Monday, 30 December 2019

REVIEW OF THE YEAR


                                                      REVIEW OF THE YEAR

The year is now just about behind us and we look forward to 2020 and wonder what lies ahead. There will be new varieties of fruit vegetables and flowers to try, but the biggest challenge is always the battle with the weather. It is a complete unknown as there is just no way of finding out which way it will go. We will all remember 2019 as a very wet year,
John and Anna wish everyone a Happy New Year
though records in some parts had it as very warm, but I cannot say I noticed any long dry very warm periods in Dundee, apart from a fortnight in the middle of May when summer arrived after a long cool spring. There was a great show of daffodils and tulips which went on for ages as cool weather
Apple Discovery
slowed down growth. The show of tulips has been the best ever, so a note was made to buy a lot more in autumn as the display created was worth every penny spent. I now use them for companion planting to enhance the show so I choose varieties to plant along with doronicum, forsythia, border phlox, saxifrages and amongst my roses. I use dwarf early varieties so there is no conflict for space and they die down before the roses need more room to grow. We had come through the normal mild winter to be followed by a cool but dry spring and plants were ready to get going. Seed potatoes went in very early. First early Casa Blanca went in the last week in February followed by all the others the first week in March. As shoots appeared through the earthed up furrows there was no late frosts to worry them.
The hose came out regularly in May as we went through a nice wee dry spell, but all was not rosy in
Dave's spring flowers
the garden. The mild winter was perfect for over wintering greenfly eggs and before long they arrived in plagues on roses, fruit bushes, lilies, pansies and the rosy leaf curling plum aphid wiped out all foliage on plum trees. The plum trees recovered by mid summer but nearly all of the fruit was lost. My outdoor peach tree Avalon Pride only produced one fruit, but it fell off before it ripened.  Apples and pears all fruited very well, but apple Oslin suffered from brown rot wiping out all that variety. Figs on the other hand gave great crops for nearly three months. The dry spell was perfect for the spread of mildew and blackspot smothering roses. The summer display was really severely reduced. It was not long, however, before the pleasant
Summer hanging basket
spring weather gave way to summer and the rain arrived. It forgot to go off. Wet mild weather is perfect for lettuce, cabbages, sprouts, kale and Swedes, but onions suffer badly as wet rot runs riot. However I had got my crop sown and planted early, so as soon as the rot began to spread they all got lifted and dried off. Strawberries also suffered from botrytis rotting a lot of the summer crop and the autumn crop, (Flamenco) which could have been a great crop but was wiped out by botrytis rotting all the fruit. Early strawberry Christine however started to fruit at the beginning of May, before the rains arrived and a good month ahead of last year. Many pumpkins and courgettes all rotted as they grew.
Brant Grapes at City Road Allotments
Although a wet year, garden flowers have all mostly done well. Lilies and garden pinks like a hot dry climate, but both put on a great show, in spite of heavy attacks of greenfly. Geraniums also flowered profusely especially those in hanging baskets.
Top Awards for allotments for John and Dave
Outdoor grapes varied. Brant excelled itself both on my house wall and up at City Road allotments, but rain rotted all fruit on Regent and Rondo. Greenhouse grapes Black Hamburg, Solaris and Siegerrebe all fruited well and most of the crop is now maturing away quietly in demijohns. Tomatoes were all good under glass, and my cherry tomato trial went very well with Supersweet 100 and Sungold both getting top marks for sweetness and cropping.
City Road Allotments won an award for the best allotment site in Dundee and I got the cup for the best plot in the town. New communal flower borders and outdoor grape trial against our south facing sheds may have caught the judge’s eye.
Euonymous needs pruning

Wee jobs to do this week

Shrubs grown for their impact of coloured foliage such as the Euonymous Emerald n Gold and
Emerald Gaiety provide great interest in winter, but once well established like to keep growing and spreading. However once they have filled their allotted space cut back any branches blocking paths.

END

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