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June is the month to smell the roses

by Kathryn Cronin – 10th June 2018 @ 11:11pm
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kathryns june musing2kathryns june musing

The birds are singing their little hearts out as I write this. Is it just me who thinks they have been more vocal this year, as if an extra celebration is called for after such a cold winter? May feels like it has passed in a whirlwind of seed germination and planting out, with the lanes lined in glorious clouds of cow parsley.

The spring bulbs may be over but there are other summer treasures to look forward to. With the later season this year, I think there is still time to plant out but now is definitely the moment. I am planting nigella and cosmos as well as a later batch of sweet peas. I have found if you stagger germination, I can be cutting their lovely scented stems until the first frosts. Oh, and did I mention the dahlias? I confess I have the odd tuber growing right now. Be brave and cut off the tops as it will give you even more flowers.

June is the month to sink your hands in the warm earth and to be inspired by others gardens. I can highly recommend a trip to the Dorothy Clive gardens just a short drive from us. When I went there, there were swathes of azalea and rhododendrons colouring the hillside but the jewel in the crown was their laburnum arch. Walking through a tunnel of yellow scented chains of flowers was such a memorable highlight.

It is also time to sow your biennials. You know, those flowers that only flower in their second year that you wish you had planted last year. I have sown honesty for their wonderful transparent seed pots and foxgloves for their tall stately spires. I prefer to call them by their latin name though. Digitalis always sounds more mysterious and that's exactly where I first discovered it as the poison of choice reading Agatha Christie's marvellous books. Like everything planted in the garden, care is required when handling. After a stab from some blackthorn last year, I realised that garden safety is important, so you'll find me gardening with my boots on, wearing gloves and with something covering my eyes.

With a blackbird nesting under rhubarb leaves, it was initially tricky to plant out in my vegetable patch but now they are fledged, I have planted runner beans (of course), kale and courgette. I have also started a small patch of asparagus that will be ready in 4 years! Well, I thought, if I don't plant it now, the time will never shorten. The mint and feverfew are in full flow as is my hay fever but with this super dry weather, it is absolutely key to water regularly, especially your smaller pots. Most of all though, June is the month to smell the roses, literally. I am sure I am not the only one who loves these blousy beauties. The thing I have found with roses is to feed them well to ensure you'll have a second flush later on. And although there is no village sunflower competition this year, I will be growing a few of them again this year just to see their cheerful yellow faces once again. Gardening definitely connects you with the land around you and the seasons, even if they are a bit later this year.

Want to find out more? See Kathryn's Fierce Blooms website

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