Green Fingers in Summer
Down at Caves Folly in Colwall, Bridget is reflecting on the challenges as well as the pleasures of recent months.
A lot has happened since my last article when I was preparing for the RHS Malvern Spring Show. In horticulture there are always challenges and we have learned to adapt over the years to weather, crop failures and now Covid-19.
Although disappointing, it was a relief not to have the Malvern Show, it takes a huge amount of energy and the large financial risk for us suddenly disappeared! Unfortunately so did the income, but our online sales have grown and local deliveries increased so we have managed to keep going.
As a small nursery that grows plants from our own stock and seed there will be no wastage of plants. We can use the surplus to propagate and grow more plants for next year. There are many lessons to be learned from this - supporting local growers and producers often means less harm environmentally and less wastage.
There have been many positives to come out of the situation and here at Caves Folly we have had the rare chance to reflect on them. My son and his partner have been living with us since March and they have transformed my website and helped me build my online sales.
It has been very interesting observing the desperate need for people to be outside in their gardens and how it has helped with mental wellbeing. Like many small outlets we have had customers supporting us who did not want to visit large garden centres.
It is important that consumers, having discovered local shops must stick with them and not simply return to their favourite supermarket or large garden centre. The continued support will be essential for small businesses like ours to carry on after the restrictions are lifted.
I expect after all the gardening you have been doing you will all be experts by now, but here are a few jobs for summer!
- Deadhead Roses and summer flowering bedding to increase flowering.
- Water newly planted trees, shrubs and containers regularly.
- Summer prune Wisteria in August.
- Feed containers and baskets weekly with a high potassium liquid feed such as seaweed.
- Thin overcrowded apples, pears and plums. Do this now and you will get larger and better-quality fruit.
- Tomatoes under plastic or glass need maximum ventilation. Water them regularly to prevent blossom end rot.
- Sow a late crop of dwarf french beans and towards the end of August Pak Choi and other oriental greens, salads and spinach for autumn cropping.
- Harvest summer fruiting raspberries and cut out fruited canes when they finish.
- Keep bird baths and ponds topped up for wildlife.
Remember how lucky you are to have a garden and enjoy the weeding,
Bridget runs Caves Folly Nurseries on Evendine Lane in Colwall (WR13 6DX). They are open from March until October, Thursdays to Saturdays from 10 - 5. You can contact them on 01684 540631 or visit their website: