It’s Berry time! My favorite time to go through the garden and just pick and taste and compare all the different varieties of soft fruits we grow within the walled garden. Black currants, white currants, red currants, gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries…it seems to be a good year for berries and most of them except the blackberries are ready to be pick.
Also the 2 varieties of figs we have, ‘Brunswick’ and ‘Ischia’ are carrying heavy but it will take roughly another 6 weeks of sunny and warm weather for them to be fully ripe.
When you plan to set up your own vegetable or fruit garden make sure you also consider the time you need to harvest your products. It is often underestimated how long it takes to pick especially small soft fruits like gooseberries or currants and also to prepare them later on. We use white and red currants in the decoration of our homemade cheese cakes for example.
Nearly all of the apple trees have a nice crop this year which is good to see for two reasons. First of all it looks like the bees are still out there plentiful and doing there job and secondly the very hard pruning they underwent last winter did not do them any harm.
The first spuds are harvested and the heritage variety ‘Sharps Express’, from 1901, gave a good yield. We have started to plant pumpkins on the empty ridges and afterwards to cover the ground.
A weekly supply of fresh lettuce to the restaurant, like the butterhead ‘Webbs Wonderful’, is also on our agenda at the moment. Before we bring over the heads we must rinse them off carefully.
Despite the good weather we had in the last few weeks we would not dare to plant our tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines outside. To have any success with them they need to stay inside the vinery; the Irish climate is not suitable to grow them in the open.
The flower garden is in full bloom by now. Strong colour combinations like the orange of the Calendula ‘Orange King’ and the intense deep blue of Lobelia ‘Chrystal Palace’ work well together and are seen from far away which is important for the garden with our scale.
One of the summer highlight in our garden is always the Herbaceous Border. Especially between June and August it is a constant flowering show of herbaceous plants of all kinds. Every week more plants are opening up their flower heads and others finish flowering, so no week is the same.
Below are few pictures of my favorite plants which are flowering in the border at the moment.
I hope this summer spell will last; everything is just more enjoyable when the sun is out, even the weeding!
Last but not least, a quick hello from our new arrivals within the walled garden; four Robin chicks are happily waiting in their well hidden nest for the next feed.
Your Head Gardener
Things you can do in your garden in July:
To Sow / Propagate:
~ Pot on the last of this years summer bedding as backup plants
~ Start to sow spring bedding like Wallflowers and Bellis for next year’s spring display at the end of the month
~ Sow spring cabbages for over wintering
~ Take cuttings of non flowering shoots of Fuchsia, Pelargonium and Hydrangea
~ Plant out more catch crops like lettuce and spring onion
~ Plant squash, pumpkins, marrows and courgettes & feed regularly
~ Finish planting out winter brassicas
~ Soft fruits like Raspberries
~ Mangetouts, Peas, Broad beans
~ Lettuce, Spinach, Leaf beet
~ Herbs for drying or for fresh herbal teas like Sage or Mint
To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Regularly dead heading of bedding like Calendula and herbaceous plants for continues flower display
~ Check vegetables and flowers for pest and diseases e.g. cabbage root fly, caterpillars, green flies
~ Prune shrubs after flowering
~ Feed lawns and Buxus hedges