Summer is here and the garden is hitting its stride as roses, peonies, irises and other many other flowers flourish. Temperatures are rising and theoretically we should be frost free from now onwards, but keep an eye on the local weather forecast and protect tender plants accordingly.
The plant of the month for June is the Clematis. Clematis is one of the most popular garden plants and no wonder. This versatile plant can be grown on walls, pergolas, frames, in containers, or left to scramble through trees and shrubs.
Clematis requires moisture-retentive, but well drained soil. Most will thrive in full sun or partial shade, however keep the roots cool and shaded by careful positioning of other plants, or put a layer of pebbles at the base of the plant. When planting new clematis bury them deeply, 3 inches below the original soil level, this will promote new shoots from the base and help the plant recover if it’s affected by wilt. Clematis wilt is a fungal disease that affects large-flowered hybrid cultivars. The fungus causes rapid wilting and, in severe cases, can kill the whole plant. Wilting can also be caused by environmental issues, in gardens, clematis are often planting in shallow, dry soils in exposed sites, and often too close to buildings or fences. In such circumstances they suffer from root stress which contributes to poor growth. There are no chemical controls for Clematis wilt, instead try to create a more suitable environment by mulching heavily. If fungal infection is suspected cut all wilted stems back to healthy tissue and promptly destroy the affected material. Disinfect pruning tools to prevent the spread of spores and avoid transferring infected plant and soil material to a new area. If growing in pots, choose a pot that is at least 45cm deep (18”) and use a John Innes No2 potting soil.
Regular pruning of clematis encourages strong growth, left unpruned, clematis can turn into a mass of tangled stems with a bare base and flowers well above eye level. Clematis has a reputation for being difficult to prune, but it isn’t as long as you know when your clematis flowers. There are numerous clematis species, hybrids and cultivars but for pruning purposes they are split into three distinct pruning groups based on the time of flowering.
Group One: This group Flowers early in the year and does not require any pruning. However if pruning is necessary it should be pruned after flowering in mid to late spring.
Group Two: Are the large-flowered hybrids that flower May to June, and should be pruned in late winter or early spring and again after the first flush of flowers in summer.
Group Three: Flower in late summer on growth made in that season and should be pruned in late winter or early spring.
Here are my other top tips for June:
- Pinch out side shoots of indeterminate tomato plants
- Protect carrots from root fly by covering with Environmesh.
- Damp down greenhouses on hot days to increase humidity and deter red spider mites.
- Water hanging baskets daily and feed fortnightly with a liquid fertiliser high in potash.
- Look out for Aphids, and treat accordingly.
Whatever June brings I hope you get a chance to step out into the sunshine and enjoy the season as you tackle this months gardening jobs.
Rachel Sobiechowski BSc (Hons) P&R Garden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon 01842 814800 www.p-rgardensupplies.co.uk