Thursday, August 03, 2006

Fruit, of a sort

It felt like a crime but had to pinch out the olives that were developing on the two plants. Just didn’t think that they were ready to put all that energy into fruiting. Would rather they grew some more, been inspired by the trees present in the show gardens at Hampton Court. You can’t eat the olives in any case until they have been cured. That’s a little project for another year (or two or three)…

Also removed the second batch of budding figs. Again, I’d rather have the tree mature a bit more than invest energy and resources into developing fruit. For some reason the tree hasn’t grown as much as previous years, although it has been watered and feed regularly.

And for the first time ever (drum roll please) I’ve got a quince ripening on the bush. This is more out of curiosity than anything else – never grown one before. It’s only tiny and at the moment resembles a gooseberry rather than a yellow pear.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

RHS time

Seems like ages ago now although it was only at the beginning of last month when we journeyed to the suburbs in west London and joined the crowds heading towards the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show. It’s a lovely setting for the show as we meandered through the palace gardens in search of entrance. With a lot more space available the crowds weren’t as intense as Chelsea – which was a relief! The show gardens were scattered throughout the grounds and there were plenty of stalls offering different wares.

There wasn’t a particular garden provoking that ‘wow’ reaction although in one they had decided to feature olive trees. And the specimens that they found were impressive: wizened, gnarled, twisted and so so old with thick wide trunks and curvy short branches.

It was all relatively informal and we took a leisurely approach enjoying a few refreshment stops en route – got to savour my first Pimms for the year (very yummy!) under a brightening sky. Wasn’t sure if an afternoon was enough to see all the exhibitors and we didn’t have time to head into many of the tents. Guess its Tatton Park next year.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Last year Deb told me about how she grew a lemon tree from seed as a kid with her mom. Later that year Nath gave it a go and was pretty successful with three plants. So took Nath’s advice earlier this summer and sowed a few lemon pips in hope that they might germinate. Only four weeks later and there were three pale green tips poking through the compost resulting in two seedlings (lost one along the way). The high temperatures must have helped with the whole process and hopefully given them a good start. Since it’s been so warm I’ve started keeping them outside – help them prepare for the winter ahead in my cold house! Not sure that they will fruit because, as Al pointed out, the fruit might have been irradiated, ah well, time will tell.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Ripe for the picking

Planted out Al’s raspberry canes over a month ago, much later than when they should have gone in the ground. This probably explains why they haven’t grown much but the fruit has developed and tastes amazing… sweet yet tart, and delicious with some yogurt, banana and cashew nuts. Might have a few more berries to enjoy over the weekend and then it’ll be a years wait for some home grown fruit. Just a little concerned about the yellow/orange freckles that have appeared. Got a sneaking suspicion that it might be rust. Going to cut them back as recommended, and thin out the canes which didn’t take and now resemble brown shriveled twigs. This will hopefully improve aeration round the plants and reduce any rust. Any resulting succulent red packages of fruity goodness are definitely worth the effort!

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Got back from Cork a few weeks ago and noticed that there tiny mushrooms (or toadstools) in between the Mesembryanthemum – Livingstone Daisies – planted in the pots. Initially the mushrooms/toadstools – what is the difference? – were present in one pot but now they have appeared in another also with Mesembryanthemum.

All the daisies were potted out in containers and covered with gravel (to retain precious moisture). Was wondering whether the spores were in the compost used, gravel or from the water? The water level in the butt is dwindling to the point where is disappeared over the weekend. Was, therefore, a happy gardener on Monday when the heavens opened! Any how, thought this might be a good point to clean out the butt and took a peek inside (first time in a year – oops). In about 1cm of water there was plenty of sediment which could contain spores. Got a job to do over the weekend, there is a water butt to clean.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Wrong again

So much for those brown fingers! Okay Arctic Queen and her snow-white, semi-double flowers has gone to join the giant flower-patch-in-the-sky, but the pink clematis, inherited with the garden, is flowering away. And the passion flower has started to bloom, have one flower so far but there are signs suggesting more is on the way! It’s really taken to the spot and is scrambling up the garage wall, weaving between the jasmine and apple tree. Although don’t want to encourage it in that particular direction otherwise it will smother the tree which is what Burt’s honeysuckle is trying to do!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Floppy poppy

They were magnificent upright stems until the rains a few weeks back but that hasn’t diminished their elegance whilst flowering. The pale pink petals have lasted a lot longer than last year, and it’s been the longest display so far. The poppy was a gift from Nilani as she was dividing her plants. And five years on it has really taken to the garden. Going to divide it later in the year and think I should be able to get three or four plants – one has obviously been promised to Dee.

Visited Wakefield Place yesterday, which was beautiful. After a walk round the gardens we ventured into the walled garden, it was a delight – a proper cottage garden. They had two varieties, Patties Plum and Royal Wedding. The first was a gorgeous honey edged plum colour and the second was an ivory white. Going to see if I can find one of each, since poppies seem immune to S&S and thrive in Our Patch of Green! Purple, pink and white crepe-paper like flowers to start the summer – can’t wait!