Gardening in June 2005
by Trina Mattson, Tofino
June… June…June… Hey, what happened to May? I
guess between fighting off horsetails and dandelions, not to mention
ginormous mosquitoes and black flies, the time just drifted past.
While we’re on the topic of horsetail and dandelions, here’s
a quick bit of info. (I hope I get this right.) According to Carmen
(who does a cool job with the edibles at the Tofino Botanical Gardens,)
horsetail is an excellent cleanser for your inner parts, and apparently
helps pass fluid enzymes between your major organs. And I guess it’s
important to keep all your inner workings squishy and healthy. And
Dandelions… well they make excellent wine, and yellow kisses.
For those unfamiliar with yellow kisses, they are made from squishing
a dandelion flower against a friend’s cheek. So between the two
weeds, you can get roasted on wine, kiss all your friends, and have
the knowledge that you are internally functioning to the best of your
ability. Sounds like a weekend at the lake.
Anyway, enough of the rah-rah-rah.
June is still a good month to be planting seeds, beans, lettuce, radish,
peas, basil and a few other goodies. It’s also a good month to
start seeding for next year’s perennials, like Echinacea, lupines,
Fertilize your clematis, roses and rhodos this month. A late spring,
early summer lawn fertilizer is recommended as well. Plus, don’t
forget to fertilize your hanging baskets on a regular basis. I get
a lot of, “But I never remember to fertilize,” comments
at the nursery so here are a couple methods to use: slow release basket
fertilizer (one application needed), and temperature released. The
biggest problem with the latter fertilizer is if it’s cold when
you water, the fertilizer is non-acting. We use a combination of both
temperature released fertilizer and a major dilution of water soluble
20-20-20, (approximately one teaspoon to eight litres water every time
And it’s time to prune back any flowered out perennials, to encourage
a second blooming. Plant ornamental grasses so they can establish themselves
in time to put on a fall show. Also, many shrubs can be pruned back
by month end, after they’ve finished flowering. One thing to
keep in mind is when certain shrubs (lilacs, for example) are pruned,
they will lose next year’s blossoms on that particular branch.
If you plan to prune your Montana clematis after blooming, this is
the time to do it. But only a light pruning is recommended because
it also blooms on previous year’s growth.
My favourites for the month of June are the all-time high of scented
geraniums, blue poppies, Martha Washington or regal geraniums, topped
with chocolate cosmos, that, yes, truly smell like chocolate.
By now your pond should be really active — fish everywhere, growth
and pondweeds, including algae. To help eliminate the pondweed problem,
without using chemicals, the recommended solution is to cover 60 percent
of the pond’s surface with floating plants. Now, with my pond,
60 percent is to a lot of plants, but for most ponds, 60 percent should
be manageable. Some of the floating plants commonly used are water
hyacinths, which can propagate quickly and cover a large area. But
beware, elephants really like water hyacinths, so they are only advisable
if you have no elephants in your neighbourhood. The other plants are
duckweed (which the fish will actually eat as a green) and fairy moss
(which only the larger fish will eat because it’s kinda woody
in texture) and frog bits (which look like miniature lily pads.)
If you haven’t done so, it’s time to stake and support
your vines and the taller perennials.
Well, with my page running out and my coffee getting cold, I must bid
you… Happy June!
Trina Mattson runs the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino.
Tofino gardening tips for June 2005 by Trina Mattson from the Ordinary Corner Nursery in Tofino for Tofino Time Magazine.