Here we are again, turning the corner and heading back in the direction of winter. It’s crazy, the days really have raced. The gardens took forever to come alive and then a few sunny days kicked everything to life and in recent weeks conditions and plant growth have been tropical. Many a machete has been drawn as the complacent have watched luxuriant vegetation invade. As a grower the last month has been great. The gardeners of this country work to a 6 day cycle. On day 1 they are spurred to life, by the arrival of some sunshine and on day 2 set about the garden in earnest. On day 3 they buy and enjoy planting in glorious sunshine. On day 4 they take tea in the shade and admire their work, towards the close of the day noting the need to water. On day 5 they need to water twice and by the close of day are starting to find it a bit of a chore. On day 6 they hope that the weather is going to break and this year it did. After a few cooler days the cycle can start again and it has.
The industry has had a very lively month. Phew, it did not look as though it would ever start and now we are into July. As I have noted the growth has been luxuriant and the conditions tropical, which has meant high humidity and quite a bit of pest and disease activity. There have been lots of interesting caterpillars, most notably voracious tiny sawfly lava which have turned in large numbers and grazed. They have hit Fuchsias, Viburnums, Gooseberry bushes and euonymous and have created real encampments in sections of our hedgerows. Most of these things pass through, make a mess and are gone. Whilst you can spray you are likely to have missed the boat because they are not coming back this year. It looks set to be a good season for fungal problems too. It’s the same problem, fungal spores love humid conditions and they just sit around waiting. So keep your eyes peeled for blight, wilt, all sorts of stem rot, mildew and black spot. Thinning out a few leaves to improve air flow can help and certain things respond to preventative spraying but just keep your eyes open.
And finally enjoy your labours and be at ease with the failures.