June garden flowers – roses and peonies look stunning right now

June is a hugely rewarding month in the garden for flowers like roses and peonies that look stunning, may be only briefly, but they are so rewarding to grow and add real impact to your garden. Mix them in with some long flowering perennials like scabious or erysimum bowles mauve for a display all summer long. Here are some photos from my garden today…

Peony Sarah Bernhardt

Rosa Sister Elizabeth

Scabious Pink Mist

Growing easy annual flowers from seed

Now is the time to start planning and planting your seeds if you are going to grow your own annual plants for summer flower. It may seem like alot of work if they are only going to last 1 year, but the benefits are huge, giving you flower beds and pots full of lovely flowers all summer long.

It’s much cheaper to grow from seed (around £2 for 150 seeds) compared to buying ready made plants (up to £7 per plant). You can pick and choose from a much wider range of plants and colours that those on offer in a garden centre. Annuals usually flower much more profusely than perennials and they only have one summer to do their work.

Just stick to a few simple rules and you can fill your borders and pots with an amazing display this summer.

First choose seeds that are “easy grow” varieties as some are tricky to get started. Usually annuals will just romp away without too much difficulty.

Second – always read the instructions on the packet carefully and follow them to the letter. Sow at the right time and at the right depth.

Third – if you are planting in the ground make sure the soil is warm – not cold and water logged. Rake the soil to give it a fine crumbly surface ready for sowing. Otherwise plant in seed trays using seedling compost for best results, and then plant on into bigger containers or into the ground later.

Then it’s just a matter of keeping them watered and weed-free. Here are some suggestions…

Cosmos – beautiful big blooms with fern-like leaves, some varieties grow to well over 1m tall.

Stocks – plant in pots by your door or along a path to make the most of their beautiful fragrance in the evenings.

Sweet Peas – grow them up a trellis or bamboo canes and keep picking the flowers regularly to keep them blooming.

Nasturtium – bright and cheerful flowers all summer long. Keep an eye out for those caterpillars though.

Nigellas – beautiful blue flowers and delicate leaves, flowers May and June.

My favourite flowers this year – camellias, eremurus and crambe cordifolia

This time of year when my garden is sad and fading, I love looking back over my photos taken throughout the year, and over the summer, in my own garden and elsewhere. As well as being therapeutic, it also helps me think about what I want to achieve in my garden next year. Here are my 3 favourite plants from this year, they all looked absolutely stunning while in bloom, really creating an impact in the borders.

This Camellia Jury’s Yellow is divine in March and April, with the large flower heads of white outer petals and ruffled pale yellow inner petals.

Eremurus come in yellow, orange and apricot but these white ones looked stunning towering over the borders in the rose garden at Mottisfont.

The plant on the right of this image – Crambe Cordifolia creates a massive floating cloud of tiny white flowers that look amazing at the back of a border, really dreamy.

Late summer colour – plants keep your garden flowering in August

Don’t let you garden run out of steam after the mid-summer flowering season of June and July comes to an end. You can really end the summer on a crescendo of hot colours (like this echinacea below) to hopefully go with the hot weather – fingers crossed. Don’t forget to keep dead-heading to extend the flowering period.

Echinacea

Here are some of the plants doing really well in my garden at the moment… on the left is Phlox Davidii with Penstemon Raven, on the right Sedum Purple Emperor is just coming into flower.

This Echinops Veitchs Blue (globe thistle) is also just bursting into bloom.

Here are some more ideas for late summer flowering plants…

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Edible flowers

If carefully chosen flowers can make your food look colourful and taste fantastic. Growing a few around your garden and veg patch will add an extra dimension to your cooking. Some of the better known flowers for eating include marigolds, violas, primroses and nasturtiums, as well as the flowers from herbs and vegetables.  Usually the petals of edible flowers are the part to eat, it is best to remove these and cut out the white ‘heel’ at the base of the flower which is bitter. A word of warning though – many flowers are poisonous so stick to the ones you know.

Petals and small flowers can be eaten whole and sprinkled over salads or desserts, as a garnish for salads or used like herbs in pasta or dressings. Larger flowers like courgette, gladioli and day lilies can be stuffed or deep fried.

Here are some more ideas…

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Left to right: Alliums and chives are suitable for salads and egg dishes, Angelica has a liquorice flavour suitable for fish dishes, Bergamot has a fruity/savoury flavour suitable for rice or pasta, Chamomile has a sweet flavour used to make drinks.

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Left to right: Marigolds have a saffron/peppery flavour suitable for many dishes including meat, pasta, rice and egg dishes, Dianthus (carnations) have a sweet spicy flavour suitable for salads and desserts, Chrysanthemums have a peppery flavour suitable for salads and dressings, Cornflowers have a sweet/clove flavour suitable for garnishing salads.

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Left to right: Honeysuckle has a sweet honey flavour suitable as a garnish on salads and desserts – NB the berries are highly poisonous so never eat them. Jasmine is very fragrant and used for tea and rice dishes, Lavender has a sweet flavour suitable to garnish desserts and also savoury dishes like stews, Roses the flavour depends on the type and colour of the flower but all are suitable for desserts, syrups and jellies.