helps to keep the conifer’s size more manageable.
When it comes to garden tasks (such as pruning) it is important to use the right tool for the job, rather than simply using the closest tool at hand!
You will see that having the basic necessary tools, will make your gardening work much lighter!
Get the best quality that you can afford – never buy cheapies, as they seldom last or work properly and only makes gardening pure frustration, instead of a pleasure.
(Photo shared from hunker.com)
Winter indoor plant care.
Whilst many a gardener prefers to “hibernate” indoors in the cold winter, it’s actually an opportune time to give some attention to your indoor garden!
It’s a well-known fact that the presence of plants in your nearby surrounds, improves the mood. Investing in indoor plants for your home, are indeed an investment in your happiness!
However, like their outdoor brothers, indoor plants need to be looked after. Watering and fertilising is most of the times not enough.
It’s an ideal time of the year to remove yellowed or dead leaves, to dust your plants with a soft cloth, stake the tall plants if necessary and to have a look out for pests.
More reasons to have indoor plants:
In a study it was observed that the participants were 12% more productive and less stressed in an environment with plants.
It was found that with proper selection and placement indoors, plants can lower heating and cooling costs by as much as 20%.
Plants cost less than some expensive decor choices, yet the perception is that interior plantings are more expensive looking and more welcoming to visitors.
(Photo shared from Plantimex)