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Garden catch-up

It hasn’t been a great year for fruit and veg, with a few exceptions. No blackcurrants at all and no apricots (in fact the apricot is ‘stressed’ and losing its leaves, but the RHS helpline said it could just have been the wet, cold spring that caused this.)

The courgettes were really hardly to get going; having sown about twenty seeds, half a dozen made it to the size when I would normally plant them out. I planted them out two at a time, and they all failed – wilted, eaten by slugs, just not taken. Eventually I managed to get two plants to maturity – one Defender and one Tondo. They’ve both given us a handful of courgettes, although they prefer size over quantity. There was just one on courgett each plant in the last week, and the grew to super-size before I noticed! Here they are, with a cherry tomato for scale.

BIG courgettes!

Speaking of tomatoes, they’ve been abundant. There are nine plants giving us fruit at the moment, three varieties – Lizzano, Losetto and Tutti Frutti. I can’t tell the first two apart, sadly, as the name sticks I used got washed clean in the rain. But they’re all lovely. All cherry tomatoes, but Tutti Frutti are a little larger than the others and more oval-shaped. With so many coming at once, this week I made a jar of Tomato and Chilli Sauce and a jar of Sun Dried Tomatoes (oven-dried actually!)

toms being prepared for roasting

The French beans have been slow this year, and attacked badly by snails. But we got three plants to maturity, one called Cosse Violette, a purple bean which we’re grown before and a yellow variety called Sunshine. Both have been very tasty. We’ve taken to steaming a batch at a time, dressing them with olive oil and storing them in the fridge to eat cold or at room temperature. Very more-ish!

Salad has been tricky this year. I got a box growing eventually but the rocket bolted very quickly and the mixed leaves that have been successful in the past have been slow and slightly bitter. I’ve managed a few pots of basil and coriander, and there are two chilli plants stil alive which I don’t have high hopes for, but they are now in blossom so who knows.

As regards the flowers, this is the first year we have spent almost nothing on bedding plants. We’ve now got a stock of perennials, including some in pots that I didn’t even realise were perennial, such as Coreopsis. But we did buy a box of 6 purple Petunia plugs and planted them in the big shallow bowl that used to be in the centre of the lawn. I also put two pelagoniums in there, but they got rather swamped by the petunias! Not complaining though!

Here was the pot, early June:

petunias in a pot, just planted

And two months later:

petunia display

It’s also been a good year for the roses. Here’s St Swithun in its first flowering in early June:

St Swithun rosa

Here’s Love Knot which we planted last year on an obelisk:

Rosa Love Knot

And the rambler that comes over from next door, name uknown!

rambling rose

I have to also mention the Cotinus which Nick pruned pretty heavily last year because it was lovely, but just too dominant. All through early spring we kept examining it for buds, until sudden it was covered in them. To think he was worried he’d killed it!

Here is was in early April, a stick-plant:

Cotinus, april 23

Then by June:

Cotinus, June 23

And a month later, as huge as it ever was!

Cotinus, july 23





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