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Dear friends and fellow gardeners,
How is your garden or allotment looking this week? Are you enjoying the fruits of your labours and what are you harvesting now? I know some of you are picking your flowers, fruit and veg. Soft fruit is fantastic at the moment and some of my fellow allotmenteers are harvesting all sorts of soft fruit and vegetables. At home, we should be making raspberry jam and I must dig out some jam jars. Unfortunately, my bird proofing of the strawberry bed didn’t work at all, as I found a squirrel in it. I had wondered what was eating them and we should have had loads this year; strawberries, not squirrels. Flowers are abundant and prolific and benefitting from cutting and I am indulging in a little bit of succession planting.
The one thing I am slack on is feeding and at this time of year it is important as the garden can run out of steam. It does need a little help to keep it looking luscious and healthy and it can really make a difference. I love the idea of a Friday feeding session and have a supply of worm juice from the wormery. I also use seaweed, blood fish and bone, 6X, nettle tea, whatever I can get my hands on really. I’m still checking under the pots in the greenhouse and areas around the garden for slugs and snails as they are still munching their way through parts of it all. The ducks on the canal love them. I spotted some aphids on the lupins yesterday so need to chop them down and feed them. Lupin aphids are soapy grey looking and huge. When you squish them, they pop. The spoils will go onto a hot compost bin. Roses are being dead-headed prior to a feed as I would love a second flush. Sweet peas in the Rhino are getting a regular feed and working really hard. Sweet peas outside are looking strong and starting to flower so will get fed in due course to keep them strong.
The tomatoes in the Rhino are starting to set and feeding will commence. The chillies and aubergines have a little way to go but I am spotting some flowers on them.
But, for the time being, let's talk about succession. This is exercising me this year as I realise that when those autumn sown annuals of mine finish flowering, I have spaces to refill. When plants are removed the area gets weeded, topped up with some mulch or compost, and fed in readiness for the next batch. At the moment I do have spring sown pots of helichrysum looking for a space in the garden and I am in the process of using those wherever I can. Nasturtiums are a great filler too. We still have up to four months in the garden and these will flower well into October. If you are looking for some extra pizzazz why not pop along to your local garden centre where they will be able to provide you with some summer delights to choose from. I’m sure you could squeeze in a couple of potted dahlias.
All of this makes me realise how busy we are in the garden, and how hard it works for us. So, don’t forget to stop, and sit, and look at the results of your hard work. Then before you do anything further, take your secateurs and cut yourself 20 or 30 flower stems to take inside to fill a vase.
Happy gardening xxx
July bouquet with larkspur, bergamot, gypsophila, daucus, and lavender
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