Green Fingers in early Summer
Down at Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall, Bridget has been looking into some amazing, and lesser-known facts about plants.
We seem to be whizzing through the months, where does the time go? With summer here and nature in its full glory we can soak up the bounty of endless sensations that the natural world brings.
The dry spring brought us fabulous early flowering bulbs and wonderful displays of blossom. The lack of rain enabled the wildflowers to flourish without having to compete with the grasses.
I was given several gardening books for my Birthday, one of which is called Bizarre Botany. Plants are amazing. They are also weird, wonderful, ugly, beautiful, ‘clever’, enormous, tiny, poisonous, and lifesaving.
I thought it would be fun to share a fact each edition, and first of all I would like to tell you about Galantamine, a compound used in the treatment of cognitive decline. It was discovered that some species of snowdrop (Galanthus) daffodil (Narcissus) and other bulbs contained galantamine but in amounts too small to be of practical use. Further research allowed it to be produced synthetically and used as a drug to treat some forms of memory impairment. A perfect example of how important the conservation of plants is to science!
Before I lose myself in my new book, it's time to get on with those jobs in the garden that don’t go away!
It's time to tidy and dead-head rhododendrons and camellias. Keep containers watered regularly and feed weekly, plant Dahlia tubers and mow grass containing naturalised bulbs. July is a good time to take semi-ripe cuttings of shrubs, trees, conifers and hardy climbers. Remember to keep weeding little and often.
In the Kitchen Garden keep sowing lettuce and oriental salads in any empty spaces! Pick soft fruits and lift first early potatoes in July and later in the month second earlies. Harvest herbs regularly by pinching out shoot tips to encourage new growth.
Sweetcorn relies on wind for pollination, to increase the chances of this happening, plant in blocks of short rows. Remove strawberry runners in the early part of summer to increase energy for producing fruit. If you want to grow more new plants, peg the runners down to root in the soil. Hoe regularly!
Think about wildlife as well. Make sure fruit cage netting is taut to prevent birds getting caught.
Move enough blanket weed from ponds to allow at least 25 percent open water. Check small mammals have a way of climbing out of ponds. Provide water for birds.
Bridget runs Caves Folly Nurseries on Evendine Lane in Colwall (WR13 6DX). They are open from March until October, Thursdays to Saturdays from 10 - 4. You can contact them on 01684 540631 or visit their website: