From the potting bench…

June is the month to try and sit back and enjoy your garden… but how do you keep it looking at its best? Adam Kirtland gives his top tips (and a few original ideas) for maintaining your green spaces at their peak

You may already have some pots with shrubs or other perennial plants in them that are looking fab right now but how about creating something brand new for this summer? You could either put together a pot or container or how about a sizzling summer hanging basket?

Pots and baskets were once thought of as old-fashioned in the gardening world but no more! Pots are perfect for those of us with tighter green spaces and hanging baskets are ideal for creating some interest at heights where plants wouldn’t normally be.

Putting together a summer container or basket

It really couldn’t be easier! Garden centres and nurseries are awash with summer bedding plants at this time of year and there is always something for everyone. Grab yourself a container or basket and then select the plants that take your eye. Good staples are fuchsia, pansies, geraniums and petunias (which I absolutely love!) – but how about trying something different with herb hanging baskets?
A herb basket hanging by your backdoor is a smashing way to grow a few plants that you can use in your everyday cooking. Why not try mint (for those mojitos), creeping thyme to trickle down the edge of the basket and lavender always adds a pop of purple in the middle. Experiment with a few things and let me know how you get on with yours!

To mow or not to mow….that is the question!

Mowing the lawn is one of those jobs that no one really enjoys but if you do mow yours then you’ll want to keep on top of it fairly regularly (once a week or so) to keep it looking trim and ship-shape. But…. why not go WILD this year and leave some, or all, of your lawn to do its own thing?
‘No Mow May’ has become quite well known now but how about extending that into June and leaving your lawn alone for the whole month? You’ll be surprised what might happen to your lawn if you turn off the mower for a while. Over these summer months your lawn will grow at its fastest rate and eventually it’ll put out attractive seed heads and you may even see the odd daisy or dandelion. All of this might sound like the stuff of nightmares if you’re after a highly manicured lawn, but it helps native wildlife and insects to thrive, and those dandelions and daisies are a wonderful source for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

Fancy trying your hand at some veg growing?

Most seed sowing tends to happen during spring, but it might surprise you to know that it’s not too late to sow some superb salad and vegetables to keep you going through the season! And it might also surprise you to know that you don’t need huge, raised beds like you see on Gardeners’ World to grow your own.
So which veg can you grow from seed now?
Spring onions – these can be sown right up until August and if you sow some now and again in a few weeks you’ll have a longer supply. These can be done in pots and containers easily in any space.
Fancy a pumpkin? – you’re cutting it fine, but pumpkins can still be grown from seed as long as you get them going now at the start of the month! Just imagine having your own home-grown pumpkin to carve later in the year
And easiest of all? Salad! – mixed Salad leaves can be sown now and most lettuce can also be sown over this month and next to give you plants for longer. It won’t be long before you’re out there picking a whole bowl of salad from your very own mini veg plot.

Have a wander around your garden and…

This might sound simple but don’t ever forget to try and actually look at your garden, give yourself time to have a proper wander around and see what might be going on. Quite often I’ll get down on my hands and knees and have a rifle through the plants in the pots and borders to see what’s happening at ground level. While you’re on your stroll about have a think about these little things:

  • This is a good time to dead head any plants with dead or dying flowers (it’s as easy as pinching them off with your fingers, or you can use snips/secateurs) as it’ll often encourage even more flowers to bloom. Our Senetti will bloom and bloom all summer if we do this.
  • If you’re growing sweet peas, then keep on picking! Picking more and more flowers will force the plant to grow more and so on. The more you pick, the more will grow! Don’t forget to bring those picked flowers inside for scent that’ll waft right through the house
  • Inspect your pots! If they’re feeling dry, then give them a good drink until water runs out the bottom of the pot. For those pots with summer flowers, it’s a good time to consider giving them a ‘feed’ too. Plant feed is readily available in all garden centres and it’ll ensure you’ve got the brightest and best blooms all summer long! 

But please put your feet up at some point!

With all of your hard work putting this into practice you’ll certainly have earned a rest to enjoy the fruits of your labour. There is nothing better than sitting back on a summer’s evening and looking out across what you’ve been doing – and what better time than to enjoy that Mojito with your home-grown mint. Bliss!

You can follow Adam on Instagram @viewfromthepottingbench or listen to Adam’s podcast Tales From The Potting Bench for more gardening inspiration. You can also read Adam’s blog at