This month in the garden – June




June Maintenance Guide


June is a good month in the south; the humidity has not likely arrived, the days are long and school is out putting us on “summertime.”  A change in the daily routine is a welcomed change indeed!

May 2009 GBBD 010


  • Tender annuals can still be planted: begonias, basil, coleus, impatiens.


  • If your daffodil foliage is lying on the ground, it is now OK to cut back.
  • How well did your daffodils perform this year?  Great? then leave them be; poorly?, then dig up the bulbs and divide once they finish maturing (as indicated by the died back leaves.)  They are probably overcrowded.  Daffodil bulbs can be planted immediately or stored in a shade, well-ventilated location.
  • Remove the Amaryllis bloom stalk.
  • Remove German bearded iris bloom stalk to tidy up the plant.  During the 6 weeks or so after bloom time, next years’ flowers are forming.  Best to wait until the fall to transplant or otherwise disturb these plants or risk next years show.
  • The soil has warmed enough to plant caladiums and elephant ears.
  • Late spring is the time to plant autumn crocuses.
  • Dahlia tubers can still be planted.


  • Rosemary can take a hard pruning.  Now is a good time to shape, shear it, prune to manage its size.
  • Its easy to plant more herbs than you can use – plan to share with friends and neighbors.


  • Up until about the 4th of July, many plants can be pinched back to maintain shape, delay bloom time, and keep from getting leggy.  Give your garden Nip and Tuck; Plants that benefit from a nip include: Asters, Basil, Joe-Pye weed, heliopsis, Mint, Mums, Salvias, Sedums.
  • Keep flower heads deadheaded.


  • Remember to cut your faded rose blooms to encourage more growth.  Cut the stem just above the first 5-leaflet leaf below the bloom.
  • Remember, roses are a thirsty and hungry bunch.  The watering rule of thumb is to water each plant 5 gallons per week.  Fertilize every six weeks with a complete rose fertilizer.


  • This is also the time for the Japanese Beetles to fest on your Roses. At Helen’s Haven, we practice mechanical pest control of Japanese Beetles – we hand pick them when you are out cutting or pruning the Roses. This is my practice. Wearing gloves, I just put the bug between my thumb and forefinger and squeeeeze.  Too squeamish for that, prepare a bucket of soap[y water.  Tip the flower head with the Beetle over a bucket or soapy water and shake into a bucket.
  • Another technique is what is referred to as keeping the roses ‘in the green.’ What this means is to cut your Roses and bring inside. Or at the very least, keep the roses pruned, reducing the amount of color in the rose garden.  The Japanese Beetles are attracted to the bright and happy colors. Actually, so am I. While I do occasionally bring in cut flowers, I have a Rose garden to enjoy them in the garden; thus, I had to overcome any questions of how to dispose of these nasty little critters. So I just squeeeeze and voila, they are gone.


  • Often I am asked how to get rid of that yucky yellow blob in the mulch. It may look distasteful, but it’s not harmful. None-the-less, I get it up as soon as I see it. I have tried to ignore it, but can’t. One mulch supplier is no more prone to it than another, as I am often asked. I like using a hoe to get it up. It also works well to scrape up the mold with some attached mulch removing any trailing bits. I first learned the name of this slime mold as dog puke! When you tell people that, they actually think it is dog puke. Then if you tell them it is slime mold, they want a name of a new mulch supplier. There’s just no good name for it.


  • Hopefully you mulched nicely and do no have a huge problem with weeds, but weeding is a reality of gardening: they know a good thing with the see it. My approach is to use a good hoe and just come along and chop their heads off down to their feet. I don’t even have to bend over. But from time to time, when looking at my garden beds, I’ll see this big green thing. Yep, it’s a large crab grass. I use to wonder how it got there, but now I don’t even wonder, I just reach in and pull it out.  My least favorite weed is nutsedge Are-you-ready-to-weed


As summer begins, so do summer vacations.  This also arises the need to have your garden looked after while you are gone!  There is no need not to have container gardens just because you are going on vacation and don’t want to be bothered.  Why let a week or two away keep you from coming home to some nice plantings?  Here are some tips to caring for your container gardens and houseplants while you are on vacation.  These tips are for those with and without automatic irrigation systems.

  • Bring houseplants outside under the cool of the porch or eves of the house.
  • Get a neighbor kid to come over everyday to check on things and to water.  Most pots will need watering everyday.
  • Pool you pots together near a water source and out of the afternoon sun.
  • Add extra mulch to the base of the plant.
  • Add water lines to your containers from your irrigation system.
  • Don’t have an irrigation system?  The big box stores sell automatic systems that hook up to your spigot such as Mister Mister.


  • Cow birds, bunnies, fox, grackles, copperheads, voles, moles, squirrels, deer.  They too, are part of our “wildlife.”  Let’s learn to all get along.
  • Continue to fill feeders, provide clean water daily, and refresh humming bird feeders with fresh sugar water.


  • Around the 2nd weekend in June, plan to attend the Larkspur Party.  This is a great gardening event organized by artist and gardener Frances Alvarino  Larkspur Party
  • Plan to visit public gardens for ideas and inspiration.  A camera, journal and even lunch will complete your visit.

Guide and photo by Helen Yoest
Gardening With Confidence



  1. June 6, 2009 @ 1:30 pm · EditEnglish Roses?

  2. June 6, 2009 @ 4:18 pm · Edit“Let’s all learn to get alone?” Gee, and they called me “Grumpy.”

  3. June 6, 2009 @ 4:48 pm · EditGrumpy, LOL, well that is a typo that I’m so glad you found. Funny how one little letter makes me sound a me anti-social. It’s suppose to say, “Let’s all learn to get along” I really don’t want to get along with my garden pest. I wish they would just go away – naturally, of course. But because I will not spray, I will just have to try and get along. H.

    P.S. I’m impressed you read all my guide…or at least the last bits. Well done, Grumpy!

  4. tina said

    June 6, 2009 @ 7:20 pm · EditI tell you Helen, after having visited your garden, folks really need to heed your advice because your garden is stunning and you surely know how to take care of it all!

  5. June 6, 2009 @ 7:35 pm · EditHey Hydroponic Garden,

    The rose featured in this post is a hybrid tea, Rainbow Sorbet. I love English roses, but found here at Helen’s Haven,in Raleigh, NC they are just too needy for me. I grown a couple of climbers, Don Juan (which is my fave) and Stairway to Heaven, a good performer, but like Don Juan better. I also grown several other hybrid teas, floribundas, and shrub roses. I have them on an organic spray program, but not matter how you look at it, they are still high maintenance and heavy feeders…still they are home here. For now at least!

  6. June 6, 2009 @ 7:38 pm · EditHey Tina,

    Golly, I’ll have to quote you in a travel brochure for visitors coming to Raleigh! It was great to meet you, husband and son. Amazing how two bloggers can meet for the first time and yak for 2 hours only to be pulled away cuz you had to leave. I’m so looking forward to see you in Tenn.



  1. patientgardener said

    I really enjoyed this post. It has reminded me that I need to prune my rosemary – thanks

  2. tina said

    I’m on my way to give my Joe Pye a nip and tuck….yup, see you here in Tennessee!

  3. I took a deep breath and cut all of the blooms off my roses today. It was taking awhile to dunk or squish the JBs and we’re going away for a few days. The cottontail bunnies were all waiting around the edges this evening for the dinner bell (that’s when I go inside), so I also had to spray the bunny repellent. I decided to spray the roses just to see (I love to experiment) if bunny repellent repels JBs, too. LOL


  4. I am so looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at the Sunshine Lavender Farm. I’m glad you are going.

    I practice mechanical insect control too. Sometimes I drown them but the joy of squashing them is nice.

  5. TC said

    I know of someone who uses an old blender for making Japanese beetlejuice. She collects Japanese beetles in a soapy water jar, pours them into the blender and blends on high. She then sits this out and the odor attracts more beetles, they land, falling into their soapy and watery grave.

  6. TC sounds is interesting. I’m not sure I’m up for making beetle juice. I’m afraid I wont clean the blender well enough when I want to make a milkshake. Awwwww. H.

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