Down to Earth: Why June is time to stop and smell the roses
With gardens reaching their flower and foliage-filled peak in June, now’s the time to sit back and admire their beauty, says Cambridge designer Robert Barker
June is a strange month for gardeners and garden designers alike. If a garden has been well looked after or well-planned then in the month of June the garden is at its peak. As long as you have a healthy number of herbaceous plants then all of your hard work that you put in late autumn last year or earlier this year should be paying off so, in theory, other than mowing the lawn and keeping on top of the occasional weed, now is the time for you to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour.
I appreciate, however, that for people who are interested in gardening, this is not an easy thing to do. If I pause for too long in the garden, then a blanket of guilt is thrown over me and I feel like I should be doing something. I wonder why for so many of us, taking a pause and enjoying something that we have worked so hard to create is a challenge? Is it because so many of us are a bunch of perfectionists and always looking at the minor details or is it because that we find so much pleasure and solace in the actual ‘doing’ part of being a gardener?
No matter the reason and no matter how much you fight against it, I really recommend that this month you force yourself to sit back, pause and reflect on what you have in your own green space. When you stare out onto the garden I am sure there will be flaws, but I am sure these are outweighed with successes and if not then now is the time to scribble down a few plans so that as soon as we have passed through to the other side of the summer (which can be a stressful time for plants as well as human beings) then you can hit the ground running in autumn.
There are so many plants that look particularly spectacular in June. Nepetas, Geraniums, Philadelphus, Lavandula, to name but a few – but one plant that stands out above the rest this month are Roses. I actually think Roses are a very high-maintenance plant, so I don’t always inflict them on my clients, but I can’t resist seeking them out in June. Rosa ‘Winchester Cathedral’, ‘Gertrude Jekyll, and ‘Gentle Hermione’ are particular favourites. I also love ‘Flower Carpet’ which looks amazing planted in drifts within borders.
This month, pour a glass or mug of your favourite drink, sit out in the garden and treat yourself to the sounds, sights and smells of the garden - you deserve it.
See robertbarkerdesign.com for more.
Read moreHomes and Gardens
More by this authorRobert Barker