There may well be many successes in the garden and plans coming to fruition, but that is not to say there have not been failures too. The fruit cage and its contents rarely appear on the blog and in fact for much of the year are not included in the daily rambles, but they did receive a visit last week to check on the progress of the double cropped autumn fruiting raspberries. I hadn’t got as far as the raspberries when I noticed a distinct defoliation of the blackcurrants – closer inspection revealed these woolly deposits (above left) and some sort of scale insect which Google informed me was woolly vine scale, something I have never seen before. They are sap sucking critters and although they won’t kill the bushes there will be virtually no blackcurrants this year; treatment, I believe, is simple a matter of wiping them off with soapy water. No apparent sawfly on the gooseberries – a triumph, hurrah! All embryonic gooseberries covered in mildew – disaster, boo!
Still down at the ‘productive’ end of the garden, in and around the greenhouse, there have been mixed results with all the sowings. Unfortunately, unlike basic KS2 science experiments, there are too many variables to ascertain the likely cause. Was it the compost, watering with (fresh) rainwater, sowing too early, poor drainage? Hard to say, but I have resown some things with better results – it’s warmer and lighter, and the compost is different, so who knows? Certainly tomatoes sown in February are tiny compared to those sown two months later (back and middle rows, Gardeners’ Delight and Marmande sown February, front row GD sown in April). It is a similar story in the new cutting beds (below left), where few of the plants are really thriving, having never really got going once they were first potted on, although I do have cerinthe and cosmos about to flower, but on insubstantial plants. BUT very healthy sweet peas that are also just beginning to flower – definitely a triumph! I must confess to a bigger and more expensive disaster too – somehow managing to kill off my multi-stemmed Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, below right (leaves belong to the adjacent cornus)…..
Triumph and Disaster? Pah! All the same to me….