Sunday, 12 June 2016

SUMMER HAS ARRIVED



SUMMER HAS ARRIVED

Summer has made a very welcome return to the Tayside region, and unusually the west of Scotland including Glasgow is properly tropical. It has been too hot to garden except early mornings and evenings and the hose pipe has been in constant use. Garden plants are just loving this weather. Rhododendrons, azaleas, ceanothus, viburnum mareisii, laburnum trees, phlox subulata and Iceland poppies are running the show, but roses and flag iris are not far behind.
Tubs, pots and hanging baskets have now all been planted up with geraniums, fuchsias, begonias, marigolds and other summer flowering bedding plants. The pansies removed from them still had flowers on them so they got planted in a spare patch of border, and after watering them in, they are now putting on a great display.
Mixed Azaleas
However this weather is also perfect for greenfly now breeding in plague proportions on roses, lilies, gooseberries and my young lettuce, but this is good weather for spraying in the evening.
Delosperma nubigenum
My first few strawberries got picked in mid May and serious picking began at the end of May from Elsanto grown under low polythene tunnels. Fresh strawberries for breakfast and lunch; now you know summer is here, and added to the pleasure of summer strawberries is the summer scents around the garden. I never really thought that Phlox subulata was scented, maybe it is just the right weather, but it has been outstanding and the ground hugging Delosperma nubigenum smothered in yellow daisy like flowers is positively exotic with a heady perfume. Then of course the azaleas are also well scented in my heather garden and near the entrance my blue petunias in tubs and baskets have always added perfume to all who enter.
This is the time for healthy eating with lettuce, radish, spring onion, baby beet and rocket all ready together, and rhubarb is throwing up healthy stems faster than we can pick them. Space in the freezer has been created for the spare crops as they come in, and I will be getting some demijohns ready as the Saskatoon berries will be ready for picking in mid July.
Most other fruit crops are showing a massive potential of crop, especially apples, currants, gooseberries, blueberries, chokeberries, strawberries and grapes. However apple Fiesta had a great year last year and has a biennial tendency so it looks like this could be its “off” year.
Phlox subulata
Raspberries also look good, but too early to assess at this stage. Though not everything is looking rosy as my pear tree with four different varieties on it produced plenty of flowers but I only see a handful of pears.
In the greenhouse full ventilation is essential with windows fully open and doors open while the heat wave continues. Tomatoes are now flowering on the third truss and looking very strong, even though I have only just started to feed them.
Black Hamburg grapes look brilliant, and my new Siegerrebe vine is just a mass of fruit, so I hope it produces more foliage to support this heavy crop which looks like it may need to be thinned out later on. Outdoors all my vines are looking good, but Rondo is ahead with Regent not far behind. Solaris and Phoenix are trailing but may just be late starters. If this weather continues it could be the vintage year our grapes require so they can produce enough sugar in the berry to produce a wine with at least 10% potential alcohol or higher. Last year my grapes only achieved 8% potential alcohol so to make a decent brew I had to add some wine concentrate and sugar. While this is fine for the home brewer it is not commercially acceptable, so Scotland’s potential for vineyards is still in the experimental stages.

Wee jobs around the garden

Herbaceous perennials are now putting on plenty of growth so make sure the taller ones such as peonies, oriental poppies and delphiniums are well supported as many have large flower heads.

END

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