As we slide from the end of spring (I’m just hoping that this glorious weather continues into June) on into summer, gardens will start coming into their peak with flowers blooming in a profusion of colour. At this time of year pots and edible crops need an eye keeping on them to make sure that they aren’t drying out; watering if necessary. Climbers need regularly tying in to their supports as they grow particularly clematis, sweet peas and honeysuckle.
Balconies and Courtyard Gardens
Roses always appear in polls for favourite garden flowers and are the ideal summer plant. When choosing one for the garden there are two qualities that I look for: repeat flowering to give me colour throughout the summer, and scent. Even in the smallest of spaces, it’s still possible to grow a rose bush, whether in a pot or training it against the fence. Whatever your colour scheme, roses range from the white tinged with pink shrub rose of Desdemona, through to the pink of Getrude Jekyll, the apricot of Lark Ascending, and one of my favourite climbers, the deep velvet red of Souvenir du Docteur Jamain. If space is really tight, or to intertwine a few more flowers through the roses, scented sweet peas are perfect for adding enjoyment to the garden or creating a mixed bunch with a few roses for the house.
Spires are the perfect way of adding height and interest to a border, and if you don’t already have some, the garden centres and nurseries will have a few pots available. At the front of the border the smaller lupin varieties only grow to half a metre in height. Gallery Blue or Gallery Red, with the taller varieties, such as the white and blue flowered ‘The Governor’, are ideal to grow in the middle. Taller still are the spires of foxgloves, from the traditional pink-purple of Digitialis purpureato the white with deep burgundy splotches ‘Pam’s Choice’ (always wash your hands and take care when handling them). Verbascums can be really finickity about the conditions they grow in, but seeing the tiny purple flowers of Verbascum phoeniceum ‘Violetta’ make it all worthwhile.
Greenhouses and Houseplants
Some plants will be much happier and more productive growing in the warmth of a greenhouse, particularly crops such as peppers, chillies, tomatoes and aubergines. In June they may need transplanting in a bigger pots, and from July the early varieties will start being ready to harvest and enjoy, the perfect way to bring the Mediterranean into your own garden this summer. Even with adding to an ever increasing houseplant collection, there is always room to squeeze in one more small Pilea peperomioides (Chinese money plant) – I love growing herbs on the kitchen window sill. As many as I have in the garden, I still like a few within easy reach, or some of the more tender varieties. Chillies will grow here too if you don’t have a greenhouse.
Sowing a few Seeds
If you’ve sown a few seeds this year, it should be time to start enjoying some produce, whether a few herbs from the window sill, harvesting a few radishes or picking a few salad crops. Early sown beetroot, carrots and peas should also be prime for picking. Small carrots and baby beetroots are really tender in a salad. There is just time to sow a few runner beans, sweetcorn or courgette seeds outside or get a few plug plants from the garden centre, ready to start enjoying later this summer.
Camilla Grayley is a garden designer mainly working in and around Yorkshire but has travelled up and down the UK to design gardens and is always happy to travel to help clients with their gardens. I love creating gardens with strong architectural outlines softened by voluminous planting that draws on year round interest, ensuring there is something to capture the eye whatever the season. Gardens should always evoke all the senses from the colour palette on the eye, to the rustling of plants swaying in the wind and the amazing perfumes that can be inhaled, whether on a summer’s evening or in the depths of winter.
If you’d like to get in touch, details are on my website https://www.camillagrayleydesign.com/contact/