Autumn Bliss

After our Calke Abbey walk yesterday through trees that were still almost wholly green, I had a brief shock when I walked past the open door of a room (not at home) today and saw what looked like a red leafy curtain at the window; on doubling back I realised it was Virginia creeper framing the window, just beginning to put on its seasonal clothes. THAT’S the Autumn we look forward to seeing every year. The nearest thing colourwise we have in our garden is a Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’ which is just about turning now, but it’s nowhere near as dramatic. I also put in a Parottia persica some years ago, but in such an unsuitable place that I never notice what it is doing at any time of year, let alone in the Autumn. Hmm, clearly need to do a rethink there….

I am delighted with the progress of my raspberries this year, their first season; those pictured are ‘Autumn Bliss’ and I have canes of ‘Autumn Treasure’ too. I mentioned earlier that I am double cropping these autumn varieties, as recommended by Which? Gardening, and as I have not grown raspberries before I wasn’t sure what to expect from this first season. However, I had up towards 2lbs earlier in the summer from just a couple of the canes, and most of the 10 have a good number of flowers or ripening berries on them now so it is looking promising. Strangely, the berries appearing now are much larger than the earlier ones – is that usual? There has been some leaf damage by caterpillars, which I wasn’t expecting as the loganberries I have are never troubled by pests – I did check to see if there was such a thing as ‘raspberry sawfly’, as I know there are versions that can plague apples and plums as well as the common gooseberry sawfly (grrr). Doesn’t look like it and they are not as avaricious as gooseberry sawfly so I can tolerate them at the moment, whoever is responsible for them! It’s one of the drawbacks of having a fruit cage, as the birds haven’t got access to ‘rid me of this turbulent pest’.

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