Tuesday, 2 May 2017



This must be the driest April for a long time. Scotland gets rain in the west, and the north, but seems to miss the Tayside region. The hose has been in use as even my tulips have been wilting. Aconites and Pulmonaria have all fallen over with the drought. On the positive side weed killing has been easy as the cool dry wind just shrivels up any weeds after some hoeing. It has also been a very cool month, so again the show of tulips and daffodils have lasted a long time. Mixing red and purple tulips into my drift of yellow Doronicums has been a great success as timing of both plants was perfect. Early dwarf tulips have been planted in my rose bed giving a terrific show of solid, but mixed colour, and as the roses are taller than the tulips they are all happy together.
Broad beans and onions ready for planting
Garden shrubs started flowering in early March with my Rhododendron praecox, then out came the Forsythia, Magnolias, Kerria, Berberis darwinii and Camellias with Donation a star performer. My red Camellia Adolphe Audusson has suffered with the drought and many of the top branches are dying off. Must keep that hose busy.  It seems to be a great spring for flowering trees, especially cherry blossom, but apples, pears and plums are also all in full flower.
Berberis darwinii
My new peach tree Avalon Pride which is sold as peach leaf curl resistant has a fair bit of this disease, and with a few very small insignificant flowers opening in late April, I reckon I will be back to the supermarket for my fresh peaches this summer.
Saskatoon bushes suffered from the mild winter, as these plants like a severe winter chill to ripen up the wood and produce a flower crop. They are very late this year and not covered in blossom as in previous years. However my fig tree did enjoy the mild winter and most of last years immature figs have survived and should help to produce an early crop.
Weird weather is playing havoc with my strawberries. They are all beginning to flower but the earliest one out was my perpetual Albion which is usually my autumn strawberry. Last spring I
Apple Red Falstaff flowers
bought in some of the new giant strawberry Colossus, but it never gave me a single berry. This year it is the end of April and still there is no sign of any flowers, but plenty of growth.
Maybe I have to be very patient before I can sample these colossal berries.
On the vegetable plot planting is well ahead with broad beans and onions, and leeks are quite sturdy. Potatoes are now pushing through the ground, but as frost is always a danger the rows need to be well earthed up. Early peas are also growing so they also get earthed up and soon they will need support and protection from pigeons.
Good potential grape crop
I use the pruning’s from my stooled willow shrubs for support and tie in a couple of rows of black thread which seems to keep the pigeons at bay.
Sowing continues with maincrop peas, salads, carrots and turnip. The carrots will have some fleece cover to keep out the carrot fly.
The greenhouse is getting a bit quieter as plants are moved outdoors for hardening off, but I keep some space available in case of an overnight frost, when plants can be returned for protection.
Chrysanthemums are fairly hardy so can remain outdoors but my dahlias are not so hardy, so they remain fairly mobile. Peppers and tomatoes have both been potted up to put on some growth before planting in permanent positions.
Camellia Donation with birch tree
The grape crop is giving signs of great potential as most spurs are laden with up to three bunches of grapes per shoot, so some thinning will be necessary to maintain a good berry size.

Wee jobs to do this week

As weather begins to warm up garden pests become more active. Slugs and snails can devastate young tender seedlings so watch out for them and take action or put down some pellets. Greenfly are active on new shoots of roses and pansies so if they become a problem use an appropriate insecticide. They can also be a problem on the tips of young growth on blackcurrants and gooseberries. Also watch out for sawfly maggots on gooseberries.


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