Please note that Garden Club activities have had to be suspended until further notice.
I may have mentioned the weather in previous articles, but it has been extreme this year. At time of writing after weeks with no rain we have had some heavy downpours, but the soil still looks parched. There is more rain in the forecast, so we hope this may help refresh our gardens as I for one am tired of lugging watering cans around and summer has hardly started.
The dry spring has had its benefits though, I have had very little damage from slugs this year, and might even see flowers on my one delphinium! The floral display seems to have been exceptional too, the spring flowers were excellent and long lasting and the summer flowers look to be as good, roses and clematis and various shrubs being laden with flowers. This might be a result of last years dry summer. If we get a bit of rain now we might even have a good crop of soft fruit.
A number of people have told me that they have had a disappointing crop of strawberries this year which is almost certainly due to the frosts which happened just as the plants were flowering. I managed to cover my small bed with some glass, a bit laborious but we have had some strawberries as a result.
We would have had more had we not decided to reorganise some of the strawberry beds in March. Because of the dry spring those plants have mostly shrivelled up now and will have to be discarded. I also planted some raspberries this spring and they too struggled manfully but have now succumbed to the drought. I shall always plant fruit in the autumn in future.
Looking round our garden I noticed how many orange flowers we have. There are people who won’t have orange in their gardens. Because it is the complementary of green, the colour of most foliage, orange flowers will always assert themselves, but I couldn’t be without poppies and marigolds in our garden (but I do have reservations about orange roses; they don’t look right to me).
This year has proved challenging in other ways too; it has proved difficult getting supplies as garden centres were closed for a while, and recently many have run out of compost. I had to curtail plans to plant up more pots containers, but in view of the watering burden that may have been a sensible move in the end.
I have discovered that lilies are one of the easiest plants to grow in pots; they seem able to put up with all sorts of weather, and if you can avoid the lily beetle, don’t suffer from many other pests or diseases. I have 3 pots of regal lilies in the garden at the present time with nearly one hundred buds between them. All they require is regular watering and a fortnightly splash of seaweed fertiliser.
Things to do in July
1. Clear blanket weed from ponds and top up if necessary
2. Look out for clematis wilt
3. Deadhead bedding plants and perennials to keep the display going
For more information visit the Heyford Gardening Club & Allotments page