June Gardening Tasks- A month of flowers and sunshine and a time to catch up on the small chores in my garden after the heavy months of April and May. By now, you’ve probably planted all the annuals and vegetables for the year and your containers are starting to fill in nicely. Here’s some June gardening tasks to keep on top of all your early spring work.
Pinch Back Leggy Perennials:
Chrysanthemums, sedums and any late blooming perennials do well by cutting them back in June to about 1/2 their height to create a fuller mound. Don’t worry, you won’t lose the flowers. By cutting them back now, you will actually get more blooms. It also prevents them from splaying open and flopping over when they do bloom. Continue this practise till mid-July whenever the plant has grown about six inches.
Support Tall Plants:
Tall plants and perennials such as delphiniums are ready to be staked to prevent flopping over during blooming time. There’s nothing worse than seeing your gorgeous blooms lying on the ground. There’s a number of different methods to stake your plants depending on the type:
Delphiniums and other single stemmed plants should be staked using a bamboo pole planting close the the base of the plant. Tie it with a loose string or even better, a piece of nylon panty hose which prevents any cutting.
Phlox, astersa and large clumps of poppies will do well with a Plant Grid (associate link) that the stems can grow through. Place it about halfway up the final growth height of the plant to prevent flopping.
Peonies do better with a Peony Ring Support (affiliate link) or a system of intertwined branches you’ve saved while pruning other shrubs. Carefully place the ring support around the plant and “thread” through any wayward stems. Raise it to a height where the flowers won’t flop over – I usually place mine about 6″ below the top growth. To intertwine branches through the base of the plant – just criss cross branches in and out through the base of the plant.
Prevent Black Spot and Other Disease on Roses:
Look for black spot on the leaves of your roses and take care of it before your roses are beyond saving. Black spot is a fungal disease which when left untreated can kill the leaves on the rose bush causing it to eventually die.
If you find black spot (characterized by the black spots found on the lower leaves of the bush), clip off the diseased leave cluster and burn them. DON’T PUT THEM IN THE COMPOST as this will not kill the disease. Once you’ve cut away all the diseased leaves, mulch around the base as any splashing soil can transfer the disease back on to the plant.
Care for Your Container Plants:
Your container gardens should be filling in nicely about now and you’re probably thinking that your work is done. Actually I find container gardening one of the most challenging aspects of gardening. They start out looking gorgeous, full and healthy. But with just a couple of days of neglect, they can turn into a dying brown leggy mess before your eyes. How do I
try to prevent this from happening?
This is an essential part of keeping your containers looking their best. Water your containers each and every day. I like to water first thing in the morning to allow the container to dry out through the day rather than having wet feet overnight. You may actually need to water some containers again in the evening on particularly hot days or if they are in the sun and dry out quickly.
Fertilize your containers with a water soluble organic fertilizer designed for flowers such as Nature’s Care. Fertilize weekly to maintain healthy plants that will sustain stress such as lack of water (for those weekends away) or hot sun.
Deadhead regularly. Many container planters have plants that need deadheading such as petunias, lantana, geraniums and New Guinea impatiens. To keep your plant looking it’s best, deadhead daily. This not only makes the plant look better, it also encourages new blooms.
You may also want to have a look at your planter and see if it doesn’t need a good haircut. It sounds drastic, but by cutting plants such as petunias and lantanas back by about 2/3 will prevent that spider leg look later on in the year. You will go a couple of weeks with a “bald” looking plant, but it will be worth it in August when everyone else’s containers are looking straggly and yours are nice and bushy.
KEEP CONTROL IN THE VEGETABLE GARDEN:
Stake tomatoes, peppers and eggplants now to help support them during the hot growing season coming ahead. By doing this in June when the plants are smaller, you will save yourself a lot of work trying to tie up 4′ tomato plants in July.
We use a system of staking and cages – learn about it here! It is the only way that we can take control of these plants.
In the picture above, you can also see the bean teepees that I use. Made from bamboo poles, these are easily put together with some string tied around the top. I also wrap string about 1 foot and 3 feet up for extra support. Do this before the beans are too big – when they are about 6″ high is ideal.
Pinch back basil and other herbs to encourage growth.
Mulch to prevent weeds
Add a layer of bark chips, newspaper or straw around the base of the plants and along the paths between rows to prevent weeds and help maintain moisture. By doing this now before the plants get too big, it’s more manageable and will definitely cut down on weeding throughout the summer months. We were lucky enough to get some dried straw (not hay as it will seed and grow) from a farmer friend. But you can get bark mulch at your local garden centre if you can’t find straw.
Prune Lilacs and Other Spring Blooming Shrubs:
Now is the time to prune lilacs, forsythia and other spring blooming shrubs. The weigela in the picture above will also get a good haircut. Spring blooming shrubs set next year’s flowers on this year’s wood. So by pruning early in the season, you are encouraging new growth on which the plant sets its flowers. If you wait till later in the year, you risk not having blooms next year. To deadhead a lilac, simply cut off the finished blooms at their base. Leave the rest of the stem intact.
You can also thin any overgrown shrubs by cutting out about 1/3 of the older stems. This encourages new growth and helps air circulate through the shrub which helps prevent diseases.
Change The Water in Your Birdbath Regularly:
Your birds will thank you for it!! The water in your birdbath goes stagnant very quickly. So to encourage both drinking and bathing, change your water regularly and you may be treated to a show like this one. We had just changed the water on this particularly warm evening and the starlings just flocked to it for their evening bath. I think I took 300 pictures that night watching them frolic in the water.
June In the Garden:
Your garden is at the height of it’s beauty in June with many perennials in bloom, the containers looking gorgeous, birds visiting and veggies growing. Don’t forget to take some time to sit with a book and a glass of cold ice tea (or wine!!) and enjoy the fruits of your labour. My patio is the perfect spot to enjoy the view. Where’s your favourite spot to relax in your garden?