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Notes From a Small Garden


At the time of writing (mid June) in the greenhouse the tomatoes, Jim’s cucumbers and melon plants are growing steadily but slowly. The melons are beginning to flower and will need hand pollinating by using a small paintbrush to transfer the pollen from the male to the female flowers, although you


can rely on insects to do this. Hand pollinating will ensure a good set of the fruit. Now there is space in the cold frames, when we lose the cold nights, will transfer some of the melons and cucumbers over which have been started in the greenhouse.


The Victoria plum tree has set a large crop which will need thinning out. All fruit trees thin themselves in the so-called June drop. This usually occurs at the end of June and the beginning of July but is not enough. If left this could result in broken branches and small fruit so a further thinning is usually necessary. We have planted another plum tree (Marjorie Seedling). As it ripens at the beginning of October this will extend the season.


The November sown broad beans have set well and have had their tops nipped out to deter black fly. By way of a change we have planted the front garden with dahlias. These should flower from late July to October. We also have cosmos: these are sown directly in the soil and make a good display. They are also useful as cut flowers.


Julie was just about to go into hospital at the time of writing to have one of her hips replaced. She and Peter had a happy “last” evening planting out ivy-leaved geraniums in baskets and pots which hang on the wall. The latter are difficult to water but look so pretty on our outbuildings when they are in flower. Julie’s big successes this spring have been peonies. The single frilly white one has been spectacular, as has the double frilly dark red one. Even peony officionalis has looked superb. The peony is named after Paeon (also spelled Paean), a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. Asclepius became jealous of his pupil; Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower. A nice thought!


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