Catching up…or at least trying to!

The past six weeks have been very busy, both in the garden and beyond.  My wife (AKA Florist in the Forest) has had a number of weddings to do for which I have been the delivery boy; we’ve also had a stall at the Penshurst Farmers Market (where we will be again tomorrow morning if you happen to live nearby) selling and promoting my wife’s floristry business and also selling a selection of plants including Verbena bonariensis, scented Pelargoniums, Echinacea, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, and Chocolate Cosmos to name but a few.

Consequently the garden has been abandoned to the gods who have variously battered it with torrential downpours, blown it all over the place with ferocious winds, or scorched and baked it with blistering sun.  Despite this, things are not looking to bad and there is plenty in bloom.  My particular favourite at the moment is Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’:

Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'

Most of the roses are also enjoying a vigorous second flush of flowering, ‘Iceberg’ adding  crisp, clean quality to the garden and ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ a wonderfully rich fragrance:

Rosa 'A Whiter Shade of Pale'

Rosa 'Iceberg'

Not all the roses are fairing so well, however, and this is entirely my fault as this year I have neglected the pot roses and it is really showing:

Signs of neglect

Last year they were fed and watered on a weekly basis but this year I just haven’t seem to have had the time to be so regimented.

The veg garden is starting to get to that point where we are on the cusp of harvesting: borlotti beans are fattening in their speckled pods, runner beans are increasing in number and size, the tomato plants are a mass of fruit which just need to ripen and some of the potatoes are ready for lifting.

A tunnel full of toms

A tunnel full of toms

Can't see the wood for the beans

Rasperries have been and gone but we do have plenty of blackberries which have ripened earlier than we are normally used to.

Berries galore

On top of all that that there has been plenty of action in the ‘nursery’ area of the garden, pricking out biennial seedlings, potting on more established plants and making sure that the pots are not drying out in the heat.  Add to that ordering seeds for next year and planning sowing for the August and September and we have plenty to keep us on our toes.

All in all then life has been pretty hectic and will probably be so for a few more weeks to come.

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12 responses to this post.

  1. You have been busy – this time of year is busy for all of us gardeners’ especially harvesting and trying to do something with the gluts. Your part of the country seems to be a little behind me in the East Midlands, my tomatoes are nearly over – very good they were too.

    Reply

  2. Your Tomatoes look wonderful. I have n’t tied mine in as well as you have. Will do next year. Had a look at your wife’s blog. Lovely lovely flowers, beautifully arranged! No surprise that it has kept you both so busy!!!

    Reply

    • Hi Petra,

      I actually experimented a little with the toms: some are growing up a cane structure (inspired by Monty) and some are supported with string tied from the roof of the tunnel. Those growing up the canes are fine but the others have been falling about all over the place because the string has been rotting off and snapping so it is definitely worth building the cane structure at the outset.

      I shall pass on your comments to my wife; it makes the hard work worthwhile when people appreciate what she does and hopefully helps to spread the word a little more and draw in more business.

      Jason.

      Reply

  3. It is so busy it’s difficult to find time to post, so well done for doing so. I have acouple of questions. Do you find it is too hot in the tunnel for bees to pollinate the tomatoes, I do in my shaded greenhouse? I’m growing Barlotti beans for the first time, how do I know when they are ready to harvest? Thank you Christina

    Reply

    • Hi Christina, I agree about finding time, it does become quite difficult. I try and keep a written diary for the garden too but entries in this have been few and far between over recent weeks despite the amount of activity.
      Pollination in the tunnel has never been a problem as once the frosts have passed it is open at both ends so insects easily find their way in and out and we always have lots of toms. Perhaps access points is more the issue with your greenhouse rather than the heat?
      As for the Borlotti beans, it’s the first year I have grown them but I understand they are primarily shelling beans so need to be left to get reasonably large and the pods leathery before removing them. ‘ll probably blanche and freeze a few of them so I have a winter store. Hope that helps! Jason.

      Reply

      • Thanks for the information, Jason. I don’t think the problem with pollination in the greenhouse is access as when it was cooler, March, April and May all the tomatoes were pollinated and the melons and the first pepppers but since the temperatures have risen a lot I don’t even find dead bees that have gone in and then can’t find a way out. It’s as if the heat forms a barrier and they just don’t enter. Actually the other day was cooler and I did see one or two bees. I remember my father tapping the canes of the tomatoes and him saying this was to aid pollination so I’ll have to try the same. Christina

  4. Ah, blow. If I hadn’t been working on Saturday I’d have popped over and given you a shock. Your photo of the Helenium MB should be an industry standard. Seriously good. Not sure I realized you had a polytunnel. You’re very proper plant growers aren’t you? – the two of you? (Definately canes with the toms I’d say).

    Beast

    Dave

    Reply

    • That would have been a treat and no doubt a shock! Assuming ther garden is still productive then we will be doing the first Saturday in September so still chance to visit!!

      We’re trying to be proper plant growers; Katherine and I both have various things on the go, some that we are selling now and others that we will over winter and pot on in the spring to then sell on. I’m actually growing the Heleniums in pots this year as for the past two years they have succumbed to slugs. I’ll probably get more and plant the bigger plants out in the spring (keeping me fingers crossed) and bring on the smaller plants in pots.

      B.

      Jason.

      Reply

    • That would have been a treat and no doubt a shock! Assuming ther garden is still productive then we will be doing the first Saturday in September so still chance to visit!!

      We’re trying to be proper plant growers; Katherine and I both have various things on the go, some that we are selling now and others that we will over winter and pot on in the spring to then sell on. I’m actually growing the Heleniums in pots this year as for the past two years they have succumbed to slugs. I’ll probably get more and plant the bigger plants out in the spring (keeping me fingers crossed) and bring on the smaller plants in pots.

      B.

      Jason.

      Reply

  5. Glorious looking berries! And very pretty roses. Iceberg is very forgiving and I’m sure will bounce back.

    Reply

    • Hi Nikki,

      The roses are already doing better after some consistent watering a feeding, producing good new foliage and a few modest blooms! The berries taste better than they look!!

      Jason

      Reply

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