12 ideas for June and the summer garden
Glorious June! With it comes the desire to make the most of the garden during all those long, pleasurable daylight hours. Whatever the weather, theres no getting away from the fact that this magical month plays host to the longest day
on 21st of the month, which can be viewed as the start of summer time. Whats not to love about balmy light evenings, fresh, colourful perennials, lush lawns and apples forming on the fruit trees
Heres a dozen ideas for a summer to remember:
Painting a summer picture for you...
You can grow herbs in pots and containers, on a windowsill, or within a section of your garden. Make sure they are close to your kitchen door.
- Grow flavoursome herbs just outside your door: pop herbs into pots or in a bed close to the kitchen during June. They are so easy to grow and make a world of difference to ordinary meals and barbecues. Use mint in mojitos, in gin, cocktails and for refreshing tea; chives in omelettes and potato salad; parsley with fish and as a garnish; rosemary with lamb, vegetables and stuffing; sage, also for use with meat and in stuffing; thyme with roast chicken and basil in pesto sauce. Pick a handful of herbs and throw them onto the barbecue or into your warming chimenea for aromatic appreciation on cool evenings.
Add a few cushions, grab a book or magazines and enjoy sitting in the garden for a while.
- Make sure you have somewhere appealing to sit during the month of June. Sunshine is good for us and so is relaxation. Rig up a hammock in June or place a bench or garden seat in an attractive spot. We all deserve to soak up the pleasures of a garden whenever we can make time.
Provide paths and obvious circulation routes. A garden is always more interesting if you can walk around it and come back via a different path - even in a tiny space.
- Look at your lawn and beds. You can do so much with shapes. A round, oval or geometric lawn can bring meaning to a space. Build in a circulation route if possible so that a journey around even a tiny garden feels exciting.
A crisp lawn edge makes a huge difference to the overall appearance of a garden.
- If time is short and garden maintenance has run away from you, just concentrate on the lawn edges. Its amazing what a difference a freshly cut edge makes!
These painted stone crop markers provide an intriguing way to label plants.
- Hide things amongst your foliage and dont allow everything to be in full view at the same time. Its so much more interesting to discover hidden secrets within the garden. Use planting to link the space this helps avoid a rather chaotic, fragmented atmosphere that can occur when many different features are dotted about the place.
Clematis, jasmine, wisteria, ivy, climbing hydrangea, pyracantha and more. These climbers are a great way to cover fences.
- Use your fences for vertical planting. Boundaries can be unsightly, but they turn into a place of beauty when they are clothed in climbers or trained shrubs. This also helps to blur the perimeter and can make the space feel larger.
A pleasant place for a meal with friends. Enjoy your garden this summer.
- Create an appealing social space. Theres no better time of the year for eating outdoors and a table and chairs offers endless opportunities for lunch, afternoon tea, a casual drink with a friend or evening dinner party.
A chimenea, patio heater or outdoor fireplace will allow you to stay out in the garden during cool evenings.
- Incorporate something to keep you warm. A barbecue can turn into an outdoor heater once youve finished the food and some chimeneas have a removable chimney lid that can be replaced to provide heat once the barbecue is over. There are outdoor fireplaces using bio-ethanol fuel, or patio heaters which enable you to stay cosy, whatever the weather.
There are many types of lanterns and garden lighting options. They make a space come alive after dark.
Link your garden in terms of themes and styles. If you have regular, formal paving, you might want to adopt a contemporary, modern atmosphere. If you have old brick paths or crazy paving with plenty of cracks and creeping plants, a cottage-garden theme would be appropriate. Plants can also be used to link different places by repeating a certain shape or colour. It helps to bring meaning to a garden.
The clipped and rounded shapes of these shrubs unify the garden
- Let there be light but make it subtle! After dark, your garden can turn into a magical space, but youll need some tealights, lanterns and subdued lighting in order to make it glow.
If you want colour all year round in the garden, you have to plan for it. Successional planting is the key.
- If you want to see flower colour all-year-round, plan ahead. Successional planting means that when one plant stops flowering, another one starts. This doesnt happen without a little thought. There are bulbs that flower early or late in the season, perennials and shrubs for spring and summer, climbers for all seasons and many winter-flowering shrubs and climbers too.
These Heuchera give great results in terms of foliage colour. Leaves can be as exciting as flowers, and the colour lasts a lot longer.
- Learn to love the colour green! Structural plants with a strong shape can look amazing and they dont need to flower. Some gardens comprise just foliage and why not? Place lime-green plants in front of dark green and yellow-or variegated foliage next to burgundy or maroon and enjoy the contrasting colours. Foliage is just as good as flowers, and longer lasting too!
Visit Perfectplants.co.uk for more ideas!