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Feeling fruity!

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 11:10

What will the weather hold for us in June? Let’s hope for some nice sun through the day and showers at night to cut down on the watering!

Rhubarb is my favourite fruit – even a tiny garden can hold a crown of rhubarb and it needs very little care. Leave it to establish for a year after planting in good soil enriched with composted farmyard manure. Then the next season take just a few stems, and the following year more can be taken. Feed by scattering a high-nitrogen fertiliser such as sulphate of ammonia around the base and fork lightly in. Don’t pull the leaves too late in the summer, as they feed the buds for the next year. Keep watered in dry spells.

There have been some late frosts this year, which can reduce the amount of fruit set on trees. This will reduce the need for ‘fruit thinning’, which is when you remove some of the growing apples, pears, plums, etc. so that the remaining fruit can grow to a good size without damaging the tree (plums in particular suffer from broken branches with too many fruits).

A natural ‘June drop’

In June there is a natural ‘June drop’ when lots of little fruits will fall, but if there are still lots on the tree you can remove them yourself. You need to leave about 10cm between dessert apples and pears, leaving one or two fruits per cluster. Cooking apples will need one fruit every 20cm or so, and plums about every 7cm. Use it as a chance to remove fruit that is already badly shaped, or damaged.

This month the roses come into their own and it is my belief that every garden should have roses in it. My favourite no-nonsense rose for climbing is the ‘Blush Noisette’, as it is really healthy with lovely small, pale pink scented flowers that carry on from May till October, and needs virtually no pruning.

I also love Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ which is smothered with the most deliciously scented pink flowers. The pink colour is a wonderful foil for bright blue. ‘Morning glory’ (ipomoea), which is a climbing annual, looks lovely growing through it with its glorious blue flowers, or one of the blue clematis like ‘Ascotiensis’ with large blue flowers from June to September.

Make sure you deadhead your roses by snapping off the dead flowers so they will put more energy into new flowers. Don’t worry about trying to deadhead huge ramblers, as they only flower once on the whole, and life is too short!

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