Gardening Club - Lupins and June in the garden
19 Jun 2017

Chieveley Gardening Club on June in the garden. Plus June garden activities for you. 

All gardens need a lot of maintenance at this time of year. Everything is growing rapidly, or should be! The soil still retains some moisture and we are just about to reach the longest (growing) day. All this growth creates demands on our time if the garden is not to look like a jungle by August. Depending on your point of view, this gives us hours of pleasant work, enjoying the plants or a sense or fear as we get more and more behind with the workload. Effective staking can make or break a display and it pays to stake early. Ideally, plants should be propped and supported so they look natural and can expand to their full potential. At the same time, the staking should not be too visible and thereby spoil the effect. If the supports are in place early, the plant will grow through them. But if you tie up a plant just before it collapses, it will always look rather strangled.

Hoeing and weeding are the priority of the moment. Obviously, the more weeds that you can remove early, before they flower and set seed, the better. Once they spread their seeds there will be even more wedding later in the summer.

Lupins are looking fabulous. The ordinary herbaceous perennial lupin grows about 4 feet tall, has pleasant divided leaves and produces a few spires of flowers. There is a very wide colour range including white, cream, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple and a rather poor blue. The flowers are often bicoloured where the keel or bottom half is a totally different colour from the standard or wings. The effect is loud and magical. Sadly, the flowers will be over by the end of this month and even after dead-heading the plant looks pretty tatty. But by high summer hopefully other plants will cover up the mess.

You can pay handsomely for individual lupins but they are really easy to grow from a £1 packet of seed. Sow them soon and pot them up into decent sized pots to grow on over the summer. By autumn you should have many substantial plants to use for a display next June. Growing from seed offers you the chance of choosing the full-sized varieties or a dwarf variety. The dwarfs are useful if your garden is exposed and windy.

The Plant and Produce sale was a lovely village event with all ages from babies to 90 year olds enjoying the delights of Chieveley House garden in sunshine. With a glass of wine in hand people enjoyed gentle shopping for plants, cakes, biscuits and jams under the gazebos. Over £1300 was raised for church funds. Thank-you for all the interesting and flourishing plants you gave us to sell.

Happy Gardening,

Giles Derry

Dates for your diary

Saturday 1 July. Summer Flower Show at 2.30pm in Chieveley Village Hall. Why not show some of your roses, sweet peas, delphiniums or early crops? There are also domestic produce classes with a recipe for Dundee cake provided, handicraft, photography and children's classes. Have a go: it is fun! Or at least come along and admire our produce. For more information contact the show secretary, Michael Pocock, on 248213.