Welcome to June – the month we plant out our summer seasonal bedding displays, hang out our baskets and sort out our planters.

We are thinking of the summer, of course, and hoping for warm weather to come, but as gardeners we are also thinking ahead, and now is the time to be sowing those vegetables that will sustain us over the winter and next spring, particularly brassicas and root vegetables.

Vegetable seeds are either sown direct in rows or in seed beds, though I now tend to sow them in celled trays and when they’re large enough plant them out in the vegetable garden. This provides better control and is free of weeding.

The autumn and spring-bedding plants will also need to be sown over the next few weeks such as the wallflower, forget-me-nots, pansies and violets. If you’re not into growing from seeds, many online growers are now taking orders for winter vegetables and autumn-bedding plug plants.

One offer I found irresistible was for a pair of dwarf Mulberry bushes called Charlotte Russe, the result of many years of work by 89-year-old breeder Hajime Matsunaga. It is a self-pollinating mulberry that reaches only 1.5m and produces berries from June to September on plants that are only one year old – impressive, as most mulberry plants take around eight years to mature.

Interestingly, Mulberry Charlotte Russe was introduced into the UK by Suttons and was the RHS Chelsea plant of the year in 2017 – they were delivered over the weekend and, taking advantage of the warm and wet weather, were planted in my fruit garden. I now look forward to eating fresh mulberries later in the year.

With the recent rain and warm weather it’s been fantastic gardening weather, and earlier this week I was pleased to see my clematis burst into bloom, particularly Clematis Josephine and Clematis Nelly Moser as you can see from this week’s photograph. Although both have similar petal colours and marking, and are both Group 2 pruning, Josephine produces dramatic fully double flowers. The individual flowers will last for up to four weeks. As the outer sepals drop away, the central pompom effect appears. Josephine was launched at the 1998 Chelsea Flower Show, whereas Nelly Moser is an old favourite, well over 100 years old and still going strong. It is very free-flowering and though was only Awarded The ‘Award of Garden Merit’ by the RHS in 1993.

Clematis like their roots moist whilst the growth and flowers are growing in partial or full sun. So, they are best planted in a moisture-retentive, well-drained soil, where the roots and base of the plant can be kept cool and shaded either by other plants or a layer of mulch at the base. Also, plant with the crown at least 5-8cm deeper than it was growing in its container – this will encourage new shoots to grow from below ground level.

As with most climbing plants they do benefit from a good feeding early in the spring and over the summer. I normally apply a fish, blood and bone dressing two or three times through the growing season at the same time as I feed my roses.

I previously referred to Group 2 pruning for clematis. Depending on the type and variety of clematis you are growing, it will require either Group 1, 2 or 3 pruning! It is important to know and understand to which group your clematis belongs as incorrect pruning will lead to loss of blooms.

Group 1 pruning of clematis are those clematis that flower early in the year and should be pruned after flowering in mid- to late spring, such as Clematis armandii, Clematis alpina and Clematis macropetala. Group 2 pruning of clematis are those large-flowered hybrids that flower in May to June and should be pruned in late winter or early spring and after the first flush of flowers in summer (examples include my two clematis varieties above). And Group 3 pruning of clematis are those that flower in late summer on growth made in that season and should be pruned in late winter or early spring. They are often referred to as herbaceous clematis, such as Clematis viticella, Clematis Ville de Lyon and Clematis Princess Diana.

Clematis are relatively easy to propagate and can be propagated by double leaf bud cuttings taken from spring to late summer, or by layering from late winter to spring. Whilst species clematis can be propagated by seed.