Every now and then a song gets stuck in my head and this week it is Kids in America by Kim Wilde. Kim’s a bit of gardener too btw, so it seems very appropriate. If you don’t know the song I recommend you look at Kim’s performance of it on the train!
So as Kim says ‘there’s a new wave coming, I warn you’ and this week I am feeling more positive about the garden. It actually rained last night for about 30 minutes and although there may be a few pests and diseases around the garden is shaping up for mid and late summer. And here are the highlights:
My first uplifting delight was spotting a flower on the Tithonias. They were grown from seed and the packet indicates a final height of eight feet. I’d say they are about four feet now and are full of promise. They should see me through into autumn.
Somewhere along the way last year I picked up a recommendation for the Penstemon Sour Grapes and I would love to say thank you to whoever it was that put this plant onto my wish list. I do thank you but I can’t remember who it was! I planted it in amongst the Agastache Black Adder featured last week and, if I may say so, I think it works very well.
I am also bowled over, as I am every year, by the evergreen agapanthus that I grow in containers. They did look a sorry sight at the end of winter. But those brown leaves were removed, a granular fertiliser added to the pots and now patience has been rewarded. They are truly a wow in the garden for the second half of summer.
The second half of the summer is also the time when the veg patch starts producing. Of course my lack of watering and the absence of rain has had an impact. My courgettes are tiny – hard to believe I know. The new potatoes, first batch lifted this week, were also on the small side. But they were truly delicious as was the first outdoor cucumber. In the greenhouse the melons and tomatoes are rather like this Six – long and rambling!
Last year the melon I grew suffered from red spider mite, thank you to Fred, a French gardener for diagnosing this for me, and only one flower made it into a fruit. This year I have been overwhelmed. I tried to follow the RHS advice: ‘When fruit are gooseberry size, select the best four on each stem and remove all other flowers, fruit and leaves. Stop the side shoots two or three leaves beyond these fruits, pinch out the main growing tips and remove new growths as they appear.’ But a week away from the greenhouse and I cannot tell a side shoot from a main growing tip and who knows which is new growth! I am just cutting back to points where fruit has formed. The variety is Pepito F1. So far no mites!
The whole greenhouse experience is new to me. Last year I grew a few cherry tomatoes under the glass and they were quite well behaved. This year the three varieties I chose, Alicante, Golden Crown and Marmande, have gone crazy. Side shoots doubling in size by the day, leaf growth in abundance and finally a few tomatoes! It doesn’t look like the marmande is producing well but we shall see. These are alicante, they are not ready for picking yet but not long now.
I thoroughly recommend Thomas Stone’s blogs in general and especially anything he posts on roses such as this one on moss roses. I must extend my rose collection but for the moment mine are all repeat flowering english roses. They do keep coming. I gave them all a rose feed a few weeks ago, watered it in and the flowers are coming through once more. This is Natasha Richardson. I’ve shown it before and I include it again because it I was pleased that it too is a part of the new wave.
I always recommend this meme and the host The Propagator as a great way to see what is going on in gardens around the world. The people who post under #SixOnSaturday are all great sharers of their the knowledge and experience and I want to thank everyone for helping me grow my own knowledge. Last week I posted a picture of my under the weather apple tree. I looks like it has fireblight and I thank Tony Tomeo for sharing his knowledge. Loving you all!!