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Gardener's Diary            June

Gardener`s Diary is a regular feature of run by Rosemary Martin, who is semi retired.  She says anyone can enjoy gardening whether they have a large or small garden, can`t tell a dandelion from a daisy, or are aged 9 or 90… Here you will be able to see what jobs you should be doing in the garden month by month, get ideas for spectacular seasonal planting schemes, read previews on new plants and products, find out where to buy them, and get up-to-date news of forthcoming events and places to visit. 

For those of you that have never dabbled in the "black art" of gardening you will first need to get some basic knowledge from a good gardening book. You will find some within this article as examples...


But first an introduction from Rosemary...

I have been gardening now for about thirty years, long enough for my husband to know that it`s wise to bury his head in a newspaper when I get the secateurs out...  I don`t have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice but I also think the modern trends work well. Plants in my garden have to be resilient as they get moved around frequently, and my husband has been heard  to mutter  “I don`t remember that tree being there this morning..”

Hobbies have come and gone over the years but only gardening has endured, and now in retirement this column adds a new dimension to the hobby, 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.  Click here for previous editions of Gardener`s Diary..



Twenty sixth edition  - June 2003

In April we had May sunshine and in May we had April showers; such is the nature of our UK climate. But the time is now right for the bedding plants to be planted out. Make sure they are kept well watered for a week or so after planting, if the weather is dry.

I recently read in my daily newspaper that partly because of modern farming methods, British bumblebees could be wiped out in a matter of years. Bumblebees need a constant source of suitable plants throughout Spring, Summer and Autumn, and many gardeners believe that all flowers benefit bees. But lots of hybrids are sterile and lack the pollen and nectar on which the insects feed. Gardeners are being urged to plant the flowers that give them a buzz by turning their borders into horticultural havens for bees. Bees are particularly attracted to white, blue, purple and yellow flowers because they see ultraviolet colours and make a beeline straight for them! Rosemary, Thyme, Lavender, Bluebells, Cornflowers, Honeysuckle, Rhododendron, Geraniums, Delphiniums, Foxgloves and Daisies are some of their favourites.... Read about  The Plight of the bumblebee  here. I am always amazed at the size of these beautiful creatures that fly into our conservatory, only to seem unable to find their way back out. We keep a `bumblebee rescue kit` on a shelf which we use first to catch and then release them with. 

Wildflower seed mixtures..

A colleague from mentioned that she had bought some exceptional seed to plant up a paddock area of her garden. The seed was from Pictorial Meadows, who sell wildflower seed mixtures that are suitable for use in a wide range of situations from small scale domestic use to large commercial plantings The mixtures are designed to produce beautiful and uplifting meadow-like sheets of colour, providing high quality, very long-lasting and cost-effective flowering displays. They overcome many of the problems that are often associated with creating meadows from seed, such as unreliable germination, short flowering season, untidy appearance and the need to sow on low-fertility soils. Have a look at their website:   Pictorial Meadows ... Wildflower seed mixes are also `Bumblebee friendly`!


Click here for answers to some of your recent gardening queries


Jobs for the month - June

Bedding Plants

When it is time to put them out into the garden, give them a good soaking before planting and make sure they are well firmed in. Finally give them another watering to get them started. 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

I often find that as soon as I put out my hanging baskets there seem to be 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..



`Weed and feed`can be used from April until September in case you have missed out applying it..  May was a very wet month and should have given you lush green lawns that need two cuts a week to keep them looking neat. If the weed and feed hasn`t killed off all the weeds in your lawn use a spot weedkiller, but make sure it is one that can be used on lawns. I once used the wrong type and had to endure a whole summer of brown scorch marks on our grass - It did look a mess..



The recent rain has helped adult birds find worms and insects for their young. In fact the rain has helped a multitude of wildlife, none more so than slugs and snails. I saw an article recently about slug pellets being harmless to pets, but having read the labels on the slug pellet containers, this doesn`t seem to be so, therefore I shall find other methods of keeping my hosta plants snail and slug free. I find they dislike broken shells and sharp gravel, or even a ring of salt around the plants if they are planted in a paved area.


Ponds and water features


Continue removing any blanket weed, using a stick or fork and 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 dragon flies near your pond.


Some favourite RHS flower shows (Dates taken from their website) 

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show  -   8 - 13 July 2003
Charity Gala Preview of the
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
 - 7 July 2003
RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park  - 23 - 27 July 2003
Malvern Autumn Garden & Country Show  - 27 - 28 Sept 2003
RHS London Flower Shows  - Monthly
Wisley Shows  -
April, June and August

And some places to visit... 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 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...




Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming

Have a look at previous editions of Gardener`s Diary



Some websites of interest to gardeners:- 


Alan Titchmarsh MBE, TV gardener, writer, broadcaster and thoroughly nice person. Just a few choice words to describe the peoples` favourite TV gardener. See his website....



Thompson and Morgan: 


A growing resource for gardeners worldwide. The site includes the international online seed catalogues, the young plants catalogue (UK only), the wholesale seeds catalogue, together with the award winning Germination Times and a host of other useful information.


Gardening 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. 







Good 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

RHS Garden Finder is 12.99 from Dorling Kindersley




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