Purple Wellies

One woman's musings of plant lust for intoxicating blooms

Filling the Gap

June is the transition from the spring garden, with woodlanders in their race to bloom against the tree canopies, to the summer garden of swelteringly hot days, clement nights and borders crammed to bursting with heady scents. This transition period we refer to as the ‘June gap’ - the lull before real summer beauties can show off their stuff.  So what to do if you find your borders a bit flat at this time of year? Well there are plants that span the seasons.

Geraniums work marvellously at covering old bulb foliage and can bloom from spring into autumn. G. ‘Rozanne’ has been a popular choice recently, although I grow it’s slightly smaller offspring G. ‘Azure Rush’ which flowers in sun or partial shade from June to October. For shadier spots try G. macrorrhizum ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’ or G. nodosum ‘Silverwood’ in dry shade.

For a sultry duo why not try Astrantia major ‘Claret’ teamed with Thalictrum aquilegiifolium. Silene fimbriata with its frilly petals will also flower now and come autumn the seeds will be popular with birds too.

If you don’t have much room then opt for bulbs to plug any gaps. Lilium ‘Fairy Morning’ or Allium nigrum both perform now. As does Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus. Perfectly hardy in this area, you won’t need to lift them providing they have good drainage.

More unusual choices filling the interim are Roscoea cautleyoides ‘Early Form’, a member of the ginger family, the first roscoea to flower for me here at the start of June and continuing for a month with its ivory-lemon orchid-like blooms. If you have a large void to fill then you can’t go wrong with Calycanthus raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’. These underused shrubs are very garden worthy with their magnolia-like flowers.

Unfortunately when the plants are growing vigorously, so too are the weeds. Keep on top of them with regularly hoeing so they don’t take hold and don’t go to seed. You may find yourself mowing the lawn once or twice a week now, but if we do get a hot or dry spell then raise the height of your mower to avoid stressing the lawn. Try and put in stakes for plants that have a tendency to flop before needed as putting them in last minute can easily lead to damage of the plant. Top heavy blooms such as Peonies need to be staked individually. Many of the shrubs that bloomed in the spring can now be pruned.
Posted: 12/06/2018 20:40:20 by Pamela Barden