The British climate doesn’t do half measures does it? Most notable through early June was the intensity of the sun. We all felt at ease about the planting, confident that the frost was left behind and then a fireball appeared in the sky and everything cooked. Any carelessness with watering saw things fry. Many hours were spent, just keeping things alive. Any late seed sowings were particularly vulnerable. Pea and bean seed shrivelled in the ground and late salad seedlings just fried. I had three goes at starting some summer lettuce, before I was able to celebrate success. Dedication to task has paid off and as June has rolled forward there has been some robust growth. The opportunity to sow seed continues and as we move through July. Perennials, biennials and vegetable seedlings can all be started, just think cool and set things off in pots and trays in a bit of shade. I try to sow perpetual spinach, spring cabbage and wallflowers in particular this month, lining up stock for autumn planting.
Having identified that the gardening industry has (like so many) been chasing for stock, this year has seen a proliferation of quality in certain groups. I might have struggled to find fruit trees or rockery plants, but have seen some fantastic ferns and a delightful mixed range of big herbaceous plants. Do have a mooch about, there are some real treats. Recent sorties from the site have seen me buying Penstemons, heuchera and all manner of things from other centres for use in my own garden. A bit more maintenance for me and as the days roll on that becomes the keyword for gardeners. If the dry weather continues keep the blades up a bit on the mower to avoid scorching and keep things watered well. Feed summer bedding and vegetables, liquid Tomato food is particularly useful and easy to apply, it can be used on everything (it will really buck up baskets and containers). Keep dead heading as summer plants shouldn’t be wasting energy on seed production if you want them to perform until autumn and keep harvesting too.
The first beans need picking, courgettes need to be cut quickly (you don’t need lots of marrows), the first potatoes will be ready and salads should be used before they bolt.
And finally, check out the wildlife. The fields and hedgerows are bursting with life and I have never seen so many wild orchids. Nature always quick to upstage us.