Friday, 15 July 2016

SUMMER REWARDS



SUMMER REWARDS


A two week spell of summer weather with quite dry conditions followed by a very wet week, was great for plant growth, but not so great for flowers. However this is summer in Scotland so we are in the garden on every dry day unless it is too hot when we then relax on the patio. When the rain comes I am back in the studio to crack on with my latest painting project.
The first of this season’s fresh fruit and vegetables have been picked and as the harvest is just starting there is a lot more to come.
Potato Casa Blanca
First early potato Casa Blanca was lifted in mid June when the first shaw gave me 1.5 lbs of small but delicious salad potatoes. Although this is not a heavy cropper, it has flavour, texture and freshness, so I will continue to lift them as required.
Strawberry Elsanta brought on under low polythene tunnels has been ready from the end of May, and another row adjacent but without protection is just hanging with fruit ready to follow on.
Summer salads of lettuce, rocket, spring onions and radish are getting picked as we need them to keep them fresh. Turnip Golden Ball and beetroot are swelling up nicely and should be ready for picking in early July. Allotment life in summer can be very rewarding.
Pea Kelvedon Wonder is now showing a lot of pods swelling up and ready to pick.
Rose Myriam
Rhubarb just seems to love this weather, and the more you pick the more fresh leaves start to grow.
This is a very pleasant time of year with healthy living, sunshine and with most of the gardening hard work completed there is plenty of time to relax.
Oriental poppies
The garden flowers have been giving glorious colour and scents all year, as the mild winter never held them back. Dry weather plus the cool spring helped them to last a long time, but as the last tulips faded the azaleas and rhododendrons took over to have their month of dazzling colour in the  limelight. They were followed on with the oriental poppies, flag iris, cistus and numerous other flowering shrubs. However as we go into summer it is the time for the roses to take over as the main display. This year my red climbing rose Dublin bay was the first to appear followed by the golden Arthur Bell, then the white highly scented Margaret Merril blossomed. The only niggle to spoil the pleasure was awaiting my new red scented rose Humanity supplied by Verve to our local garden centre store. It turned out to be a very weak disease ridden specimen with pink flowers. Lessons to be learnt: never believe what the label says and never buy in winter when there are no flowers on the bush.
As summer progresses the highly scented lilies will create a show as will outdoor fuchsias, which have started to bloom but still to reach their peak.
Apple Red Falstaff young fruits
In my orchard, (four trees) the prolific crop of apples will need some serious thinning, as they are just laden with fruit. However I will wait till early July to give the trees a chance to shed the weakest fruit in the June drop process. Then I will reduce apples to one or two per spur.
In the greenhouse my tomatoes are romping away with flowers now on the fourth truss, so they get regular watering and feeding with a high potash liquid feed.
Indoor grape vines have been very prolific this year with numerous large bunches of grapes. However a week of continuous rain and cool weather caused a bit of botrytis rotting in the bunches. These had to get cut out while doing some thinning of the grapes in the bunches. This was done on a dry sunny day so the cut ends could heal up without further botrytis problems.

Wee jobs to do this week

Foliage of spring bulbs such as crocus, tulips, daffodils and most others has now all died down so it can be removed and added to the compost heap. Avoid seed heads as many of them will regrow and some such as bluebells and grape hyacinths can be invasive. If any bulbs get accidentally lifted out, just replant them back again.

 End


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