The distinctive shape of the Allium Aflatunensis. These flower look particularly well alongside poppies.Pic: Flickr.com/Jonas N
Dramatic times in the flower garden
If its drama in the garden you are looking for you cant beat red oriental poppies (Papaver Orientale) partnered with the large purple flower globes of Allium Christophii or Aflatunensis. The prolific foliage of the poppy hides the weak, strappy allium leaves and also serves to provide some support during windy weather. Poppies and alliums have both survived the last winter well and are a fine choice for problem clay soil. If you put a good fistful of grit into the hole when planting allium bulbs in the autumn then this will provide the drainage they require. Poppies can be planted from seed from July onwards. You can use the dried seed capsules when they form on the plant and have gone brown and you can hear the seeds rattling inside the capsule. Plant into trays of compost and they will grow over winter to be planted out in the spring to flower next year.
Poppies like a sunny site and need to be staked. After the recent gales the plants are looking the worse for wear but with a little pruning and removal of spent flowers they can soon be rejuvenated to last a few more weeks.
Garden tasks for June
This month is a really busy time in the garden. Garden tasks include the following items on this rather long list:
- Plant nasturtiums to flower this year.
- Plant out dahlias (ensure these are staked) and Ranunculus.
- Pinch back autumn flowering plants such as Monarda, Asters and Hellenium. This will make the plants bushier, producing more flowers. Fuschia also benefits from this treatment.
- Keep deadheading plants which will encourage more blooms.
- Prune spring flowering shrubs such as Deutzia, Weigela and Philadelphus (orange blossom) when they have finished flowering.
- Cut back spring flowering Aubrietia and the flowering stems of Euphorbia (mind the Euphorbia sap as this can react with the skin and cause blisters).
- Weed the flowerbeds and then give a good 10-15cm mulch of garden compost or well-rotted farmyard/horse manure, which will keep weeds down. Make sure that the ground has plenty of moisture when you do this and the mulch will then reduce evaporation and the need for watering.
- Feed spring bulbs with fertiliser and seaweed meal. Cut off the seed heads, which form after the flowers, as they will take the energy from the bulb instead of allowing the plant to build the reserves it needs to over winter, and sprout in the spring.
- Start to train climbers such as summer flowering clematis, climbing roses and sweet peas, which will increase flower production.
- Stake herbaceous perennials such as lupins, hollyhocks and delphiniums using twigs from hedge prunings or purpose built stakes.
- Take softwood cuttings of Fuschia, Penstemons, Pelargoniums Rosemary and Lavender, Dianthus and carnations.
- Fill window boxes and containers with annual outdoor bedding. Frost should not be a concern now. Pots planted with autumn flowering bulbs can be sunken in a bed and used to fill an empty space with an instant show. All containers need daily watering despite rain showers and weekly feeding with organic feed to ensure a good display of flowers.
Patsy O’Sullivan is a member of Ballinrobe Garden Club. The club’s monthly meetings have finished for the summer months but a field trip and garden visits will be planned. The club’s aim is to learn and share information about growing flowers, fruit and vegetables. The membership is a mix of experienced growers and beginners.