Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online


Enjoy a year of gardening inspiration with RHS membership!

Join the RHS today and you’ll enjoy free, year-round entry to more than 200 spectacular gardens*, including the four RHS Gardens where you can bring a family guest for free each time you visit. Plus, enjoy exclusive access to RHS Shows, a monthly copy of The Garden magazine (worth £54 per year), personalised gardening advice from RHS experts and much more.

All this is yours from just £44.25 when you pay by Direct Debit.

Join online or call 020 3176 5820 quoting 3938.

*Ts & Cs apply – please see above link for details.

Gardener's Diary


In association with the Royal Horticultural Society

The Royal Horticultural Society

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK's leading gardening charity dedicated to advancing horticulture and promoting good gardening.

Their goal is to help people share a passion for plants, to encourage excellence in horticulture and inspire all those with an interest in gardening.

In this section on Laterlife they share their expertise to provide your Jobs for the Month - making sure that your garden is ready for the season ahead.

Find out more about how to become a member of the RHS

Jobs to do in June

Summer arrives

Top 10 jobs this month

June 21 is the longest day of the year, and the extra light and warmth encourages the garden to put on an exuberant burst of growth. But this extra light and warmth also means weeds will sprout up from seemingly nowhere. Keep on top of them by hoeing regularly in dry conditions.


  • Hoe borders regularly to keep down weeds
  • Be water-wise, especially in drought-affected areas
  • Pinch out sideshoots on tomatoes
  • Harvest lettuce, radish, other salads and early potatoes
  • Position summer hanging baskets and containers outside
  • Mow lawns at least once a week
  • Plant out summer bedding
  • Stake tall or floppy plants
  • Prune many spring-flowering shrubs
  • Shade greenhouses to keep them cool and prevent scorch

Hanging baskets

Whether planted for summer or winter interest, hanging baskets provide valuable colour at eye level. Choose vibrant bedding plants for a short-term show or herbs, shrubs and evergreens for a long-lasting display.


Quick facts

  • Suitable for Many annual and perennial plants
  • Timing April/May and September/October
  • Difficulty Easy

What to plant

Plants for summer baskets:
ArgyranthemumLysimachia (creeping jenny), 
Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’, FuchsiaPelargonium (geraniums)
Viola (pansies), PetuniaSalvia and Nicotiana (tobacco plants).

Plants for winter baskets:
Buxus (Box)CrocusGaultheriaIris reticulata cultivars, Hedera (ivy) – either variegated or plain, Carex (ornamental sedge), Primula (primulas and polyanthus), Cyclamen (small-flowered cyclamen)Viola (winter pansies and viola) and Erica carnea (winter-flowering heathers).

Plants for perennial baskets:
Buxus (Box)CordylineGaultheriaHedera (ivy), Carex (ornamental sedge) and Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’(purple-leaved sage).

For general ideas on plants in containers for seasonal interest see our pages on summer and winter pots.


When to plant a hanging basket

Plant summer hanging baskets from April onwards, but they will need protection from frost until the middle or end of May. If you do not have a greenhouse, it is usually easier to plant in situ once the frosts have passed.

Plant winter hanging baskets between September and October, and it doesn’t matter if they are frosted as the plants are should be hardy.

You would normally plant up a long-lasting perennial hanging basket from April onwards, depending on the types of plants being used.

How to plant a hanging basket

The basic principles of creating a hanging basket for winter and summer are the same.


First of all, if you are using a standard wire basket, it will need to be lined. You can buy readymade cardboard liners and fibrous materials sold for the purpose, but a thrifty option is to collect moss from the lawn. Aim to cover the inside with about a 1.5cm (½in) thick layer of the material and then half fill the basket with compost.


A multipurpose is fine for a display that only has to last for one year, but John Innes No 2 is better for a longer-lasting arrangement. And if you want to grow plants such as winter flowering heathers, it is best to go for ericaeous compost, although Erica carnea and E. × darleyensis cultivars are tolerant of other composts that contain lime.

Also consider using water-retaining granules to help reduce the chore of watering.

Choosing and arranging the plants

  • When you begin to arrange the plants in the basket, it is usually easiest to start with one, central plant. This can be used to create structure and impact, which is particularly important in winter if its other companions fail to flower in cold snaps
  • Around this, position some trailing plants to cover the sides of the basket, particularly if it is made from wire. However, using a more decorative basket is best where it will be easily seen
  • Along with this selection, it is worth considering carefully the flowering plants. Choose colours that work well together and plants that flower reliably. For example, winter-flowering pansies, petunias, lobelia and geraniums are always winners

Finishing touches

Once all the plants are in, fill around the rootballs carefully with more compost, firming gently. You can push in some controlled-release fertiliser pellets or plugs at this stage, and then water well.


Once the basket is planted, what else is needed?

  • Check baskets every day in summer, watering always unless the compost is wet. Drying out is an increasing risk as the plants grow and days remain warm
  • Although baskets don’t dry out as quickly in winter, they still need regular checking. Aim to keep the compost moist but not soggy, and avoid wetting the foliage and flowers
  • In spring, summer and early autumn (April to September), apply a liquid fertiliser
  • Deadhead regularly to prevent the plants’ energy going into seed production, rather than more flowers



Hanging baskets rely most on the gardener to ensure they don’t dry out. However, poor flowering can be remedied by trying the following:

  • Ensure the baskets stays moist but not soggy
  • Feed once a week with a liquid fertiliser
  • Winter hanging baskets do greatly benefit from a sheltered, sunny spot. If the position is exposed, consider giving the basket some protection in the coldest weather. Use either a layer of fleece, or sit the basket on a bucket in a cool greenhouse for just the worst days

Watch out for common pests such as aphidsslugssnails and vine weevil. Diseases that may be troublesome include powdery mildewpelargonium rustfuchsia rust and impatiens downy mildew.


The Royal Horticultural Society

Want more Gardening tips?
Why not view the Royal Horticultural Society's website.

Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

Latest Articles:

No easy cure for baldness

balding man's head

It has long been accepted that baldness, especially in men, is a natural part of ageing. For some, it starts very early but for most as the years roll past hair thickness starts to decline and many suffer from severe hair loss.


Recipe Inspiration

 kiwi fruit

Health Food of the Month recipes.

And why not take a look at possible wine pairings suggested by Waitrose Cellar.

A stitch-up in August

cutting pieces of coloured fabric

LaterLife readers might be interested in the new Festival of Quilts 2017 which is taking place from August 10th to the 13th at the NEC Birmingham this summer.


Win great prizes in our current Competitions

Denial DVD

Click here to visit the competitions page.

Article Archive

The LaterLife Article Archive provides a comprehensive list of links, to all the current regular article series' as well as quick links to older articles.
Back to LaterLife Today

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site


Advertise on

LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti