Peter’s Gardening tips for June

This month I am focussing on scent in your garden

After the sunniest Spring on record and the fact that we have all had more time to spend in our gardens, June is the month to enjoy not only the sights but also the wonderful scents.

Scent to my mind is one of the most important features of any garden and so often forgotten about or overlooked in gardening as a whole.

Scent derives from volatile ‘Essential Oils’ stored in plants which are released as they mix with air and oxidise. Flowers produce essential oil called attar which is found normally in the petals. Scent in flowers is released as the flowers open and fades as the flowers wither, temperature also affects the strength of the scent.

Flowers produce these smells to attract pollinators to fertilise their flowers, bees, butterflies, moths, beetles etc, some have smells or scents that are rather unpleasant that mimic rotting flesh or decaying matter to attract flies, and then there are those that have wonderful scents used in fragrances and perfumery.

June is the month when some of the best shrubs come into their own – roses the nations favourite plant fill gardens with heady scents, as far as I am concerned a rose must smell to be in any garden!

Climbing Rose Madame Alfred Carriere

Climbing Rose Madame Alfred Carriere

Philadelphus (Mock Orange) is a very under-rated plant. Try Philadelphus coronarius Aureus, purpurecens, Starbright, or Belle Etoile. Over 80 to collect! Also try Daphnes, choisya, honeysuckles etc. Herbs are a must have and not just for cooking or using in salads. Plant creeping thymes, mint or chamomile to tread on planted in gravel or between paving slabs to release their wonderful aromas, and plant lavender or rosemary to brush against as you walk past.

Philadelphus coronarius Aureus

Philadelphus coronarius Aureus

The crucial thing is to have scented plants whether foliage or flowers, near to where you sit in the garden. Everyone has their own sense of smell and scent is very personal, it evokes so many things in our sub-conscious, relaxes, brings back memories, calms and gives an incredible sense of pleasure.

It is possible to plan and plant scented plants that will flower every month of the year, try and use your nose, have a good sniff and educate your sense of smell, enjoy!

June Jobs


Get out your hoe or swoe to deal with the weeds. Used in dry weather works better than weedkillers. Just push through the soil surface decapitating the weeds and the roots. Allow to dry in the sun. Make sure you have a sharpened edge on the hoe or swoe!


Raise cutting deck if your garden is dry and sharpen the blade if the grass looks like split ends!

Watering and Feeding:

Crucial to getting good flowers, vegetables and fruits. A good soak is better than a sprinkling of water.
Fill pots to the rim and allow to drain. Liquid feed weekly now.
Hanging baskets and tubs can be fed alternate waterings.


Lots to do. Anything that has flowered this spring can be pruned.
Camellias, Rhododendrons, Viburnum, Clematis Montana. Don’t be frightened.

Whatever the weather enjoy your gardening, take time out, use your senses, listen to the bird song, stop and observe life around you, relax with a glass of your favourite tipple, draw breath and inhale the scents of yours or somebody else’s garden!

Happy Gardening!


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Peter Mills

I love everything to do with natural history, wildlife, biodiversity and of course horticulture - basically the big outdoors. I grew up with very good teachers namely my parents and my French grandfather who was a superb grower of vegetables. At Hadlow College I studied a three year OND in Horticulture. I had a market stall selling plants. Went onto wholesaling house plants to florists and garden centres across southern England. In 1986 I joined Clandon Park Garden Centre as manager. Whilst there I started my career as a gardening radio presenter with the BBC Southern Counties Radio. This continued for 15 years, building up valuable contacts with the RHS Wisley, live broadcasts from Chelsea & Hampton Court Flower shows, South of England & Surrey County shows etc. Since 1998 I have been self-employed, working as a Head Gardener and in private gardens . Through the RHS Advisory Department at Wisley I advise on horticultural problems in members gardens, including pest & disease problems, lawn-care advice, pruning of wisterias, fruit trees, roses, wildlife gardening, growing fruit & vegetables, creating wildflower meadows, identifying plants and control of pernicious weeds. I am an extremely lucky guy who loves what I do and the trade called Horticulture!

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16th Jun 2020
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