Nearly mid summer with the shortest day of the year occurring on the 21st of the month, the ground is still very dry from the dry weather we had in April & May, this is where a good soil structure & mulching come into their own. This month gardeners reap the rewards of their labours, with the first vegetables of Summer ready to harvest and the flower garden in full bloom. Most of the hard work of sowing, pricking out, thinning & planting will have been completed by the end of last month, it is now time to enjoy the sunshine, the flowers and the longer evenings, who knows it may even be possible to sit outside after dark & enjoy a warm evening. At the beginning of this month the leaves on trees and shrubs still look fresh . The dry hot days of Summer have not yet taken their toll, although prolonged fine weather can often transform gardens and countryside by the end of the month. Lawns in particular, often fade and start to turn brown unless you water them thoroughly , which may not be always be possible.This should not be a cause of concern, as lawns recover very quickly when Autumn rains arrive. In warm weather many pests proliferate, the ever present pests such as greenfly and blackfly breed rapidly and red spidermite & whiteflycan be especially troublesome. In the greenhouse a combination of biological controls and good gardening practice may alleviate some of the problems .If you are using chemical controls prompt action, as soon as the first symptoms appear, is the most efficient way to control most pests. Jobs for this month check hanging baskets & containers, as these may now need watering every day. Keep on top of the weeding & the ever present threat from slugs & snails. Sow seeds of fast-maturing annuals, Spring flowering biennials, herbs & vegetables. Plant out the Summer bedding, but still watch the weather forecast, it has not been unknown to still have a frost in early June. Thin hardy annuals and vegetables sown in the open ground. Keep on top of the dead heading of flowers & roses. Stop chrysanthemums, as required for the type you are growing. Disbud border carnations for larger blooms. Ensure the greenhouse has adequate shading & ventilation. Cut back aubrietia and alyssum in the rock garden, immediately after flowering. If you are growing camellias, pruning can be carried out after the last flower has fallen, this will give the plant time to regenerate & start producing the flower buds for next Spring.
Tales from a small garden: continuing from last month, with clearing the ground, keeping watching out for new things growing, latest arrivals are Solomon’s seal, aquilegias, small violas and different coloured forget-me-knots. Some of the most persistent weeds are bellwind, danylions & ground elder. Danylions are the easiest to remove using a propriety weed killer, unfortunately the bellwind & ground elder will have to be removed the hard way by repeated digging, to remove every last trace of root. In the garden I am the proud possessor of a 15 foot high bay tree, this was completely surrounded by growths coming up from the roots with some of the nearly a thick as my arm, with these cut down, left with another heap for the re-cycling centre, one useful thing I discovered was a number of self set small bay trees these were potted up and these will go to the next Club plant sale. It was very disappointing at the beginning of last month, when we had that severe frost, a lot of my newly planted apple trees, lost their blossom, it also badly damaged all the new growth on my fig trees & grape vines, still as we gardeners say, once we finished cussing, there is always next year! The greenhouse is now up & the tomatoes, peppers & cucumbers potted up, must strive to get something for the Autumn show. The bald patches in the lawn, which were grass seeded last month have grown well. Vegetable garden area dug over and plenty of compost added, this part of Wrought seems very rich in clay & chalk!, last month a trench was dug & plenty of compost and manure added, I now have the canes up for the runner beans, which are be planted out at the beginning of this month. At the bottom of the garden is the Wroughton brook, with the bank badly overgrown, a start to be made clearing this and consolidating the bank, I have received various ideas of how to go about this, to be continued…………….
Club news: on Saturday of April we held our annual Spring show, we thought it might be a difficult year, what with all the daffodils flowering early, we need not have worried, you did us proud with even more entries than last year, and all to the usual high standard. Due no doubt to the splendid weather on the day, we had record numbers of visitors to the show, the afternoon teas & cakes plus the outside sale stall did a roaring trade. This was the first show organised by our new show secretary Julie Dowsettand what a splendid job she made of it. Our thanks go to all those people who helped at the show & behind the scenes and most importantly clearing up afterwards. Our thanks also go to the Wroughton Floral art group for their support on the day. Our speaker for April was Richard Cripps, from near Bradford-on-Avon, with a talk entitled “basics of vegetable growing”, something there for everyone to learn, plus lots of hints and tips The member’s monthly competition, “Spring flowers” was won by Doreen Davis. Next month there will be no meeting at the Ellendune hall as we will be holding our evening visit to an open garden,, in the National open garden scheme. Our venue for this meeting will be at Chisenbury Priory at East Chisenbury, a former medieval priory, with 5 acres of gardens, mill leat & carp pond. Leave Ellendune car park at 6-20, car sharing available, contact Jess Bailey on 812267, for further details. Price to members at £6 & non-members at £8, let us hope for good weather. I will close this article with the following thought, “A garden: one of a vast number of free outdoor restaurants operated by charity-minded amateurs in an effort to provide healthful, balanced meals for insects, birds and animals”.