I wish I could say that our apricot tree provides us with a magnificent crop, but the truth of the matter is that despite the wonderful weather, the couple of pounds of fruit we picked do not really justify the space the tree takes up. By the time that the blue tits have pecked off half the flowers (apparently they find apricot flowers particularly delicious) and the blackbirds have stabbed at the fruit long before it is fully ripe, I’m amazed that we got even that many. Still there were a few fine specimens that we ate fresh and we salvaged some of the damaged fruit and stewed them up. They all tasted wonderful – now I have to decide the tree’s fate – a few delicious fruit in a good year – or more growing space. The head knows what to do, but the heart may be less rational.
I refer to the ‘majus’ bit – the ammi are currently averaging two metres tall and have long outgrown the pea stick supports I gave them. These are autumn sown plants that romped away when I planted them out – I think in future I will make a point of pinching them out as soon as they start to put on a bit of height. I tried this with the spring sown ammi but they seem to be having a major sulk and may never amount to much – too tall, too small – oh the endless challenges of gardening.
If ever there were plants that have their own ideas about where they will grow it is members of the fleabane family – the erigerons. The chances are that if you have bought plants and tried to establish them in your garden they will have shrivelled and died, while their self sown relatives look down on you from wall crevices or enthusiastically colonise the cracks in the paving of a nearby neglected garden. A few plants appeared in the old stone walls that line one side of our road several years ago and multiplied year on year so that they are now smothering the stonework in a fantastic display – and its not just Erigeron karvinskianus, the Mexican daisy – it has been joined by the larger-flowered Erigeron glaucus, the beach fleabane in a perfect floral marriage.
I’ve been getting press releases from the discount stores promoting their ranges of garden products and accessories – some of them are well worth buying including familiar products at much-reduced prices and European brands. Lidl and Poundstretcher have been in touch and Aldi sent me their coldframe (£24.99) which has proved to be robust, roomy and easy to put together. It has been a lot easier to use than some of its more expensive competitors and got my first lot of broad beans off to a flying start – they are now in full flower.