Les’s Patch

Les Foden.
Les Foden.

In June we have the longest days of the year (in terms of sunlight anyway) and the month when we start to get pleasure from our garden and of course those tasty vegetable come along.

Continue a regular programme of watering, weeding and checking for pests.

There is still time to sow a few quick maturing hardy annuals such as Godetia, Clarkis, Stocks and Calendula to fill late season gaps.

Amongst the worthwhile perennials that will be on sale this month are Penstemons, including the pale mauve-blue Stapleford Gem, Hidecoat Pink and Burgundy wine coloured Blackbird.

They are ideal for enlivening bare bits of ground and will flower prolifically through the summer.

Tidy up Alyssum, Aubrieta and any other rapidly spreading prostrate spring flowering plants by trimming them back, some people use shears but I find a pair of scissors is much easier and makes a better job.

Dead head faded early flowers, such as Irisies and Peonies, leave the species whose seeds will be wanted.

Follow up with a dressing of general fertilizer spread over the soil (Growmore).

It’s best to pinch out growing tips of summer bedding, such Impatiens (Buzzy Lizzies) fuchsias, petunias and verbena, to encourage bushier growth.

Clematis wilt is obviously causing a few people concern judging by the question I get asked. If your Clematis suddenly dies down it will be the Clematis Wilt disease that is the culprit.

As it strikes at soil level there are a couple of things that you can do to prevent the loss of your plant, because if your plant is attacked by this fungal disease you need to cut it off at soil level and hope it might 
send up new shoots. I would never bank on that happening.

Firstly this is for a clematis that is growing now, you need to take a trip to the nearest building project and you will be able to obtain a short piece of plastic soil pipe this is just the right size you require you have to now cut this pipe into two pieces down its length, a hack saw is the best way to do this.

Now you have the two halves on the soil around the stem of your plant, its best to put a piece of wire around the two halves to hold them in position.

Now you fill this up with soil or compost, so if the wilt strikes it will strike at the top of the pipe, so if you cut the plant off at the top of the pipe and you have raised the soil level with the pipe you are sure of new growth for the stem now buried in the soil inside the pipe.

If you are planting new Clematis you need to bury at least six inches of the stems under the ground, so again you will beat the wilt because you have some stems under ground which will send up new growth.

Also you need to water the surrounding soil with fungicide.