The Gardening Coach

The hardy lily has it all

The hardy lily has it all - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Judy Shardlow’s horticultural advice for June

If you’re looking for a bit of instant impact in your garden this summer, the arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Crowborough’, above) could be just what you need. The hardy arum has it all – glossy deep green heart-shaped leaves, pure white trumpet-shaped flowers held on tall, sturdy stems that reach up to a metre tall. It’s basically the plant equivalent of a gorgeous white full-length gown, which may explain why it often features in wedding bouquets. Despite glamorous good looks, this architectural perennial is strong and tough. Although foliage will collapse with the first winter frosts, it has strong rhizomes, allowing the plant to over-winter safely underground with handsome foliage emerging in late spring.

Ideally it should be placed in rich, damp soil, or shallow water, in part shade. It can also handle a degree of dryness in the soil as long as it’s not in full sun. There is another fully hardy cultivar ‘Green Goddess’, which is also fairly widely available, and which is equally elegant but less vigorous. If I had to choose between them, I would always choose ‘Crowborough’. Luckily I have room in my garden for both!

Five things to do in the garden this month

Go easy with chemicals

Avoid reaching for the bug spray, weed killer or fungicide. Hand pulling or hoeing weeds (even bindweed) is good exercise and most insects have natural predators.

Plant tender bedding

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If you like gorgeous long-flowering bedding, now is the time to add some to your garden borders and patio containers.

Stay on top of weeds

Regular weeding and a thick blanket of composted bark will keep weeds at bay and help to retain water in the soil for your plants.

Plant leeks

Pencil-sized leek seedlings can be planted out now. Keep well-watered through the summer months for a lovely autumn crop.

Dont’ forget to water

Long periods of dry weather will damage or kill newly-planted trees and shrubs and reduce crop yields. Give these a regular good watering (preferably from a water butt).

Judy Shardlow is an RHS award-winning garden designer and coach. 01438 833858

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