The garden is at its best this time of year with just about all of the late summer flowers jostling for their space in the borders. The yellows and oranges are really singing out and as always the borders are filled with bees, butterflies and hoverflies. Not one for tempting fate, but this year has been the best summer we have had for a while, and despite being on the dry side the plants have just about hung in there. A few weeks ago I did have to cut back the Knautia as it was suffering quite badly from mildew, but overall the plants are surviving quite well, I put this down to not molly codling them. After all as I work full time I don’t have the time to pander to the gardens needs. I try to plant any new additions to the garden in spring once the soil temperature is rising but the air temperature is still cool enough to give the plants chance to get their roots down. Then they only get watered for the first few weeks. The best bet is to give them a soaking say once a week rather than a sprinkling of water every day. That way you encourage them to get their roots down deep otherwise they will stay near the surface and this will not be beneficial in the long term as in a summer such as this the plants would rely on a regular water source to survive. I prefer to grow my plants hard and spend my time enjoying the garden and deadheading a plant or two. Speaking of which, the lavender has had a clip over recently to remove all the spent flowering stems. You need to be careful with lavender not to cut back too far as new growth will not grow from older wood.
Having spent the bank holiday away from home on our return there were one or two jobs that needed doing in the kitchen garden. The onions have now finished and these have been dug up and left on the greenhouse staging to dry. I did initially have them drying in the sun, but as a dark cloud passed overhead I thought better of it. The last of the turnips were harvested as were some beetroot, courgettes, spring onions and runner beans. The celeriac looks like an improvement on previous attempts of growing as they are showing signs of the roots swelling, but not much, only time will tell whether we will have more success this year. A further handful of peas resulted from leaving the plants standing longer than usual, these have now been cut down and composted. They had been standing there for so long that the tiny nitrogen fixing nodules on the roots had already broken down into the soil. In the greenhouse the tomatoes are steady away with all plants bearing fruit, albeit still green. Just to one side of the greenhouse are the autumn raspberries and when these were first put in I was under the impression that these only ever grew to four feet and needed little support. Ours must grow six feet and are a little rebellious. After picking the first ripened fruits I was covered in scratches along the length of my arms. I have to control them every year and this year is no exception. I have put two canes in place at either end with a further cane horizontal half way up the overall height. This appears to have curtailed their need to sprawl across the pathway so hopefully I can get to the fruit as they ripen without all of the scratches.