Although we have the occasional day of cloud and rain we are still enjoying wonderful sunny days inbetween. The rain waters the garden and the sunshine encourages even more flowers to bloom. I really can’t believe just how much colour there is in the garden at the moment, even more so than high summer and I just wish I could share it with everyone.
Here is where I say make the most of the good weather and encourage some of those annuals to keep going for a few more weeks. Take a look at your Herbs: there is no need to worry about Rosemary, that is a sturdy shrub that can be found growing wild all over the island so when it finds itself nurtured in a garden or pot on the terrace it really thrives lasting for years no matter how much you cut off it.
Mint is another that does well and for your own sake best kept in a pot or within a closed in patio if you don’t want to find it running all over the garden. A Sage bush will go from strength to strength for years always full of healthy green leaves ready to be picked for drying to make Sage and onion stuffing for a chicken or to go with the roast pork or just the rubbed Sage in sausage meat for those sausage rolls that children always love.
Here I have got completely carried away with all the herbs when all I really wanted was to draw your attention to Sweet Basil which is only an annual but with this lovely warm weather seems to be stretching out its own growing season. Keep it standing in the sunshine, give it lots of water and above all keep cutting off the new growth before it forms flower heads, this will help to keep it bushy and it will keep on growing so long as it is happy.
Not to worry though, you can always purchase pots of young seedlings when spring comes round or plant up your own seeds. It’s a lovely herb to add to salads or when you have a really big bunch added to olive oil makes a wonderful pesto to add to pasta dishes and above all, anyone can grow Basil even on a window sill because it really does just as well in a pot as in the garden.
Another annual is the humble Tomato plant that doesn’t do too well in the shorter days even if they are warm and sunny, it’s the cooler night temperatures that need to be avoided even if seedlings are still popping up all over the place. You can frequently find them self seeding on the compost heap or in recently potted up plants with new soil from the compost.
I just love to pot them up into their own space and move them indoors into a sunny corner as if it were a greenhouse. Here the Tomato plant will thrive and soon you will have fruit all year round. Some of mine already have flowers so who knows when I will be picking indoor tomatoes! Gardening is always full of surprises.
Jill Carter writes that she has sticky Jasmine, a hornet fluttering around and a crab-like insect, as well as other bugs on her plants. Well Jill I am not really sure how to answer that one. All stickiness on plants nearly always attracts black mildew. There are pesticides that a garden shop will advise you about and there are others who swear by diluted vinegar.
Hornets, yes there are plenty of them around in a garden, there are also mud-wasps that are similar. Any plant will attract bugs, wanted or otherwise many are destructive, decimating all the leaves like the tiny green caterpillars on the leaves of a Rose bush, then there is ‘black spot’ on leaves that comes from some fungal disease usually in the soil.
As I have just said ‘ gardening is always full of surprises’ but unhappily they are not always nice surprises when you find a strange crab running across the terrace or a hornet buzzing around your head not to mention the mosquitoes!