Meander Valley Gazette

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In the garden with Nell Carr

Meander StyleJoanne Eisemann
The hardy  Spiraea x bumalda .  Photo supplied

The hardy Spiraea x bumalda.

Photo supplied


June is a good time for planting spring flowering shrubs. Spiraeas are a numerous and hardy shrub to 2 metres in height. They are native to America, Europe, and China and Japan.

Although the books say they are drought-tender, the specimen pictured, Spiraea x bumalda has never been watered since it began to develop its shrubby shape.

This was grown from a cutting from a very old garden, and is one of the few of the species with rose red flowers.

The Northern hemisphere common name of ‘May’, is hardly appropriate, but indicates the time of year when it puts forth its great mass of tiny, mostly white blossoms.


If there is a warm, north facing spot in the garden, ‘Gladdies’ can be planted now for a good show in September. Barry Humphries, in his guise as Edna Everage, devalued the Gladioli, but the new cultivars with petals of variegated colours and frilled edges should still have a place in the garden. Experts recommend a dusting of fungicide before planting.


Cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage seedlings may be planted in well-manured soil in June. To ensure fast growing, apply a monthly side dressing of nitrogen, or a feed of water soluble fertiliser. Sugar loaf cabbage is great for stir-fries, or, now that salads are an acceptable winter accompaniment for grilled meats, makes great coleslaw.