The Wildlife-friendly Garden: June

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The Wildlife-friendly Garden: June

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Let me guess what you'll be doing in the garden this month!

Weeding? Unless you have been very diligent, there are likely to be young weeds that germinated in April, that still looked small and innocent in May, but are now turning into robust brutes, anchoring themselves in for the battle with you ahead. 

Weeds are typically described as 'a plant in the wrong place' but for me it is those pernicious weeds that are the real challenge - the bindweeds, Annual Meadow Grass, Creeping Thistle. Give them an inch and they'll soon take a mile.

Look at this bindweed shoot in my garden - it is as if butter wouldn't melt, it appears so innocuous. But underground those snap-happy roots will be zooming out in all directions

And the very worst weeds? Surely those that sneakily grow from right at the base of your cherished plants. Go in with a fork and you risk damaging the plant you want to keep; go in too gingerly and you leave half the weed behind.

Watering? We didn't do too badly for rain in May down here in Sussex, and by the look of the forecasts, most of you got a bit of a drenching at times. Any plant that has got its roots down probably doesn't need much extra water for now, but I bet this month there'll be times when you need to be out with the watering can for anything in pots or those plants recently planted out. Oh, and hanging baskets of course, the thirstiest of all inventions.

Harvesting? If you've got a veg patch, then hopefully you're picking some well-earned produce this month. I'm just starting to enjoy the first broad beans of the year. I hated them when I was a child; for some reason I now love them them when grown by my own fair hand. And one of the best plants in the veg patch for bees.

But I hope you will find time for a spot of Watching, too. There is so much going on in gardens at the moment, from young birds taking their first tentative hops, skips and maiden flights, to dragons and damsels emerging from ponds. Expect Large Skipper and Ringlet butterflies in rural gardens soon, and bees aplenty in your borders. My pond in the last few days of May was already busy with mating pairs of Azure Damselflies, the bright blue males clinging determinedly to their plainer females as they delicately laid eggs in the pondweed.  

And hopefully, by taking us up on our challenge last month of leaving the mower in the shed for a few weeks (the idea being that longer grass has been shown to have benefits for all sorts of wildlife), you'll have time to consider our June challenge - of creating a Wildlife Sunbed. The only real problem with the idea is that the sheets of corrugated roofing materials tend to be sold in 2 metre lengths, rather too big for most cars. I'm hoping someone spots the commercial opportunity and starts marketing them in smaller sizes for wildlife-lovers. Even better if you know a roofer from whom you can cadge some offcuts.

Have a great month - it is one of the best in the garden for amazing wildlife experiences.

  • Last year I sowed some wildflower mix, some of which were perrenials. Problem is, I don't know whether the seedlings popping through are wildflowers or weeds! And don't get me started on bindweed!