End of Month View: June

I left my garden for two weeks this month and look what happened!  Before we left I think my garden was probably at its best; apart from the odd aphid problem it was as good as it could be.  Everything was staked, weeded and blooming its little heart out.

View of long border

View of long border in May

When we came back last week my heart sank. The whole garden looked a bit like a jungle. The poppies, blue geraniums and the blue lupin had finished flowering and  there wasn’t a lot of other colour to replace them.   The garden was looking rather a mess. Now that wouldn’t generally be such a problem, but we are having a lot of visitors in August and I really wanted them to enjoy the garden – OK OK, to be honest, I wanted to show off my garden!!!

Long border in June

Long border in June

There was nothing for it but to set to work tidying it up.  Firstly I removed the blue lupin – the one that had the serious pea aphid problem. Before I had left I had removed quite a lot of it, but decided against removing it all in case the aphids just found another lupin to attack while we were away.  It wasn’t too bad actually, but I was getting rather fed up with my thrice daily aphid squashing sessions.  The infested foliage was placed in our brown bin to be collected next week.  Clever things these pea aphids – many of them found their way right out of the bin and onto the lid, so instead of squashing them on the lupin I now had regular visits to the bin!  Think I have got them all now, though.

Having removed the old poppy foliage, weeded and trimmed the edges the garden was looking a lot better, albeit with quite a few gaps.

View from upstairs window

View from upstairs window

However there do seem to be more problems this year than I have had before.

My bearded irises all  seem to have iris leaf spot.  I introduced a few more last year, both from a garden centre and a plant sale and I can only assume one of them introduced this to the garden.  I still had a few flowers though so it can’t affect them too much.

I also have a lot of powdery mildew; on the honeysuckle, the scabious and the penstemon…..strange as you usually get that if the conditions are too dry and they certainly haven’t been that.  Again the plants seem to be coping OK and you can just cut off the foliage later in the year and hope it doesn’t return.

The roses have both greenfly and blackspot; I usually try to get in just one spraying before the bees are about, but didn’t manage this year. One yellow rose I put in last year seems to be losing the colour from its older leaves. I haven’t seen this problem before.

rose leaf with white

rose leaf with white

I suspected some sort of mineral deficiency in the soil, but on closer inspection the bad leaves have yet another type of aphid on their underside which must be literally sucking the colour out.

White bug on rose leaf

White bug on rose leaf

You know what that means – muggins here is going to have to wash every leaf of that climbing rose. Thank goodness it hasn’t climbed very high yet.  Can anyone identify these little pests?

As well as new aphids I also saw another strange insect in the garden. It looks like a cross between a bee and a housefly. Any ideas?

strange insect

strange insect

I had such plans for a lovely scented romantic bench in the middle of the long border and instead all we have is a rather bare honeysuckle covered in powdery mildew, a clematis that looks OK but no flowers and lots of weeds – sorry I mean Wild Flowers. Oh well maybe next year…….

honeysuckle bare

This very bare honeysuckle has made its way a good 6 ft behind the fence and decided that it would much rather grow where the plum tree is!!! I think not.

honeysuckle escaped

But enough of the bad stuff, there is still plenty of good things going on in the garden.

The delphiniums (the ones that didn’t get eaten by the slugs) are absolutely fantastic.


Delphinium Elatum Magic Fountain

My little plum tree is getting rather large as are the plums – can’t wait.

The wild foxgloves are looking beautiful especially in the early morning light.

Foxgloves at dawn

Foxgloves at dawn

Our pink unnamed rose is at its peak and looks lovely with the self-seeded foxgloves.

Pink rose

The bedding plants are beginning to grow to fill in the gaps and there are some real treasures in the rockery.

Please click on the gallery to see the photos

The thyme, especially, is looking great.



I am hoping that this is just a little lull in the long border – it is having a rest after all that Spring exuberance this year before the next flowers come out.  If not well, I can always show my visitors this blog!!!

Thanks Helen for hosting this End of Month View – it is a great way to keep track of what happens when in your garden.  Why not head over to her blog to see what is happening in other gardens this month.

Next Garden Update: Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day: July




17 thoughts on “End of Month View: June

  1. I think my lupin has the same aphids! Did you just cut down the foliage to the ground or remove the whole plant? I tried spraying the affected shoots but the beasts have moved further along!

    • Oh dear! I just cut down the foliage and left the roots. I will inspect any new foliage very carefully and be ready to spray early spring before the bees get about. If you have the same aphids then they drop to the ground when disturbed so the danger is that they will find another pea type plant to infect. They can also reproduce more aphids with wings if they are stressed too, though I haven’t seen any of them. I did put a lot of the stems in water to drown the aphids before putting them in the bin, but it is very messy. I know I shouldn’t have, but I bought a new lupin and put it at the other end of the border. I still have a few smaller ones about too and they seem OK too. So maybe the aphid doesn’t spread that easily after all.

  2. I gave up on lupins quite a few years ago because of the aphid problem and I don’t want to use any sprays. I think your border will be fine when you have your visitors, it looks very good in your photo from the bedroom window.

    • I do have more things still to flower and of course I just had to go out and buy more flowers too! Any excuse! I do have to stop planting soon though and do some work in the house!! I do hope I don’t have to stop growing lupins, I will certainly give those aphids a run for their money first.

  3. I never knew there was a specific pea aphid Annette – you learn something new every day. The slugs and snails are the main pest of lupins here.
    Your border in both May and June looks wonderful, especially colourful back in May. I always think there is a bit of a lull at the end of June – the plants appear to be stuck in limbo. Can’t believe you’ve had lots of rain – it’s still incredibly dry down here. Although I’m not complaining.
    Is you fly a white banded drone fly? I had a similar one ID’d a few years back in my garden.

    • Hi Angie, Yes there is a specific aphid that likes members of the pea family such as lupin. You can read more about in a a previous post I wrote…https://myaberdeengarden.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/somethings-bugging-me/. I did’t know about it before then either.
      We have had some really heavy showers which has done the garden a lot of good – the soil still feels rather dry to me though, but my garden has a tendency to be sandy despite the addition of loads of compost.
      Yes, I think you are right about the drone fly. Thanks so much – I didn’t even know if it was friend or foe, but if it is a type of hover fly it is probably attracted by all the aphids I have this year and is helping my battle. Great. I hadn’t got very far searching on Goggle for bee like fly!

    • Thanks – I am much happier with it again now it is tidied up and the grass cut – oh and I have been out collecting bargains from the garden centres to fill it out a bit!

  4. Your mystery insect is one of the large hoverflies, probably Volucella pellucens (Great Pied Hoverfly).
    Your garden looks immaculate and I’m sure that splendor will return after a little pruning. Shame about the aphids, but we do need them to feed the hoverfly and ladybird larvae.

    • Thanks – I am very pleased to hear that. Yes my garden is already looking much better – well I just had to go and buy a few more plants didn’t I?
      I have just noticed my large sycamore tree is covered in aphids – you can see them on all the leaves when the light shines through it, so more than enough for all the hover flies and ladybirds.

    • At least at this time of the year there are a few bargains to be had which stops you feeling quite so guilty! I got some wonderful big gazanias for £1.00 each at the local garden centre. A real splash of colour. I even got a couple through the winter last year as it was so mild so maybe they will last too.

  5. Oh Annette, what a tale of woe to begin with – but I am pleased that you have still found things to delight you! That unnamed rose is gorgeous, isn’t it? Enjoy looking out for those new acquisitions!

    • I tried not to sound too woeful, but I didn’t just want to write about the good stuff as that is not realistic in a garden is it.
      Anyway things looking much better now and some other big plants about to flower shortly so all is well.

  6. Pingback: Lilac, lavender or just plain purple? | My Aberdeen Garden

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