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Column: Gardening with Kristin Crouch

Photo: Josh Felise via

As I sit here writing and looking out at the garden, I can’t help but think about the huge amount of work I still need to do. My garden shelves are filled with flowers

all carefully grown from seed. From Sunflowers and Marigolds, Impatiens and Nicotiana, I have plants for each of my gardens. I hope to have it all planted so I can relax in June.

June, a time to enjoy the flowers and read a book while sipping a glass of cool iced tea. Okay, who am I kidding? I know gardening doesn’t stop once June arrives but I can dream.

There will be deadheading to do as the spring blooms finish and pinching of the annual flowers to encourage them to bush out. Cutting off the first flowers is so painful after waiting months for the flowers to open. I have to be the tough parent and know it will help them grow. Flowers are like children. They need care and attention to flourish. There will be harvesting to do in the kitchen garden, peas to pick, garlic scapes to cut and lettuce ready to harvest.

June signals the beginning of berry season and I will be picking raspberries and making jam. There will be canes to tie in as the new growth on raspberries start to grow. The tomato plants will be getting tall enough to train along the support wires. Basil will need the flowers pinched off and the leaves made into delicious pesto for winter meals.

Of course, the garden weeds will continue to grow and I will find myself caring less and less about having a perfect garden as the hot sun beats down on me. The summer heat stifles the air. All I can think about is how nice the lounge chairs are looking by the time noon rolls around.

It’s time to enjoy the scents and sights of the garden, the bees humming on the blossoms of the Styrax tree and the ducklings swimming in the waterway behind the garden. June is rose month and I find myself stopping to smell the blooms just for a moment. A deep inhale of their sweet scent has me linger awhile.

This is the type of break I take from the garden. It’s never done sitting down. It’s watching the long-legged spider carrying her precious egg sac on her back to a safe place in my garden. It’s getting excited at seeing the first shoots of the pumpkin seedlings I planted for the grandchildren. It’s seeing the birds sitting in the roses eating aphids off the leaves. After all, the birds are my pest control in this organic garden.

June is a month of sights to be seen and experienced before they are gone. It’s not a time of rest from the garden but a time to be in the garden, to be at one with your garden.

June Checklist

  • Feed bedding plants with organic fertilizer and water regularly.
  • Continue to stake tall perennials and deadhead as needed.
  • Water newly planted trees, shrubs and hedges thoroughly.
  • Thin crops in vegetable gardens such as carrots and beets.
  • Keep gardens weeded and watch for pests and disease.

Kristin Crouch is a Ladner gardener, green thumb blogger and organizer of Seedy Saturday. You can follow her blog here.

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