Roses are blooming throughout the gardens with the parterre hitting its best in June. As with all plants if something is grown in the same place for a long time the soil will eventually tire, and the plants will begin to suffer. This is the case with the rose parterre, and we are mid-way through a rejuvenation process where we are removing tired beds and replanting with new rose varieties which have better resilience to pests and diseases, are repeat flowering and as scented as can be.
To ensure that we give the new roses the best start, we remove all the soil from each bed and replace it with our own compost enriched soil. This encourages healthy root growth and a plentiful supply of nutrients. Roses thrive in hot climates but must have cool roots which is why a thick layer of mulch each year is applied to help retain soil moisture, smother weeds, and improve the soil structure.
Roses on walls in June
Rose border in June
Herbaceous Paeonies provide colour and scent
Alliums and Peonies have been flowering throughout the gardens and whilst the Peonies are fleeting with colour and scent, our alliums will continue to provide structure and interest into autumn as their seed heads dry.
Our herbaceous borders are filling out nicely and increasing in colour as the month passes. Nepeta and Salvia are attracting thousands of bees whilst Thalictrum, Lychnis, Phlomis and Cirsium are providing splashes of early colour.
The Kitchen Garden is beginning to flourish with fresh salad crops, peas, and early potatoes. We grow a variety of companion plants alongside our crops such as Tagetes and Limnanthes to attract beneficial insects which help with pollination and pest control as well as providing colour and scent.
Nepeta, Lamium and Rose
Phlomis, Cirsium and Fennel great for bees and butterflies
The meadows that we are creating throughout the gardens to increase biodiversity are improving year on year with yellow rattle establishing well throughout the different areas to allow a greater variety of wildflowers the opportunity to establish within the dense meadow grasses including bee orchids.
Amongst the many jobs for June weeding is paramount and it is particularly important to remove them before they have chance to go to seed – one year’s seed equals seven years of weed! Hoe when the weeds are small on a hot day so that the sun can burn them away or hand pull if they are larger.
Dead heading is also the must do job if you want your roses and sweet peas to flower as long as possible. With sweet peas I find it good to remove all flowers once every 10 days or so which prevents any flowers from going to seed and ensures you have good bunches to fill your house with their wonderful scent. If you keep them fed and watered, you will be amazed at how quickly they produce flowers this way.
Salad Crops in the Kitchen Garden
Bee Orchid within a newly established meadow
Sweet Peas in the Kitchen Garden require regular picking to ensure a long display
When dead heading roses it is good practice to remove spent flowers by pruning back to just above the next healthy leaf as this is where the next flowers will be produced from. If you grow species roses it is worth leaving the seed heads in place as the hips produced will provide autumn colour as well as providing a food source for several bird species.
Pots and containers can dry out quickly during hot days so make sure to water regularly especially recently planted out plants as they will stress easily until they have produced sufficient new roots.
Take care and happy gardening and if you have a spare moment, we would love for you to vote for us for the Historic Houses Garden of the Year Award and the RHS Partner Garden of the Year competition, just follow the links below –
Jim Handley, Head of Gardens and Landscape