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Dene Wood, Head Gardener at Clumber Park.

Whatever The Weather

Dene's Gardening Tips For May & June.
 |  Made  |  Gardening & Planting

There’s a saying that May gets its name because it ‘may’ scorch, it ‘may’ rain or it ‘may’ snow. Monitoring the forecast for late frosts, windy days, and dry spells pays dividends.


Seed catalogues on the doormat, extended daylight and the humming of neighbour’s lawnmowers pull us into the garden more. Personally, I like to spend garden time with a book, a cold beer, and some music. In reality though, I spot a million garden tasks and end up pottering for hours: the book and beer my reward on completion.

Traditional lawns benefit from frequent mowing now, but why not consider allowing some to go a little wilder or even replace with wildflowers. A surprisingly small amount of “rough” lawn can be beneficial to nature. Also, tightly mowed paths through meadow-length grass looks stunning, something we employ in the orchards in the walled kitchen garden at Clumber.


Around this time is when ornamental borders are typically at their freshest, turgid with spring showers and not yet baked under the harshest of the summer heat. Foxglove, camassia and clematis can all be bolstered by planting out canna, dahlia and pelargoniums to name a few. Consider adding culinary plants such as basil and chives to your borders, these are just as handsome as they are tasty. A strappy-leaved leek works well beside salvia, as does feathery carrots amongst your geraniums. Have a play.


Image: Camassia, Dene Wood.

As the daytime heat builds, the air is heavy with the scent of honeysuckle, philadelphus and lilac, all in competition with one another. Consider growing moth-pollinated flowers that release their scent in the evening, such as nicotiana and evening primrose, perfect timing for sitting out and enjoying some sunshine at the end of the day.

Please continue to feed garden birds, they are excellent pest control and may have young to rear.

Now that I’ve finished writing, I ‘may’ go and grab my book and a beer, but it ‘may’ well end up being secateurs again!