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Gardener's Diary 

                              June 2009


delphiniumWith our kitchen garden in full swing for the season I am planning making jams, chutneys and pickles using our own produce, and have already made some rhubarb and Ginger jam which is delicious and surprisingly easy to make!

If you are having trouble identifying bugs and pests in your garden try the BBC's Pest and Disease Identifier - it's brilliant and has helped me identify several previously unknown bugs!






An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

I have been gardening now as a hobby for about thirty years, but have no formal training..  I don't have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice, but I also think the modern trends work well. 

This column adds a new dimension to my interest in all aspects of horticulture and will hopefully help others find pleasure in this healthy and therapeutic pastime  ...  

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife, remembering to tell me which country you are from..  

Click here for previous editions of Gardener's Diary..

Jobs for the month..

Bedding Plants

Now that you've planted out the summer bedding plants give them plenty of water during dry spells until they're well  established.. If the ground is very dry you will need to continue watering the plants until it can be seen that they are growing away on their own. Some bedding plants will need more water than others so check instructions. It is usually pretty obvious however, if a plant is not happy.. 

Hanging baskets and tubs

abutilonI often find that as soon as I put out my hanging baskets there are strong winds that can batter them to bits within minutes, but it is worth just putting them in a sheltered place until the winds die down. The plants will soon grow stronger and be able to withstand a battering.


June, what a wonderful (and very busy) time in the vegetable garden, the sheer variety of different weeds and the speed at which they grow never ceases to amaze me!

About twenty percent of my time on the plot is dedicated to weeding at this time of the year, but it is very necessary to give the crops space and to reduce competition for water and nutrients (I actually find weeding quite therapeutic and satisfying!)

Planting out of seedlings is now is continuing apace;

  • sweetcorn seedlings have been planted in blocks of around six plants so that they pollinate one another easily, marrows, courgettes and runner beans have been planted out into their final growing positions and sowings of small quantities of salad crops continue.
  • tomatoesPotatoes have been earthed up to around six inches, the early crop (International Kidney) should be ready at the end of July, but the main crop (Desiree) will stay in the ground until late September.
  • The brassicas are netted over with fine mesh netting to try to keep the butterflies off - so much easier than picking off caterpillars!
  • Broad beans are growing strongly and are flowering well, and in the middle of June I will nip the tops out to discourage blackfly.
  • The greenhouse has now been emptied of flower seedlings and is being organized for tomatoes, cucumbers and melons.
  • Shade the sunny side of the greenhouse to prevent the greenhouse getting too hot in mid summer by using a glass whitewash such as Coolglass.


  • The strawberries look like they will be ready in time for Wimbledon, so they will be netted over in a couple of days. It is important that if you do net your fruit, do so securely, because if birds get in then cannot get out, there will be no fruit at all left! I moved the raspberry bed over winter, so it is new this year and I was not expecting much fruit, but incredibly there seems to be a lot of flowers, so who knows?
  • The blackcurrant bushes are loaded with fruit and the blueberries, again new this year, have blossomed and set.
  • The gooseberries are swelling and I am planning to try to make some jam with them this year, as I have with the rhubarb (absolutely delicious)
  • The new plum trees have failed to blossom and are just making new growth, so I will be pruning them at the end of June to get them to a better shape. It can take five years for them to establish and start flowering.
  • At the garden centre the other day I couldn`t resist buying a nectarine tree, which has been potted up into a 15” pot and placed in the sun on the patio. I must remember to bring it inside the greenhouse next spring, to blossom!


It is still a good time to Weed & Feed your lawn now the rain has arrived.. It should be applied three days after and three days before cutting the lawn. If the grass is too wet to use a spreader for the job, just broadcast it by hand.. Don't put the first three mowings on your compost heap as they will be full of chemicals from the lawn.

lily beetleLilies

If you have lilies growing in your borders that appear to have their leaves eaten away, look out for red lily beetles (see left) and zap them with Provado ultimate bug killer.. Fail to eradicate the beetles and your lilies will get too weak to survive after a couple of years..


Ponds and Water gardens  

Remove blanket weed using a stick or fork, taking care not to damage any wildlife. Add tender water plants to your pond and add new varieties of hardy plants to your existing stock. Feed the fish more frequently this month. Keep water levels topped up in hot weather.  A good month for visiting your aquarist for new fish to add more interest. They will have four months to grow and get acclimatised to your pond.. Watch out for the beautiful dragonflies near your pond.




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Amazon book - Gardens of the National Trust. When the National Trust decided to take on the care of gardens, the aim was that these would be the very best of their kind in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust now has the finest collection of gardens ever assembled under one ownership..

Volunteering with the National Trust

Volunteers are active in all parts of the National Trust, from the new central office in Swindon to the summits of Snowdonia and Divis Mountain near Belfast.

View their latest opportunities, or find out more about the kind of roles and different places you can volunteer:

Still with the National Trust, some of the most visited National Trust properties are now holding regular farmers' and food markets.  Click here for details  and dates.



RHS gardens


Their four flagship gardens not only provide year-round interest and offer a wide range of courses, talks and demonstrations, they also demonstrate the best gardening practices, new techniques and exciting new plants to try in your garden.

Or go to their website for a diary of all other events at:-

Do you take advantage of the BBC Gardening website for information? I find it a valuable source of information, for up to date legislation, countryside matters and useful information such as plant pests and diseases, which saves me ploughing through all my gardening books, with the knowledge that their information is bang up to date...


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


Visit where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line.  Have a look to see what is new, and special seasonal offers


Some places to visit... 



The Eden Project


The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.


Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN


The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden

The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...




Some websites of interest to gardeners:-


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 



Useful reading:-


"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced ?5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is ?6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website

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