Monday, 18 June 2018

THE SUMMER HAS ARRIVED


THE SUMMER HAS ARRIVED

Mixed azaleas
The summer has definitely arrived. All the signs are in place. The summer flowers are out, geraniums looking brilliant, and ice-cream is being served on the patio. The sun loungers are in place but we sit in the shade as it is too hot in the sun. Thunderstorms are raging all over UK, but somehow Dundee misses out. The garden hose has been in constant use as we have seen no rain for at least three weeks, but as long as the garden gets plenty of water from the hose plants are thriving. During the cold spring period plants were falling about three weeks behind normal, but now they seem to be catching up. However the last two years I picked my first strawberries towards the end of May, but this year it will be mid June before I get a picking as the first few are only turning colour now. I grow strawberries to cover the whole summer to autumn period with early mid season, late and autumn fruiting perpetuals, but the unusually weird weather has them all at the same stage and ready
Delosperma nubigenum
to crop together. Global warming may have arrived up in Dundee.
One shaw of first early potato Casablanca got dug up to see how size is progressing. It is a salad potato so we do not expect big tubers. Just as well as we never got big tubers seems I may be a wee bit premature. They will need another week to gain size. They are a week

behind last year’s crop.
Rose Margaret merril
My first roses are now flowering, with white scented Margaret Merril first to bloom followed by yellow Arthur Bell. Climbing Dublin Bay and Gertrude Jekyll have also got a few flowers on the bushes. They are all responding to this unusually warm period of summer weather, lasting well over three weeks, which for us in Scotland is beyond our wildest dreams as we all expect summer weather to last about three days before rain returns. Some climate change at last!!!
In the flower borders flag iris, English iris and oriental poppies are all in full bloom and in the drier top of walls position my ground hugging yellow succulent Delosperma nubigenum and garden pinks have all started to flower.
Oriental poppies
Evergreen Japanese azaleas and deciduous azaleas are still flowering and the Cistus purpureus and Ceanothus are all in bloom so the garden has been a riot of colour for over three months. The warm dry weather lasting so long has been great for encouraging the spring bulbs to die down so the withered leaves of tulips, daffodils, crocus and grape hyacinths can be removed carefully so the bulbs stay in the ground. These areas can now be sown with annual flowers, such as Livingston daisies, Godetia, Candytuft, Cornflower and Love in a Mist which will hopefully give us some flowers from summer onwards. The bulbs underneath will be perfectly happy as they are dormant.
Geraniums
Up on the allotment the first strawberries are colouring up so it was necessary to lay straw up the rows and cover them with nets to keep out the birds.
Lettuce Lollo Rossa, Radish and Spring Onion sown earlier in the greenhouse and planted out against a warm south facing corrugated fence have been ready for picking since mid April.
Some seed germination has been abysmal. I only got one plant from a whole packet of lettuce Webs Wonderful, none from a packet of polyanthus, or the Red Veined Sheep Sorrel, eight from one packet of spring onions, yet my parsnips (normally a bit erratic to germinate) all germinated.
Gooseberry bushes were just laden with berries, but the plants did a big June drop though still leaving me with a great crop.

Wee jobs to do this week

Grape spur
Grape vines have been enjoying the recent warm dry weather and making a lot of spring growth. Now is a great time to start the summer pruning. Any growths that do not have a bunch of grapes
showing should be removed unless they have plenty of room in which case cut back to a couple of leaves as this spur may fruit next year. Cut back all fruiting shoots to two leaves after the grape bunch, and once side shoots grow cut these back to one leaf. Towards the end of summer start removing more side shoots to allow sunshine onto the developing grapes to help to ripen them up. Any shoot showing two or more bunches should have them reduced to one bunch per shoot.

END



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