Opening the Garden in a Ferocious Season

This is just a quick heads-up to remind everyone that we’re opening our garden for the National Gardens Scheme, as usual, on the weekend of September 15th-16th, both days from 11.00 AM till 5.00 PM. Abundant tea and home-made cakes. ‘But will there be any plants to see?’, I hear gardeners across Britain ask, as they survey their parched soils and cracked lawns? And the answer, much to my surprise, is a delighted YES!!! In fact some plants, asters and roses in particular, are looking better than ever. It’s true that many plants have suffered, and those we planted for the first time in the spring have mostly perished – burnt up by the relentless heat of June, July and early August. But as I said, those that have survived are now prospering and the wisteria which now completely covers the pergola, or poop deck, where we serve our home-made teas (I can’t plug them enough!!) is even having a good second flowering. It’s sheer hell when you have to remove wisteria petals from your fragrant cup of tea or from the soft butter icing that tops a slice of delectable carrot cake. Ah, the torment of being English in summertime (and yes, pedants, I’m aware that technically speaking it’s now early autumn…).

The recent wet weather has led to a spate of weeds, so Maisie and I have been spending hours on our knees weeding the various beds and borders. I find a small hand-held hoe a very useful tool, provided I keep the edge good and sharp. A week ago I lifted the last of the maincrop potatoes (Cara) and I was delighted to see that slug-damage wasn’t too bad. I don’t like using slug pellets, as they kill the hedgehogs that feed on the slugs, but some sheep-wool organic baits seem to work very well indeed. And of course, as it has been so very hot our tomatoes have thrived, with a record crop of the Italian pear-shaped cooking variety San Marzano and the large Marmande, which you can eat, cook with or cut into salads. Some of our Marmandes this year are the size of small dogs.

The newly pruned tomatoes, with San Marzano (left) and Marmande (right). I’ll burn the leaves etc. when they’ve dried in the sun. Doing that helps cut down on the spread of fungal blight.

The newly pruned tomatoes, with San Marzano (left) and Marmande (right). I’ll burn the leaves etc. when they’ve dried in the sun. Doing that helps cut down on the spread of fungal blight.

Right now I’m spending every waking hour pruning the espalier apples that line the path through the vegetable garden. It’s hard work, not made any easier by the clouds of wasps that are feeding on the rotten fruit lying on the ground. So far, touch wood, I haven’t been stung.

I’ll do another blog post shortly, but do try to come. I promise you’ll have a great visit – providing, that is, you have a cup of tea (£1) and a slice of cake (£1.50). Cheap at twice the price – and all for charity!!

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Gardening and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.