Gardener’s Corner: June


Gardener’s Corner at The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens: June

James Cross, Head Gardener and Property

May has been a very green and fertile one. The spring flowers lasted well and the countryside and gardens have looked particularly healthy. After barely an inch of rain in April we have had more than three inches in May. It has also been a warm May with only a couple of ground frosts. The long range forecast for the summer is a mix of weather as we are likely to be sandwiched between extreme heat over central and southern Europe and cool and rainier weather to the north and west, which sounds like a good mix for us here in Somerset.

We have applied a thick layer of mulch to the borders and the plants have responded well. The roses are budding up and flowering earlier each year. Historically the 20th of June was the peak across most of southern England but in recent years it has been up to ten days earlier. Weeds are a priority and we try are hardest to keep the borders weed free, it is true that once they are allowed to seed it takes many years to eradicate them. Generous plantings and mulching all help to keep weeds down.

It is also worth taking notes and pictures of the borders at this time of year to remember which plants need splitting or replacing in the autumn or early next spring. Some plants spread and require reducing as they appear. If the majority of plants require this work then the time has come to empty a border, split the plants, double dig and add compost and then replant. This can be done from September to mid -November and March to April. Tree plantings are more successful in autumn and border plantings are most successful in March and early April although might then require more watering.

June is a great month to visit for all our roses. We have many different types from older gallica roses like the highly fragranced double, magenta pink Charles de Mill and the 14th century alba rose Maidens Blush to the pink shrub rose Felicia and highly reliable bright white floribunda Iceberg. Very new repeat flowering old fashioned style roses like David Austen’s Munstead Wood are excellent. It has deep, velvety crimson blooms and flowers all summer. Another of his roses is Scarlet Fire with fantastic large bright scarlet flowers and followed until Christmas with bright orange/red hips. For Your Eyes Only is a really fun and very reliable floribunda rose with single salmon flowers, becoming more apricot with age and a red eye. All these roses will do well in a sunny spot in good compost enriched soil and a feed from time to time. The Community Garden will really develop during June and the broad beans and early potatoes will be ready to harvest. Jo has already harvested lots of lettuce for the café. Aron has been busy labelling and also cataloguing our plants which is great and with the help of volunteer Emily we will map them out and eventually they will be available on an app/our website to visitors.

We hope to welcome you in June and are happy to answer any questions that you may have. The garden team is James- Head Gardener, Aron- Senior Gardener, Jo- Community Gardener, Rob- Gardener and Colin- Gardener. Declan is currently working with us on the Kickstart scheme and we have about 20 excellent garden volunteers.

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