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Gardening Hints

June third week in your garden:

CARPET BEDDING: Carpet beddings was a favorite of Victorian gardeners, although this style of intricate bedding is not practiced so much nowadays because it is so labour-intensive.

Using colored succulents – Senecio, Echeveria and Sedum – to outline the letters of the logo and green carpets of Herniaria and purple-red Alternanthera to represent apples, the 5 sq m bed contained approximately 10,000 plug plants. An alpine sink or bed filled with carpet bedding would make a great display on a smaller scale. To look its best, carpet bedding requires regular clipping, at least once a fortnight throughout the summer, to keep the plants neat and tidy. This is well worth the effort.

During any dry periods ensure that the plants are well watered but do not apply any additional fertilizer, as the aim here is to keep the plants small and compact.

MOWING A WILDFLOWER MEADOW: Setting aside a part of the garden as a meadow is very much encouraged these days. Avoid mowing meadow areas with spring bulbs such as crocuses and daffodils until June and encourage wild flowers to grow, flower and set seed. Monitor the seed situation in a wildflower meadow so that you cut it at the right time. Ideally, let the flower seed fall before mowing or collect some to propagate yourself but cut the meadow before the grasses have a chance to self-seed.

The mowing regime depends upon the types of plants that are being encouraged.

The spring meadow is managed for bulbous perennials and has just been cut short to a height of about 1cm, as most seed has fallen by mid-June. Once it greens-up it is mown regularly: approximately once a week depending on the weather. To reduce the soil fertility and improve the meadow, the cuttings are removed. The summer meadow will be cut a little later, once some of the wild flowers have set their seed. Some seed will be collected and sown in modules to be planted out next year, in the spring. Of particular note are ragged robin in the damper part of the meadow and yellow rattle, a semi-parasitic plant that reduces the vigour of the grass. The meadows are mown regularly for the rest of the year.

Mowing stops when the new foliage of the desired plants begin to emerge. For example, in the summer meadow mowing ceases in autumn when the autumn-flowering crocus Crocus speciosus emerges.

Gardening Hints
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