June in the Garden

Time was, very many moons ago as a small girl, I tramped all over the countryside with my Grandad ‘helping’ to look after his various livestock. I remember an enormous saddle back mother pig (and several litters of piglets), and an even more enormous milking cow (milked by hand) and a flock of hens.

Then there was the old David Brown tractor with a metal seat and no cab that I was occasionally allowed to grab a lift aboard, and the summer holidays spent bringing in the hay, washed down with Grandad’s special cider (if only my mother knew!). All the ‘work’ was followed by one of Nana’s artery-clogging fried breakfasts and cups of tea which my Grandad always drank from the saucer. Inevitably, I always arrived home covered from head to foot in mud as I was a tall, lanky girl whose brains were a long way from her feet! But, those days taught me a lot about wildlife, and husbandry.

Perhaps it is only now that I can fully appreciate the time and love that both my grandparents invested in me, though I think they would not even have considered it as such. Those days seem far away now, almost a different planet, but maybe we could try to remember them, if only to ensure that our beautiful countryside remains for future generations to ‘tramp’ over with their more mature relations listening to their stories, or just for a little ‘me’ time to allow for reflection and consideration of the future. If your more elderly relations live too far away, perhaps consider ‘adopting’ a neighbour? Loneliness is an insidious thing; even a short walk, drive to the beach with a friend, or an offer of coffee in the garden might be a life saver …


A good time for Reflection...

How on earth did it get to be June already, it seems only five minutes since Christmas! I hope that all your hard work over the past few weeks is now beginning to pay off as our gardens start to look at their best. There is always room, though, for that extra special plant, and we have some beauties in at the moment.

I think that June is always a good time for reflection, and this year it seems all the more poignant. The staff team here have been absolutely incredible in their willingness to embrace my rather wacky projects and new schemes, and rose to the challenge of Covid magnificently. It’s hard to remember that one year ago, we were still in lockdown and unable to open our café. Thankfully that all seems a long time ago, and we are returning, albeit slowly, to some sort of new normal at last. There are still issues with some supplies, but they are industry-wide and provide an opportunity to look outside the box at alternatives.

And we are not immune to the cost of living and energy rises currently being experienced. We have managed to hold our prices for two years, mainly to try and support our Town and the surrounding areas, but unfortunately a point has come when we must pass on some of the costs to our customers. We have tried to keep this increase to an absolute minimum, but some products have more than doubled in price in the last three months. We continue to support local independent nurseries and growers for our carefully curated collection of plants, thus helping to maintain the local economy, rather than using larger national companies. We hope that our customers will understand the predicament, and continue to visit us for a warm welcome and advice about your garden (and many thanks to those that have supported us).


Our Café is open seven days a week from 10.00am until 4.00pm.

We have added some new items to our menu including a homemade quiche with salad and jacket wedges daily, and our Sunday roasts every week (booking essential).

Come and see us for a warm welcome and great coffee, or try our new range of hot chocolate melts (dreamy!).


Plant of the Month - Clematis

From bold blooms the size of tea plates to delicate nodding bells adorning a garden arch, clematis are versatile and colourful climbers that no garden should be without. Whether left to clamber-up a trellis panel to cover walls and fences or trained over a pergola, clematis are a wonderfully diverse family with varieties to choose for flowers in every season of the year.

Large-flowered hybrids are some of the most impressive, coming into their own during the summer months, and these are joined by daintier flowering varieties of Clematis viticella that continue blooming into autumn. They are available in a myriad of colours, but have wonderful fluffy seed pods after flowering, so the interest continues.

Top tips on growing Clematis …

1. Clematis like their heads in the sun and feet in the shade. Plant so that the soil around the roots is shaded to keep it cool, training shoots up into a brighter, lighter space above. 2. Always plant summer-flowering clematis deeper than they were growing in their pots. Dig a deep hole so the top of the rootball sits about 7-10cm below the soil surface, and bury the base of the stems with soil. This can help plants regrow if they ever suffer from clematis wilt disease. 3. Spread a deep mulch of compost or bark over the soil, or use old roof slates, after planting to lock in moisture and protect from the sun to keep roots cool. 4. All clematis belong to one of three pruning groups depending on when they flower. Talk to the experts here to find out which pruning group your clematis belongs to and get advice on exactly when and how to prune. Alternatively, check online for advice at www.rhs.org.uk.



Now that we are having some better weather, things will growing really fast in the garden so here are a few things to be getting on with.

  • Weed and deadhead to maintain beds, borders and container displays.

  • Introduce new fish into the pond (always float the bag in the water first so that the temperature of the water in the bag is the same as your pond before releasing the fish).

  • Remove blanket weed and duckweed to prevent them clogging up water features. Floating a net of barley straw just beneath the surface of your pond will help it stay clear of algae.

  • Mow the lawn and trim edges regularly. Use grass cuttings (not recently treated with weed- or moss-killer) to mulch around runner beans and sweet peas. Remember not to add grass cuttings to any collection facilities if they have been treated with weedkiller as this can get into the compost that is made from garden waste.

  • Energise tired lawns with a liquid feed.

  • Continue to water new wildflower beds or pots.

  • Water new lawns made in the Spring.

  • Water and feed containers regularly as temperatures rise (we hope!)

  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs.

  • Watch for pests and suckers on roses. Roses are prone to greenfly and blackspot, so apply a product such as Rose Clear Ultra® or for a non-toxic alternative we have a product called Ecofective Rose Defender (which also has the advantage of being made in the UK!). Try and track suckers back as far as you can before removing with a sharp pair of secateurs.

  • Tidy and cut back spring-flowering perennials.

  • Take cuttings from pinks.

  • Sow seed of perennials.

  • Cut down the faded foliage of bulbs.

  • Lift and divide overgrown clumps of bulbs.

  • Plant out summer bedding in containers and baskets (hooray!)

  • Harvest vegetables as they mature.

  • Plant winter brassicas, and protect them from pests.

  • Water fruit and vegetables thoroughly during dry spells.


  • Plant new plants before the summer heats up.

  • Sow hardy annuals outside to flower this year.

  • Plant out tender vegetables such as tomatoes and runner beans to get good crops.


  • Peg down strawberry runners to make new plants.

  • Plant summer bedding now that the threat of frost has passed.

  • Inspect plants regularly for signs of pests and diseases, and nip potential problems in the bud!!

Sue Brown

Opening hours: Shop: 9.00-5.00pm Monday to Saturday, 10.00 -4.00pm Sunday

Café: 10.00-4.00pm Monday to Sunday

King Street, Colyton, Devon EX24 6LF Email:admin@colytongardenshop.co.uk

Tel: 01297 551113 { Mobile: 07805 956157

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