Fruit Fly Threat to Cherries

Fruit Fly Threat to Cherries

On Friday I went to pick the crop from the cherry tree that we rent each year.  Sadly,  it was markedly down on what we usually gather due to the wrong weather at the wrong time.  That’s the risk we take and most years we are amply repaid for our investment and it’s good to know that we are helping to keep cherry orchards viable.  However there is a looming risk on the horizon, the spotted wing drosophila that threatens to ravage soft fruit crops and shows a marked partiality for cherries. The orchard owner has imposed strict control measures and so far has avoided infestations, but for anyone with a cherry tree in their own garden, one of the most important ways to avoid attracting the fly is to pick cherries as soon as they ripen, not to leave any on the tree and to scrupulously clean up any from the ground and dispose of them in your dustbin rather than on the compost heap where they may still attract the flies.
cherries

A Private Garden

A Private Garden

A tucked away garden near Battle held an evening open in aid of Great Dixter.  Although  it was not entirely to my taste – taste is a very personal thing –  I make a point of finding the positives, and here it included a wonderful hidden location, well-grown plants and an attractive walled vegetable garden. I was very taken by a nasturtium growing in the glasshouse and am now on the hunt for it.private gardennasturtium

Goodbye Gardens Editor – Hello Garden Visitor

Goodbye Gardens Editor – Hello Garden Visitor

Last month, after sixteen years, I stepped down as Gardens Editor on Country Living magazine. I’ve had a brilliant time, but I decided it was time for a life with fewer deadlines and commitments, more time to spend in my own garden, to visit other gardens, and to travel abroad to see gardens as well as wild habitats. October will be my final issue, but with the way magazines work, I’ve already handed over. I’m still writing – the blog of course and lots of freelancing – but I’m free to fit these in around being outdoors, in my own garden, or someone else’s – as much as possible.  It seems to be working – in the past five days I’ve visited five gardens!country-living magazine

Long May it Last

I’ve been puzzled (but pleased ) by the near absence of slugs in the newly redesigned vegetable plot. I was pretty sure that they hadn’t gone off in a huff because we had disturbed their usual haunts, but it has finally dawned on me what has kept them at bay. It’s the combination of the recycled rough concrete panels that have been used to form the raised beds and the self-setting aggregate surface that we’ve used for the paths.  The rough surfaces of both act as mollusc deterrents – although I’m sure that in time they will use imported plants as their own version of the wooden horse and  mount an invasion from within. In the autumn I will paint the wooden fencing in the same grey to alleviate the urban brutalist effect – just haven’t had time yet. In the meantime it is such a pleasure to sow seeds, watch them grow, pot them on and plant them out without them being chomped to extinction.fresh green salad urban brutalist spinach peas supports gravel path fresh herbs