A single or a double?

Which flower do you prefer of the two black poppies? They are self seeded offspring from a row of Papaver paeoniflorum ‘Black Peony’ planted in amongst the vegetables a few years ago. As much as I love the full double flowers they are no use for wildlife that can not reach the pollen within so to be bee friendly choose the single. However a mixture seems to satisfy all needs with no compromise needed.

Apart from harvesting, cooking or freezing. Picking flowers such as Dahlia and Sweet Peas to ensure continuous flowering, there is still pruning to be done in the garden. Espailier fruit trees can be attended too now, cutting back all the new growth shooting up along the stems. Just leave the ends, of your horizontally trained branches, unless you have achieved your maximum size.

Climbing and rambling roses can now be dealt with fairly brutally ready for next years show. It is also the time we have to suffer the little gap in roses as the first flushes are over but dead head well, taking the entire flower spike off to just above a leaf joint. Give them a water and a feed, either with the pelleted rose food or tomorite and mulch if they are particularly dry. They will soon reward you with a second flush of flowers.

When did it get so late in the year the Hydrangeas are flowering!!!

Just a quick note about dead heading Dahlia, When you take off dying flowers it is easy to see which ones are finished and which ones haven’t started. Once they are just left with the sepals, telling a new flower to come from and old finished flower can be tricky. So, a quick helpful hint. The buds yet to open are round, the buds that have finished are pointed. I know this helps me not chop off the wrong ones, so I hope it helps you.

Were you too busy watching all the sport and then celebrating on Sunday to remember to water the garden? Pots and hanging baskets that dry out too much can be very difficult to rehydrate. They need a soaking in a reservoir of water generally to revive them. Another helpful hint, no time to water, drop some ice cubes on your hanging baskets. Much easier than standing there with the hose and because they slowly melt more of the water is absorbed by the compost. So less waste too.

Raspberries, as you pick your plunder it seems many people cut down the pesky shoots with no fruit on them so they can reach the lovely ripe fruit. Please don’t do this as these are the stems which will provide your puddings next year! What you should be doing is, trying in to the wires, all the new stems and when you have finished harvesting raspberries you cut the stems that have borne fruit this year, all the way down to the ground to make some room for all of those new shoots. Once all clear and neat you can cut the new shoots down as far as the top wire of your support system. Next helpful hint, Not sure which stems to cut down, you can usually see the remains of the fruiting spurs as a double check but Usually the old stems are brown and the new stems are green.

Himalayan balsam, sad times that I can report the invasion of this interloper on the very top of the hill I live on, A mile or so from the river nowhere near a wood or any damp land. It is a very small and stilted specimen, I admit, but it is still sad to see how far it has spread. If you come across it whilst you are walking for the next month you can just pull it up and leave it to rot down without a problem. By the time we get to August it will have formed seeds and just pulling it and leaving it will not stop the spread. So pull it up now if you are passing.

No time off for my gardening brain. Out for a wander the other day, I am always nosing into any garden space I can see for new ideas, planting combinations or just to appreciate a job well done. In one garden though, after admiring the Catananche I really had to stop myself leaning over the wall and weeding!

Anyway, That’s it from me, it is nice to be back. I hope you are being kept busy, Happy days in the Garden x