The Original Garden Visitor's Guide

Sue's Garden - June 2017

Hello everyone, how are you?   How did you get on this month?

Did you manage to get out and about and visit some lovely gardens?  Or did you spend most of your time in your own garden, especially now it’s such a busy time of year, what with planting out tender perennials and bedding, weeding, watering and the like.  Here in the south we have had a mixed bag of weather over this past month, at times very wet but also a bit of a heatwave, which, to be honest, was lovely. For my part, I’ve been very busy with my gardening and design business, so the weather has been perfect for me to work in my client’s gardens.

So, now let’s talk about some of the jobs we should be getting on with in the garden. Well, this is a good time to divide your Primulas or Primroses - after they have finished flowering.  Dig up and split the clump into two or four pieces, or more if you can.  If you have a nursery bed, plant them there, or pre-select spots elsewhere in the garden to plant them.

Now is also a good time to divide Hostas, just as they are coming into growth.  If the clump is large, you may need to use your spade to divide into small clumps otherwise you can prise apart with your fingers.  Find your ideal spots to plant your Hostas and this should be in a light to moderately shady area.

This time of year is also a good time to lift overcrowded Narcissi or Daffodils and split the clumps.  Check for any soft bulbs and discard.  Replant the bulbs in a suitable spot and in a hole where they are not overcrowded.  How you plant them is a personal preference, ie singly or in groups...I like to see them in a group.

When your bulbs have finished flowering, don’t forget to carry on feeding and watering them and you will be rewarded next year with beautiful flowers again.  It’s also best to leave the foliage to die down naturally, rather than cutting back.  When daffodils and tulips have finished flowering snap off the seed head, this stops the bulb from using energy to create seeds.

Sue's Photo for June 2017

Iris - Parham 2017
Iris - Parham 2017




Dianthus_Sweet Williams

Now let’s think about propagation...this is a good time to take softwood cuttings of your Fuchsias and Pelargoniums.  Choose top new growth with no apparent flower buds.  Remove any unnecessary foliage.  Make sure you cut cleanly and pot up in some good gritty mixture of compost and horticultural grit.

If your perennials are showing new growth from the crown, you can cut a stem from that area, for example Dahlias are good for basal cuttings.

I always like to put to put supports in place for my tall plants and those perennials likely to flop over your footpaths, about now, before they get too tall or leggy.

As always, try to keep on top of those pesky is always better to get rid of them while they are tiny and not too much trouble, rather than leaving them until they are too big to hoe or pull out, plus you don’t want them stealing nutrients which are beneficial to the plants you are trying to grow! Plus of course, don’t forget to give your containers a regular feed...yes, I know, I keep banging on about that, but it is so important as watering and rainfall will leach out the nutrients.

If you have lilies in the garden, please start to check them for the presence of the red lily beetle, so called as they are bright red and you can’t miss them! The larvae can devour a plant in a matter of days.  The beetles are slow moving, so are easy to find and pick off.

If you find pruning therapeutic, then now is the perfect time to prune spring flowering shrubs, such as, Chaenomeles (Japanese Quince).  Also prune overcrowded Clematis Montana after flowering.

One last job - If you haven’t done so already - check your evergreens for any frost damage and prune back to green growth.

Now, on to my Plant of the Month and this month it just has to be Allium, or ornamental onion.  I just love how perfectly round they are, with tiny flowers which individually are intricate little gems, but collectively make such a beautiful statement. I have been working with some clients who opened their garden for the National Garden Scheme. The garden is called The Moongate called, because they have a purbeck wall with a moongate, which is one of the main features of this amazing garden, and this moongate draws you through to the upper part of the garden (if you are on Facebook, please take a look at The Moongate Garden and view the lovely photographs). At this time of the year, one of the great highlights of this beautiful garden is the Alliums.  They are a wonderful bulb to have in the garden and the bees love them too. I have included some of my photographs of these beautiful bulbs.

Allium - Plant of the Month

Allium - Plant of the Month
Allium - Plant of the Month

Briar Rose at Highdown

Geranium at Highdown

Iris at Highdown

Paeony with bee

Syringa at Highdown

So, what about gardens to visit around now? Well, Highdown Gardens, Highdown Rise, Littlehampton, West Sussex are just perfect – I visited these delightful gardens on a gloriously warm Saturday afternoon. The Gardens have been awarded the Green Flag Award every year since 2005.  The gardens leaflet says, and I quote, ‘This award scheme is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the UK. Strict criteria have to be achieved for the award, such as providing an environmentally-friendly garden with green waste recycling and no use of peat. Also the garden must provide a safe and welcoming place for visitors with information and participation from local groups.  We are committed to continuing to achieve these aims for the enjoyment of our visitors.’

The house and grounds were owned by the Stern family, who were passionate about horticulture.  Frederick Stern and his wife Sybil Lucas collected many exotic and rare plants and created a beautiful garden in the south of England. It was a challenging project for them as they were planting on chalk. When Frederick Stern passed away in 1967 he left the gardens to Worthing Borough Council, ‘for the people of Worthing to enjoy the Gardens in perpetuity’. These gardens are now nationally recognised as the ‘National Collection of the Plant Introductions of Sir Frederick Stern’. Many plant enthusiasts locally and from around the world visit these gardens. They are also a favourite with families on the weekend and during holidays.  With such beautiful surroundings and many lovely trees and shrubs to see, it is an idyllic place to walk around and indeed to stop and have a picnic. I found much to admire and this is reflected in the photographs I took. Check out their website .

Parham House and Gardens, Parham Park, Pulborough, West Sussex – I was fortunate to also have time to visit Parham House recently. It was a lovely warm day, slightly overcast with the odd burst of rain and a bit of thunder for good measure. The house is owned by a registered charity, Parham Park Trust and Lady Emma Barnard and her family live in the ‘family side’ of the house. Beautiful gardens surround the house, both of which are open to the public on selected days during the week.  The gardens are made up of lovely interesting areas, such as a Nursery, Rose Garden, Herb Garden, Orchard and Pleasure grounds.  There are some beautiful herbaceous borders lining the footpaths and I took a lovely leisurely stroll along these to admire the plantings.  What struck me was the sheer amount of colour on display and the clever colour combinations, for example, purple-leaved Cotinus and golden Achillea alongside bright orange Kniphofia, with many more plants about to burst open.

Parham is full of charm and has a wonderful peaceful ambience. It also has a fantastic plant shop with many good-quality plants on sale – so hard to resist!  In fact, you can go to the plant shop from 10.30-12.00 on the standard open days without paying the entrance fee to the gardens. Parham really is the perfect place for a garden visit and indeed a great place to go walking too.  It also plays host to many events during the year.  Check out their website

Well, I shall sign off for now.  I will be visiting some gardens in Yorkshire towards the end of June and I look forward to writing about those and sharing my photographs with you too.

In the meantime, I do hope you find time to go and visit some great gardens, both for enjoyment and to give you inspiration for your own gardens.

Happy Gardening, Sue
Horticulturalist, Garden Designer, Gardener and Garden Writer

Euphorbia at Parham


Phlomis russelliana

Salvia at Parham

Contact Gardens to Visit