July 2018 – Hot & Dry

It has hardly rained here since early May and the garden is getting a little stressed. The grass is turning brown and the soft fruit has been smaller than usual. The extra heat has been good for many of the plants though as long as we can keep them watered. Here’s a view across the lower garden with lots of brown grass but the Inula magnifica is in full flower just to the right of the pergola.Dry Garden

The bed below the cliff has filled out nicely this year. We planted a Lilium regale last year and it has produced a good display of large white flowers this year.
The cliff bed

We are creating a pond in the lower garden but there was bedrock fairly close to the surface so it’s going to need a small retaining wall to get a bit more water depth.
Pond Project

Fruit Cage

We planted some redcurrants, blueberries and a tayberry bush a few years ago but the blackbirds always got to the fruit before we could harvest it. The fruit area is a difficult shape and on a slope so we could not use one of the commercially available fruit cages as they are usually intended for a flat, level rectangular area. We ordered a load of 2″ x 2″ treated timber from local company James Smith Fencing and the netting from First Tunnels in Lancashire and set about building a fruit cage. Here’s the start of the construction.
Building the cage

A few days later and we had a fruit cage – just in time before the fruit started to ripen.
Fruit Cage
This is the first time we’ve seen a whole bunch of ripe redcurrants.
The tayberries have also been very productive.
The raspberries were not as good this year because of the dry conditions. We need to re-organise the raspberry canes for next year to allow more room to get between the plants.