Gardening advice with our resident expert, Aileen Atcheson

June is the month when many of the flowers are at their best. Roses have long stems, sweetpea are coming out; lupins, peonies, they are all coming into bloom. Dead heading is very important at this time of year. Flowers will stop unless you refuse to allow them seed. Pick sweetpea nearly every day.

June rose petals are the best for pot pourri. Mignonette, tobacco plants, sweetpeas, should all be gathered after dusk. The Californian poppy is a fast grower. You should have sown seed where you wanted it to grow in mid-spring, but if not maybe some body will give you a bit. Self-seeding year after year, they grow well in poor soil with a bit of grit added. Dead head regularly.

If you have steps in your garden line up pots of low set grasses and cacti. For a good performance all season, easy care succulents need bright sunlight, top dressing with real grit and not too much water or rain.

‘Rosa pimpinellifolia Mrs. Colville’ has vivid pink blooms with white centres. It grows well in late spring and early summer and has nice hips for autumn. It makes a good hedge or ground cover in shady places so well worth having, Make a note to get a bit soon.

If you are lucky enough to be starting a new garden, check the soil PH first. If it is alkaline then some plants – rhododendrons, pieris, camellias – are unsuitable. And many of the heathers are too.

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