Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Making an early start for June
8:10am Saturday 2nd June 2012 in Gardening
GINA PARKINSON rises early to catch the scents and admire the early plants, including geraniums.
AT THIS time of year I’m often awake by 4am; the garden is noisy with birds and the occasional lorry trundles by into York, the walls of our top floor bedroom flexing to take the vibration.
Plans begin to form as I lie in bed trying to go back to sleep and eventually I give in and sneak downstairs to make a cup of tea and go outside.
Our garden in June is tall with self-sown aquilegia and Geranium phaeum, the earliest of this hardy group of plants. The aquilegias are mostly pale pink with the occasional dark red and deep blue thrown into the mix, the geranium deepest plum.
These plants are dotted about the garden, happy in deepest shade and brightest sun, rising above a sea of forget-me-nots clinging to the last of their tiny blooms.
On a fence near the house grows pale pink Clematis montana scrambling along the panels into the shrubs that grow alongside and tumbling over the other side into next door.
A honeysuckle adds to the mix, orange and yellow flowers perfuming the garden morning and dusk, the scent wending its way indoors through an open window.
The clematis will need some attention once it has finished flowering; under the flowers and foliage are a mass of tangled woody stems that haven’t been pruned for a while.
It will take a day at the end of the month to sort out this plant. By then the flowers will have faded and new shoots will already be pushing their way into the light – these will carry next year’s crop of blooms – and it will be a perfect time to refresh this lovely plant.
Now is the time to finish filling containers and hanging baskets with the half-hardy plants grown for summer colour. The danger of frost is almost certainly over (there is always an exception to the rule so keep an eye on the forecast for a while longer) so get the pelargoniums and petunias into position.
Regular watering, feeding and deadheading will keep them going until the first frosts.
If you haven’t got your plants yet don’t worry, local nurseries, garden centres and market stalls will still have a good choice of specimens. If you are having a couple of extra days off this weekend, pop down there now; most bedding plants sell out during June.
In the veg patch
The vegetable seeds sown in May have germinated and are growing away in a shady spot by the house. We have beans, chard, peas and beetroot ready to plant so the weekend will be spent weeding (again) and preparing the beds for the seedlings to go in.
Although most of these plants can be sown directly into the soil, I germinate the first crop indoors and harden them off as insurance against slugs and pigeons devouring the shoots as soon as they emerge. When the seedlings are put into their beds more seed will be sown alongside the plantlets. This way we can get a slightly later second crop.
In aid of the National Gardens Scheme
Hunmanby Grange, Wold Newton, YO25 3HS, 12.5 miles south east of Scarborough. Three-acre garden created from an exposed field with hedges and fences providing shelter from the wind for a series of gardens planted for year round interest. Wold Top Brewery also open. Open 11am-5pm, admission £3.50. Also open today 11am-5pm.
Millgate House, Millgate, Richmond, DL10 4JN, in the centre of Richmond. Enchantingly secluded, award winning, RHS associate walled town garden with foliage plants including ferns and hostas, clematis, old roses, trees and shrubs. Open 8am-8pm, admission £3.50.
Rustic Cottage, Wold Newton, YO25 3YQ. Cottage garden with old-fashioned roses, fragrant perennials, herbs and wild flowers grown in ‘organised chaos’ to provide a habitat for birds, bees, butterflies and small mammals. Open 11am-4pm, admission £2.50.
Sleightholmedale Lodge, Fadmoor, YO62 7JG, six miles north east of Helmsley. A hillside garden with a walled rose garden and borders filled with delphiniums, species tulips and meconopsis and views over a peaceful valley.
Open 1pm-6pm, admission £3.50. Also open tomorrow 1pm- 6pm.
Old Sleningford Hall, Mickley, HG4 3JD, five miles north west of Ripon. A large 19th century country garden with its original layout with a Victorian fernery, woodland walk, lake, walled kitchen garden and long border. There is also a developing, award winning forest garden. Evening opening 5pm- 8pm, admission £5.
26 West End, Walkington, HU17 8SX, two miles south west of Beverley. One-acre cottage garden planted to attract bees with rare plants collected for more than 20 years. The garden opens into an old wooded gravel pit. Open 2.30pm-7pm, admission £3.50.
Gardening TV and radio
9am, BBC Radio Leeds, Tim Crowther and Joe Maiden.
2pm, BBC R4, Gardeners’ Question Time. Peter Gibbs chairs the programme from the Dig Deep Community Project in South Oxhey, Hertfordshire. There is also a report from the Chelsea Fringe show in London.
3pm, BBC R4, Gardeners’ Question Time. Panellists Matthew Biggs, Alison Pringle, Christine Walkden and chairman Eric Robson hold their horticultural discussion at Scampston Gardens near Malton.
8.30pm, BBC2, Gardeners’ World. Monty Don tackles seasonal jobs at Longmeadow, Carol Klein answers a query about propagation and Rachel de Thame shows how she helped get the Royal Barge into shape for the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant.
Saturday, June 9.
7am, BBC Radio York, Julia Booth. Presenter Julia Booth and gardening expert Nigel Harrison hold their weekly plant surgery.