Tuesday, 19 May 2020


                                                 EARLY SUMMER FLOWERS

In the world of gardening no two years are ever the same. Plant growth and flowering are all
affected by weather from late frosts to dry years, wet years, severe cold and in Scotland we
Anna watering the pansies
occasionally get a heatwave. After the wet year of 2019 it has been quite a surprise to get a very dry and sunny April. The normal April showers reluctantly made a brief appearance on the last day then it was back to dry warm weather which for us gardeners was a gift, though a return to winter is threatened about the time this goes to print. In the meantime the hoe has been out to sort out any weeds, the hose has been in use to give the plants a drink and flowers have been having a great time.
Apple Fiesta
I had hoped to be writing about the flowers that brighten up the garden once the tulips display is at an end, but they just seem to keep on flowering. The early summer has helped plants to grow strong and I am kept very busy potting up plants, planting out and seed sowing. You would think that with the spare time available with lockdown, as trips to shops are rare, trips to pubs a distant memory, I canna even get oot for a haircut, so I should have plenty time for gardening. Maybe it is the extra time watering both around my garden as well as my allotment that keeps me busy. Another affect of lockdown is I no longer have my art classes, and yet as an artist the garden is taking up all my time, so it is months since I had a paintbrush in my hand. However as a trained gardener,
spending every day doing a bit of gardening is no great hardship, and I get my daily exercise amongst some beautiful flowering plants.
Doronicum Little Leo
Although the tulips are still very much part of the show, especially the Triumphs and Darwin
Hybrids the azaleas and rhododendrons are now taking over as the main show stoppers.
Mixed Azaleas
Rhododendron Elizabeth has always been a favourite and is now a bright splash of crimson. Other dwarf Japanese azaleas are also seeking attention, as well as Pieris Forest Flame with its bright red young shoots. Down at ground level the deep pink Phlox subulata and the golden Doronicum Little Leo are absolute crackers. Another great yellow plant at ground level is the Euphorbia polychroma. I first saw this in the display garden at Glendoick Garden Centre then had to get a plant. I use a lot of pansies to add to the spring display of tulips, but my hanging baskets are all pansies which seem to want to continue to
Rhododendron Elizabeth
flower well into summer. However by June I will be hanging up my summer hanging baskets, so I will carefully remove the pansies and find a quiet border to let them continue to flower. Late spring and early summer sees the peonys and Oriental poppies coming alive with bright red and crimson huge flowers, making a bold statement, but my Clematis montana rubens is also trying to steal the show. It just will not behave. It has established its own space then clambered up, over and through my climbing rose Morning Jewel as well as a tall Camellia Adolphe Audusson.
Phlox subulata
It is brilliant in full flower, but my Camellia does need rescuing so the loppers are coming out after it finishes flowering. Another shrub in full flower just now is the fruiting saskatoon bush.
We grow apples, pears, plums and cherries for their fruit but at this time of year when they are in full bloom they are fantastic to see. There appears to be more flowers than in other years, except for my biennial bearing Apple Fiesta, which has a few but nothing like Falstaff, Red Devil, Discovery and the best cooker Bramley. Other cherries grown for their flowers like Prunus Kanzan, Shirotae and the upright Amanogawa are hard to beat.

Wee jobs to do this week
Start summer pruning grapes

Indoor grapes have made an early start due to recent sunny weather. Now is the time to begin the summer pruning. Once you can see which young shoots have a grape bunch and which have none, remove the latter or at least pinch the shoot back to a couple of leaves as they help to feed the vine until there is plenty of leaves. Pinch off the end of shoots with grapes leaving two leaves after the bunch. Later on new sideshoots will grow and these should be pinched after one leaf. Outdoor vines will be a few weeks later, but the pruning is the same.


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