Now that June is here, the second half of the gardening year is in sight. Now is the time to sow the first autumn vegetables, such as kale, Chinese cabbage and endives — just don't sow your Chinese cabbage too early! If you want biennial plants like bellis, forget-me-nots and pansies to flower next spring, sow them this June. Do the same with biennial garden herbs, such as caraway.
By now, spring flowers have recharged their batteries ready for the next garden year and have formed their new blooms. Now their leaves are dying back. Remove any leaves that have wilted and look unsightly. Now you can pull up the bulbs if necessary, clean and dry them and store them in a dark, cool place so that you can replant them in a suitable place from September onwards.
Pruning groundcover roses:
Roses in beds and hybrid tea roses are usually pruned one plant at a time after they have flowered. However, for groundcover roses (now called small shrub roses) this process is too time-consuming. When your groundcover roses have a break from flowering at the end of June, simply cut back the entire bloom using hedge clippers — unless you would prefer your roses to be covered in bright red rose hips in the autumn.
Plants that are modelled into defined shapes (such as pyramids or spheres) need to be pruned before the end of the month. To do this, cut the young shoots back to the length required to form the shape of the plant.
Spicing up garden parties:
Are you a fan of rose punch? Take a good 70 grams of heavily scented rose petals, softly work them by hand and then marinate them in the juice of two lemons plus two tablespoons of brandy in a tightly sealed container. Marinate at room temperature for 24 hours. In the meantime, stir occasionally to ensure that the petals remain covered in the mixture and don't develop a "wilted" taste. Next, strain the rose petals and press lightly. Sweeten the mixture with roughly 250 grams of white sugar and fill with two litres of chilled liquid while stirring (ensuring that the sugar dissolves). You can use mineral water for this if you would prefer the drink to be alcohol-free. The more traditional approach, however, is to infuse the punch with sparkling white wine. Bottle-fermented sparkling wine provides the most exquisite taste — soft on the palate, with a fine mousse. Sweeten further if necessary. If you are a fan of particularly heady fragrances and aromas, try the recipe with a strong wine; then you can dilute the punch to taste as you would a spritzer. Decorate each glass with a rim of sugar, some (rose) petals and a slice of lime.
Redcurrants begin ripening at the end of June. Last year, the tasty berries were particularly sharp and were all but ravaged in lightning-fast attacks carried out by blackbirds, thrushes and starlings. If you want to prevent this from happening again this year, you need to surround your shrubs in bird protection nets more effectively. But, be careful: birds often invade the nets from below and are then unable to find their way back out. So check the nets twice a day during hot spells!
Keeping compost free of weeds:
Grass cuttings should only be composted if they are free of weed seeds. To ensure that no weed flowers have planted their seeds, you will need to adhere to strict mowing intervals.
Keeping mosquitoes away:
June is the month in which the heaviest rainfall of the year occurs. Any areas that contain pots of varying shapes and sizes are likely to collect rain water — the perfect terrain for mosquitos to lay their eggs on. Now is the time to check your garden for such breeding grounds and empty them out in good time. If you find any areas where mosquito larvae have already moved in, we're sure the fish in your pond will be happy to receive an extra meal!
The green-fingered among you will be able to take the tips of the shoots from numerous ornamental shrubs (e.g. forsythia, hydrangeas, potentilla) around the middle of the month and use them to make cuttings. A shoot is ripe for cutting when its bottom end is firm but has not yet lignified. This is when it is easiest for the cutting to grow roots.
Securing water tanks:
Summertime is the time for children to play. If you have any rain water tanks connected to downpipes—or other facilities for collecting water—installed in your garden, you need to make sure that these are safe for children. Rain water tanks, for example, must have a tight-fitting lid to ensure that children cannot accidentally fall in and drown.