GINA PARKINSON has advice about what to do as the garden warms up and dries out in June.

RECENT hot weather makes watering a priority in the garden, with containers and newly-planted trees and shrubs top of the list.

Water containers in the evening or early morning, or both if necessary; but avoid the hottest part of the day, when moisture quickly evaporates and wet leaves risk getting scorched in the sun.

Trees and shrubs need to be watered regularly for about 12 months after planting to help them get established. Keep the immediate area around the trunk clear of weeds and other growth and water copiously once or twice a week, or more in particularly hot and dry conditions.

Plenty of plants will need deadheading this month, either to tidy them up in the case of rhododendrons and lilac, or to encourage more flowers as with sweet peas, calendula and other summer bedding. According to this months Gardening Which?, research from the Royal National Rose Society has shown that just pulling off the deadheads of roses rather than cutting back leads to more repeat flowering.

Forget-me-nots will probably be looking mildewed and tatty soon, so pull them up and dispose of them. Leave new seedlings in the ground as they will provide the flowers next year.

Otherwise, leave a few of the old plants in if there is space and let them set seed. Once the seed is ripe the plants can be pulled up and shaken over the bed to disperse their fruit, which will easily germinate and grow on with no help from the gardener.

Michaelmas daisies should be growing into clumps of green by now. Tall varieties can be kept more compact by pruning the stems by about one third, but I have found this delays flowering too much and would rather put up with having to stake the plants.

However, pruning can be used on these daisies to extend the flowering period by cutting one stem in three back by about ten centimetres.

Updated: 09:20 Saturday, June 14, 2003