URBANA, Ill. – For many gardeners, spring is a mad rush of cleaning up the garden, purchasing “dream” plants, dividing, planting, mulching, and fertilizing. By the time June rolls around, gardeners can take a more leisurely approach, studying areas in the garden that need improvement and making plans to fill in gaps.
“June is the perfect time to purchase and plant perennials,” says University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Martha Smith. “In June, the garden center will feature larger, more mature flowering plants than those available in the spring.”
If gardeners opt for warm season ornamental grasses, Smith cautions that they shouldn’t expect too much right away. “You have to have a lot of faith that they are really growing and will look like the picture later in the season. Miscanthus, Pancium, Pennisetum, and Saccharum species all need some heat to get growing. June is when they start to fill in their container and look like something. The heat of the summer hasn’t hit yet, so June is a great month to initiate, rejuvenate, or redo a perennial garden area,” Smith says.
June is also a great month to get ideas. Smith suggests visiting a botanical garden or traveling to an old favorite or a yet-unseen garden center for new perennials. Watch for garden walks in your community for new plant combinations and ideas on how to place perennials. Attend lectures when offered at local gardens, retail outlets, or extension offices. Sign up for garden bus tours if offered in your community.
“Or,” Smith says, “just get in a car (with a very large trunk) with a few gardening friends and road-trip to new unchartered garden territory! There are many ways you can learn and experience gardening in June.”
Above all, Smith notes, be sure to set aside time in June to enjoy your own garden. Revel in the success of all your work and dedication. Take the time to record what you did this season and the plans you have for next year. Bring flowers indoors for fresh bouquets to share with your family, or take to work and share with co-workers.