Monday, 31 December 2018

REVIEW OF THE YEAR


REVIEW OF THE YEAR                      

City Road Allotments Doors Open Day
rose Oshima
The past year has been so diverse for weather and its affects on garden plants that it’s hard to know where to begin. It has certainly not been a normal year, and plants have been just as bewildered as the gardeners. It started off at the beginning of the year as a normal mild winter with my snowdrops beginning to flower the previous year in December.  Oddly enough outdoor Fuchsia Mrs Popple did not like the mild winter and died back to ground level, but recovered later. I guess she knew what was ahead. As winter was relatively dry with little snow or frost, winter cultivations were well ahead of schedule. Then just as we were beginning to enjoy it, the weather turned colder and spring never really arrived. Cold biting winds continued for a few months delaying flowering of spring blossom on trees, fruit bushes, spring bulbs and flowers. The season slowed down and we were running three weeks late. On the apple, pear, plum and peach trees the flowers were in abundance but opened late so there were plenty bees around for pollination. However the trees could not support such huge crops so when the June drop came in June (not the usual July) it was severe and a lot of crop fell off.
Gold certificate for Anna's garden
Prior to this, the Beast from the East arrived in UK at the end of February and lasted a few weeks. Even Dundee got a bit of snow. However summer arrived at Easter and lasted a whole day, but then the snow returned on Easter Monday. A pattern emerged of decent weather followed by rain and gales for a few weeks, but if you watched the weather forecasts you could crack on with sowing and planting then stand back as the rain arrived to water the plants in. The spring flowers lasted forever as the climate was not too hot and there was plenty moisture. Tulips made a dazzling display.
Grape Brant
Summer returned in May and June with a vengeance trying to make up those three lost weeks. My climbing roses were a mass of colour and outdoor grape vines hanging heavy with potential crop then the gales arrived in June shredding leaves off fruit bushes, shrivelling up crops, flattening rows of raspberries, blowing away my polythene tunnels and breaking flowering shoots on my climbing roses. However the summer returned again, the rain disappeared and we ended up in the tropics for ages. Temperatures got so high that my sun lounger found a permanent spot in the shade. Plants recovered and strong growth resumed as well as flowering. Roses had a great year as did geraniums. On the allotment all crops were in abundance. Cabbage, cauliflowers, courgettes, pumpkins were never better. Sweet corn grew very tall and I harvested numerous large sweet cobs. Salads had a great year as did potatoes as the hot dry weather kept blight at bay, but the rows needed
Early strawberries
constant watering. Only crop to suffer was onions as they are prone to white rot with artificial watering, but would suffer in the heat wave if they got left out. They got harvested before the September gales arrived and had another go at flattening out the garden, and bringing down the apple crops.
Greenhouse crops were protected from the weather but needed constant ventilation to eliminate condensation and keep temperatures down. Tomatoes were all brilliant except Marmande which gave a very poor crop. The yellow cherry Sungold and Red Cherry were brilliant. Grape crops Siegerrebe and Solaris gave heavy crops which both ripened in August. Figs were another success as the tropical summer suited them perfectly, though oddly enough I got a better crop last year when we got a rotten summer. That I cannot explain. Weather was in our favour for our two
A selection of tomatoes
allotment events at our Open Day in August as well as the Doors Open Day in September. Our City Road allotments won an award for best site in Dundee and I got top spot for best allotment in Dundee and not wanting to be left out, Anna got a Gold Certificate for her garden in the competition run by Dundee City Council. I think the best memory of 2018 will be that tropical summer of wall to wall summer with no rain for months, and enjoying the garden flowers from a shady spot on the patio.

Best wishes for 2019 from John and Anna
 Wee jobs to do this week
As this is the last week of the year it must be time to relax, wind down, and stop trying to think up another ten minute wee job needing done, which you know will take a good couple of hours. Best stay indoors and open up that Christmas gift of a quality malt whisky. Cheers from John and Anna.
END

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