Showing posts from June, 2020

Loving my lawn

It's currently a real pleasure to walk on my lawn, not just because of the delicious feel of the cool grass on my toes, but also for this year's visual delights. There's an explosion of colour, and a new flower for my lawn compared to those I found for last year's #nomowmay survey  in the form of the pictured purple common self-heal . I didn't know much about this plant before it appeared in my garden, but having looked it up, it's an interesting addition. Its common name alludes to its use in herbal medicine, particularly to treat sore throats and halitosis and it's used regularly in Chinese medicine. It's also edible, so I have another potential salad ingredient at my feet in the shape of its stems and leaves. The bees love it too and it turns out it's an important plant for them as Jean Vernon told me on Twitter: " really helps as there is a huge June gap in terms of food plants for pollinators. So good you are seeing more bees."  Y

June Drop

After a warm, dry spring and almost a hundred percent pollination I guess it was almost inevitable June's apple cull would be brutal. This 'June Drop' is nature's way of ensuring the tree can support its crop of apples. Many of the fruiting spurs have five or more apples - eight in quite a few instances - which isn't sustainable. As you can see in the photo above there simply isn't enough room for all of the apples to grow to maturity, so some of them must go. Quite often there are some slow developers like the one you can just see in the middle and these are usually amongst the first to drop, followed by any damaged and deformed fruit. I've already seen some early signs codling moth have come a-calling judging by some of the frass they've left behind. There are some signs of bird damage too: two months of dry weather has left the ground rather hard and I suspect there's been slim pickings for feeding a growing family, so the birds have turned their

Garden Bloggers' Blooms Day: Philadelphus 'Virginal'

There's the most gorgeous scent chez VP Gardens for this month's Blooms Day because you've arrived here at the peak time for my mock orange, Philadelphus 'Virginal' . Most of the year she lurks at the back of the border because without flowers she's easy to overlook, but at this time of the year the flowers and scent are simply knockout. We've had a little bit of rain the past few days (welcome after 2 months of near drought) and the ensuing humidity has served to deepen the rich, citrusy scent even more. The buds are attractive too and soon the petals will fall from those blooms already open to spread themselves like confetti beneath the nearby apple tree. This is a fully hardy, easycare deciduous shrub suitable for the back of the border. It doesn't mind lime and clay, so it's ideal for the conditions here in Wiltshire. It's in a relatively shaded part of my garden, though it will stand well in sunshine too. I've neglected i

Tasting Tomatoes

This must be the gardening equivalent of receiving a box of chocolates; an exciting tasting box of tomatoes courtesy of Burpee Europe , who've given me a sneak peek of their latest varieties, two of which have blight resistance in their breeding. All varieties are F1, which means fresh seed will be required each season. From left to right we have: 'Nagina', a blight resistant medium plum tomato 'Honeycomb', an orange cherry tomato bred in Yorkshire 'Cocktail Crush', a blight resistant medium salad tomato 'Veranda Red', a dwarf tomato suitable for growing in small containers or hanging baskets All varieties are suitable for growing outdoors here in the south-west, though northern based gardeners may fare better if they're grown in a greenhouse. I'm delighted to have the possibility of more blight resistant, outdoor varieties to try as I only have a sunny patio on which to grow my tomato fix - and we eat a lot of them! Our abs