LATE SUMMER DELIGHTS

By Jill | August 21st, 2010

Hello, this week we seem to have had a reminder that we are actually still in late summer!! There have been some very warm days – and we are back into the old watering regime – having had a few weeks’ grace.

There has definitely been a move towards autumn though – but there are still many lovely plants about on the sales areas – that will keep the colour going right into September and beyond.

It is a record year for fruit – despite early reservations about the late spring frosts we had – most of the trees are dripping with fruit – you only have to go along the A12 – and see the ground smothered in the little red and yellow mirabelle plums that have fallen from the trees.

Wasps aside – the apples are also looking excellent – and talking of apples – what better to go with them in a pie – than the BLACKBERRY OREGON THORNLESS – as the photo shows – a delicious fruit – now coming into it’s season – and the beauty of this one is that it not only thorn-free – it has a pretty divided leaf – which often earns it the nickname of the Parsley-leaved Blackberry!!

The hybrid BLACKBERRIES have come a long way from the wild types – and are no longer like some sort of trifid that will take over your plot!!

On the ornamental side – there are lots of super shrubs and climbers still full of flower and interest on the sales areas – the girls have had a bumper year on the cuttings front – and many of these are now out on sale.

Late August can be a dreary time – but there is much to see at the nursery – so why not pay us a visit!!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

P.S – I am off on my hols for the rest of the month – so just a reminder that the NURSERY WILL BE CLOSED OVER THE AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND FROM SATURDAY 28TH TO MONDAY 30TH INCLUSIVE.

THE WASPS ARE BACK IN TOWN!!

By Jill | August 14th, 2010

Hello – what a bizarre weather pattern we are into now. Several wet days at the nursery this week – some torrential thunderstorms – and next week’s forecast is no better!! If you are on holiday – or a farmer trying to get your wheat harvested – then I know you would like a bit of sun – but it is providing us gardeners with early autumnal planting conditions – rather than the desert conditions that Suffolk usually experiences at this time of the year!!

You can actually get a spade into the ground – and the soil still being warm will encourage strong root growth.

There is always a downside to this sort of weather though – and as the previous blog said – the BROWN ROT on PLUMS is extensive. Also the wretched WASPS are back with us – they seem to be building up in large numbers again – attacking any plum or early apple – and they are even going for some of the apples that are still far from ripening – they will destroy fruit if not dealt with.
The old country ways – of tying a jam jar or bottle of cheap lager in amongst the trees – do still work – but you need to get them out early – ours are up in the orchard and on the fruit sales area – and have been for several weeks now.
Of course – if you can locate the nest you can destoy it – but that is often not practical or possible.

As the season moves on – they do tend to disappear – so all is not lost!!

Another skirmish with the wasps in the orchard – has allowed me to put one of my favourite apples – DISCOVERY – into the APPLE SHED for TASTING.

This is a superb variety – with a local connection since it was originally released from Thurston near Bury St Edmunds – it is a cross between the old Beauty of Bath and Worcester Pearmain – combining the best of the parents in a sweet tangy early apple.

I love it – but so do those pesky wasps!!

We are very busy in the planning stages and behind the scenes – for the new autumn season – there will be a number of exciting new changes and developments – if all goes to plan – we are having a slight ‘facelift’ – and changing some of our literature – and catalogues – so we hope you will like that – the first of our ‘new season’ catalogues – the ORNAMENTAL TREE CATALOGUE – 2010-2011 is now being printed – if you would like a copy do contact the office -or it will appear online in the next few weeks as well.

Following on from this will be the new HEDGING catalogue and then the FRUIT – again we have some exceptional quality young trees coming on for this autumn and winter planting season – and we will be launching our own variety of apple at this year’s APPLE DAY on OCTOBER 23rd – but more of that nearer the time!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME – AND IF THE WASPS DON’T GET ME!
RICHARD

ARE YOUR PLUMS GOING ROTTEN ON THE TREE??

By Jill | August 14th, 2010

Hello – Several of our customers this week have brought in plums off their trees that are going rotten – and have wondered what they can do about this.

It is called BROWN ROT – and variously affects all plum varieties – although Victoria is often the worst. Sadly it is a result of the current very wet weather that we have had for the last fortnight – it is a fungal infection that quickly gets into fruit.
The sudden increase in moisture that many of our plants are encountering is causing the fruit to crack or split – and it does not take more than a few hours for this to let the brown rot in – and the whole plum will then go rotten – further wet and warm weather allows the problem to pass on through water droplets onto other fruits in the bunch – and before you know it half of the fruit has gone rotten!!
What can you do about it??
Firstly this is not a problem that can be ignored – in severe cases it can get into the wood of the trees as well – and will then be there every single year. Air circulation has a lot to do with it – Victoria is very prone to it since the fruit set is very heavy – and the fruits within the bunches are very close together so the problem quickly spreads.
Remove any rotten fruit you see – as soon as you see it – and destroy it – don’t let any fall and lay on the ground since it will get pulled into the ground and remain there ready to reinfect next spring.
Fruit in large heavy clusters should be thinned at the end of May – yes – I know we cannot all reach the tops of our trees – in that case use a pair of long-armed loppers and cut one or two of the densely layered branches off.
Although there are many plum trees that fruit perfectly well without annual pruning – a well-spaced out branched tree will be better for air circulation and there will be a lot less of the Brown Rot problem. Aim for a tree – that you ‘could throw a hat through the branches’ and it would come through the other side!! In other words – the air can get in.
But – remember – never prune plum or gages in the winter – prune when IN LEAF ONLY!! I prune mine as soon as I have picked the last of the fruit – and definitely before the end of September. And DISINFECT those secateurs or loppers!!!
Also – do not leave any old mummified fruit on the tree once you have picked all the good stuff – they only hold the spores overwinter – knock them to the ground – pick them up – and destroy them.
One of the plums in my orchard was infested with brown rot when we moved into the house – and I cleared that problem up by using the methods above within a year – plums are too nice to lose to rots – so do something about it!!
UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

LOOKING GOOD!!

By Jill | August 6th, 2010

Hello – there is definitely a slight hint of autumn in the air at the moment. Unlike early July – most of the month was actually quite cool and at times wet!! Some difference to last year!! At least here in Suffolk – last year was the driest on record – and unlike the rest of the country we were seeing conditions more akin to a desert than anything else!

But not this year!! Although the rain has not been universal throughout Suffolk – most places have had something – and the grass is green again – and there is a little bit of moisture in the ground.
Some of our customers have complained of a lack of colour in their gardens – but there are still loads of different items that you could plant right now!!

The first of the seasons tree berries – the Sorbus – Mountain Ashes are starting to show their wonderful berry colour. They are always great for bringing a splash of colour at head height into the garden – and the birds will love them!! The photo at the top of the page shows the beauty of their berry and foliage.
We have a slightly more unusual variant looking real nice right now – Sorbaronia ‘Ivan’s Beauty’ – this is a cross between two different trees – Sorbus and Aronia. They have a beautiful dark – almost purple-black berry – nicely offset by divided foliage. Guaranteed to make any garden beautiful!
Another tree now coming into it’s time is the Pride of India – Koelreuteria paniculata – it has divided leaves – which are topped by clusters of yellow flowers – a tree in full flower is a striking sight – and there are not that many trees that flower in August!!
Lower to the ground – one of Kevin’s favourite perennials is looking fab at the moment. A superb form of the perennial Hyssop – Agastache ‘Golden Jubilee’ – he has this outside the office in a stunning display right now. If you have never heard of it – then shame on you!! Aromatic yellow-green leaves make a perfect foil for the spikes of blue flowers – and they are an absolute magnet for bees!! You must get one of these – they are great in any border – in sun – and I also grow them very nicely in pots on the patio too!!
These are just a few of the lovely items we have on our sales areas at the moment – why not pop in and have a look!!
There is a lot to look forward too – there is no longer any excuse to give up on your garden in August any more!!!
UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

ARE YOU PLANNING TO PLANT A HEDGE THIS AUTUMN??

By Jill | August 6th, 2010

Hello – are you planning a session of hedge planting this autumn??

It is now the time to begin to think autumn planting new hedges – or may be gapping up an older one. With the slightly cooler weather – there is definitely a hint of autumn in the air – it will only be a few months before our new season bare-root hedging becomes available again.

To help with this – we have often been asked about the planting and looking after of hedges – and due to that demand – we are putting on an extra morning workshop – on Saturday September 18th from 9.30 – 12.00 – entitled Hedges, living screens for your garden.

Hedges are so varied – they have so many different uses – from screening and privacy to shade, shelter and windbreaks – they provide flower and fruit for wildlife – and offer a huge benfit to the environment – how could any fence panel ever compete with that???!!!

Come and learn all you need to know from selection of different types to planting techniques to the protection they may need from those pesky bunnies – this course will leave you fully inspired to start planting. As a bonus – you will receive a 10 % discount off all hedging plants ordered and paid for on the day – what an enticing offer!!

To book on this course – please contact the office on 01394 460755 – numbers are limited.

UNTIL NEXT TIME.
RICHARD

A NEW APPLE SEASON BEGINS!

By Jill | August 6th, 2010

Hello,

One of the delights of my job is the fruit side of the nursery – and that means apples!! Here we are, just into August and the start of a brand new season of English apples!! Regular visitors to the nursery will know that we have an Apple Shed in the fruit sales area – and from now until the end of March (or when our customers have eaten them all!!) – we have apples available for you to come and taste!

We grow hundreds of different varieties – and the choice can be a bit over-whelming sometimes – but to actually come to the nursery and to be able to taste them will make your selection so much easier!!

At this early stage – there are only two varieties in – Vista Bella (see photo above) and Beauty of Bath – none of these earlies store very well – but what could be more pleasant than picking a bright red apple – still warm from the sun – and eating it straight off the tree!!!

Over the coming weeks and months – more and more fruit will be added as it ripens – and of course we have our big apple -tasting day at the end of October – Saturday October 23rd -a date for your diary – we will have apples to buy and taste – it is simply a fun day celebrating everything apple!! Do come if you can!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,

RICHARD

SUMMER PRUNING DE-MYSTIFIED

By Jill | August 6th, 2010

Hello,

On Wednesday July 28th – 11 keen gardeners came to the nursery to spend a morning with myself for the latest of our short courses to learn about summer pruning of fruit trees. As with anything connected with the ‘p’ word – there is much mystery and confusion about the correct techniques. However – hopefully – by the end of the morning session, most people seemed to have got a grasp of the principles behind the practice.

The course began with our usual ‘ what are you hoping to learn’ session – I always like to do this so I can make sure the course is tailored to suit exactly what is required – it is surprising sometimes how I can change the course slightly to bring in a subject that was not originally going to be covered!!

Summer pruning is of particular importance in the training and cultivation of trained fruit trees mostly -espaliers,fans and cordons. Without summer work – these trees would not retain their attractive shape and the potential cropping for next season would be reduced.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make is that they tend to treat their espaliers and fans e.t.c. like a hedge – as soon as it gets too much growth on it – they prune it back – regardless of the time of year!! The whole point of summer pruning is that it is carried out in late summer – usually late July or early August – because the tree growth is just about finished for the year – and the tree is busily making it’s flower buds for next spring. It neither has the energy or the time to produce much new growth when pruned in late summer – but if you pruned any of this growth back in May and June – it would simply regrow – since the tree is more interested in growing at that time of the year.

There is much more to be said about the joys of pruning – but that would be more like spoilers for the next course!!!

If you feel that you would like to have a bit more of an idea then our next fruit courses are – Focus on Fruit – Thursday 28th October – 10-1.00 – course fee £25.00 – this is a very general course covering a whole range of topics – or if you are really into the pruning side of it – then Winter Pruning is on either Wednesday 10th November or Thursday 18th November – from 10.30-12.30 either day. This course is specifically aimed at pruning only – and is usually split into shrubs or fruit – depending upon the numbers involved.

To book any of these courses – please do get in early – we have a maximum number – ring the office on 01394 460755.

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

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