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Spring is nearly here!

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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:38 am

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:


From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Yes, September comes she may; It's that time of year again, a mite too early for the seed catalogues but swiftly getting too late to plan any summer activities as the nights rapidly close in.
Getting dark at 8.30pm! but still enough heat in the sun to enjoy our lunch in the garden yesterday in short sleeves.
By yesterday, all my Victoria and Jubileum plums were safely gathered in (or given away) for this year so that leaves just a few Denbigh plums and most of the Marjorie's Seedling plums to collect, no pressure then!

I've posted a pic of the Redhaven peaches some of you commented on at the 5th August club meeting here at my place, one club member said they were the sweetest peaches they had ever tasted!. This year they were the smallest but, sweetest they have ever been.

Overall, it's not been too bad a year considering the awful winter, followed by one of the latest coldest springs on record, still the compensation was, it was followed on by a record long hot summer!

My Koi have also had a record feeding spell this year!
The Koi food has disappeared at a rapid rate of knots since April to present, I've never bought and used so much in a single summer.
You all know the inevitable result, hot bright sunshine on nutrient rich water produces masses of both types of algae from increased feed.
This equates to much more flushing and cleaning of filters as the algae and jobbies rapidly mount up and clog your screens, this of course is followed up by much more frequent water top-ups than normal.
I thank goodness I'm not on a water meter yet as my utility bill would also have spiralled to record levels this year!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Sep 05, 2018 1:23 pm

One item of interest I forgot to mention is my novel 'Mobile Windfall Disposal Units' see picture below, one quite tame male or Tup on left and one ewe on right in the field behind our back garden.
I've been throwing scabby and maggot infected apples into field for quite some time and after a few weeks the sheep cottoned on to this free food and gathered at fence when they saw me in garden.
It was a simple progression to slicing apples (to remove codling moth maggots) and then feeding them to the eagerly awaiting sheep.
These two are particularly tame as is the daughter of the ewe pictured, she was hovering in background, they also love pears!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:01 pm

My plums have fared very poorly this year but the apple trees all have big crops. Time to get the food dehydrator out to preserve the eating apples for the winter. After drying I seal the dried apple slices in vacuum sealed packs.

I've also had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year and I'm running out of ideas to preserve these. So far I've made loads of pasta source, tomato sauce and tomato relish.

Every year I grow a few sunflowers, this year I've grown my tallest to date at just under 3m tall, the variety is giant. By the way, a cheap source of sunflower seeds is in the wild bird seed mix. I had some good results last year from sowing these and this year my brother has had one plant growing from the seeds scattered from the bird feeder.

Sunflower.jpg
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:20 am

It's ironical that you also had a poor plum crop this year Colin, the keen gardener I spoke with from our village, (another Phil) told me his sister in law also had no Denbigh plums this year but her other plum? tree had hundreds of small sour-ish dark red plums on at the end of August.
I would imagine she possibly has a damson tree in her garden and she picked them early, or, much more likely, it's a self fertile very prolific cropping cooking plum called Purple Pershore, a once popular grow anywhere disease resistant culinary plum originally commercially grown in the Vale of Evesham. It flowered later, after the Denbigh plum so had the same negative effect as other Denbigh plums this year. My neighbour also had a very poor plum crop from their Victoria but I suspect it wasn't just from the 'Beast from the East' but also due to biennial cropping exhausting the tree from last years excessive crop. Victoria's are notorious for it!
I should point out that I also 'assist' the bees in the garden in a cold spring as this last one by using a soft camel hair brush to cross pollinate my fruit trees.
At flowering time I use a small brush in my greenhouse to pollinate my peach and cherry trees, this year due to a lack of bees in mid-April I again used my brushes to cross pollinate my plum trees. I enjoy it and it keeps me out of mischief!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:42 am

Today, the 11th of September is a very significant day in a few ways, for me at least!
First and foremost, it's the anniversary of 9/11, the long horrifying day, now indelibly written into our psyche and also written into Worldwide history. We all stared in absolute shock and disbelief at our television screens as the daytime nightmare unfolded of what is now known as 9/11.
Today is also the anniversary of the birthday of my good friend Jack who died last December. After the horrors of 9/11 Jack commented that people would now remember his birthday, for all the wrong reasons! It's ironic but I lost both my old sailing companions within 3 weeks of each other last December!
However it is also paradoxically now
A DAY FOR CELEBRATION
'Spring is nearly here!' has now had 100,1000 visits!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:11 am

The Denbigh Plum Festival this year is on Saturday the 6th October 2018 beginning at 10.00am.
However: I still cannot understand why the committee decided that the plum festival be held in the first week in October? The Denbigh Plums growing in and around Denbigh are ripe on any average year in late August to around the first week in September, I've grown them for 8 years and that's the average around here apparently.
Therefore, the August Bank Holiday weekend would appear ideal, failing that the first weekend in September would be almost as good.
I would have thought it was a far more practical hands-on way of introducing people to this unique sweet and tasty plum by having lots of the actual fresh plums for sale on stalls and not disguised in plum jam or pies!
With the greatest respect to the organisers, the jams, preserves, pickled plums and pies on sale on the stalls could be made with any old plums, how would you know?
Far better for people to actually see, touch and better still, taste Wales's only native plum the delicious Denbigh Plum to experience it for themselves.

My Denbigh plums in the picture are just nearing ripe perfection, particularly the darker plum at the back. On this plum you can see the numerous tiny pale dots that identify the plum as the Denbigh plum.
To pick one off the tree on a hot late August day and to taste it's honey sweet juice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I rest my case!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:01 am

Congratulations on reaching the milestone of 100,000 views.

I would like to be posting a picture of the plums on my Denbigh plum tree but alas no plums this year. There was very little blossom this year and no fruit. Frost or lack of pollination? I do have a young Marjorie's Seedling tree nearby which had a few fruits but is this a suitable pollinator for the Denbigh Plum?

Spring is still a long way off but the seed catalogues are dropping through the letterbox thick and fast. I must admit I now order very little from the major seed companies and prefer to order off eBay. Price is the main consideration, why pay £1.99 or £2.99 for a packet of seeds when without the fancy packaging they can be had for 99p and the seeds are probably from the same source.

I've recently ordered seeds from a seller who goes under the name of seekay horticultural supplies and at present, there are no postal charges plus 20% off if you order 5 or more packets. 13 packets of seed for £10.30 has got to be a bargain. If you go on their eBay shop they also sell a wide range of gardening supplies.

One thing I have bought from Suttons are some bulbs that are supposed to repel moles, a constant problem in my garden which is adjacent to a field. I haven't received them yet but it will be interesting to find out if they work
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:00 am

Frost will only affect the pollinators not the Denbigh plum Colin, by and large it's fairly frost resistant, it's usually the lack of bees in a cold wet spring that affects pollination. Marjorie's Seedling in theory will pollinate your Denbigh plum, as despite only being partly self-fertile it is a 'Universal Donor' so will effectively pollinate any other plum tree. The Denbigh Plum, despite being self-sterile is also a universal donor to other plum trees but unfortunately it's in flowering group 3 (C) so it flowers a mite too early to be pollinated by Marjorie's Seedling which flowers at the latter end in flowering group 5 (E).
Some years there is a good overlap as this year when everything flowered late due to a dreadful cold snowy spring, but, the downside was: No Pollinators about!
You can see now why I go around the fruit trees with my pollinating brush some years!
I can give you my own compilation of cross pollination and compatibility chart for 36 plum trees that will grow in North Wales if you want it Colin.

On the subject of moles; Jasper Carrott has a sketch on uTube about eradicating moles, not recommended however to follow his advice about taking a shotgun to them!
I also just took delivery of some bulbs from eBay this week Colin, £6.70 for 20 quartz halogen 40/60 watt dimmable bulbs, they're bright enough to deter moles!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:12 pm

When I worked on a contract in Pembrokeshire the farmer we rented the site compound from used to use the shotgun method, he waited until he saw a molehill starting to form and then it gave it both barrels of his shotgun.

I would be interested in knowing your recommendations of a few varieties of desert plums to pollinate my Denbigh plum tree.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sat Sep 22, 2018 11:47 am

I'll bet the farmer in Pembroke shooting moles with the shotgun never sat on a swivel chair!
Walking down by the Elwy this morning for the first time in a week and what a dramatic change! Thursday's storm winds have brought down thousands of leaves twigs and branches along the river banks, you can see the dreadful mess everywhere. It was difficult walking in parts through the branches obviously violently ripped off, it would appear, mainly off the huge willows that line the river. The large Horse Chestnut trees by the A525 bridge near St Asaph city centre are strewn underneath with masses of twigs and branches, some with the 'conker' cases still attached and an early bonus for the St Asaph school kids, hundreds of conkers still in their prickly cases are scattered everywhere.

A sure sign of the torrential rain that followed the storm force winds on Thursday is the river is still quite high and running fast and coloured. Also the large heap of flotsam now sitting on top of the concrete plinth and heaped up against the central stone bridge support. This is the first lot of branches and debris deposited here since the spring but I'll bet its not the last!
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