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Fruits of the year
12:40pm Saturday 31st August 2013 in Gardening
GINA PARKINSON takes times to enjoy the fruitfulness of this long summer
We have reached the end of August and gardens begin to fill with fruit and berries as plants turn from bloom to seed. Autumn is in the air, especially first thing in the morning in the chilly, slightly misty atmosphere. Although for the moment, once the sun gets up this impression fades and we enjoy another sunny day.
The summer has been glorious and the days feel to have been endlessly warm. I can’t remember spending so much time outside, waking each day to bright skies. There has been the occasional rainy day and many of us experienced the spectacular thunderstorm in the area last week, but it has been a perfect few months.
Our garden is dotted with trees and shrubs heavy with fruit, including plum and apple trees. The plum tree is an old man with a twisted trunk that is beginning to hollow out with rot. It somehow still manages to produce a crop of fruit, poor last year because of the weather but a good amount this year.
Unfortunately the fruit so far has been inedible as it is occupied by a small grub that has taken up residence inside the juicy interior. A bit of research suggests it could be the larvae of the fruit moth, so we need to get rid of all the damaged crop and just hope that the later ripening fruit is unaffected.
The little apple tree is looking much healthier and the fruit is beginning to swell and ripen. Each year we have been here it has carried a few more apples which are tart to begin with and better for cooking, and sweeter as they age so that by the end of next month we should have some nice eating apples to pick.
This year we have been careful to thin the fruit early so the tree isn’t overloaded. The ripe apples can be heavy and may snap burdened branches.
• In the vegetable garden
WE HAVE finally had our first (very small) crop of broad beans. They have been late for us this year because the first sowing failed to germinate. This was down to the gardener trying to be economical and using old seed, which was not a good idea and only one out of about 20 seeds sown managed to produce any growth.
The beans were delicious and worth the wait, but next year I shall be sure to use fresh seed.
The French beans have finished now; a few pods remain but they are too tough to enjoy, so the plants are to be pulled up and composted. There are still plenty of runner beans to use and we are managing to keep on top of them by picking them young while they are still crunchy and non-stringy.
Despite trying to limit the numbers this year, we still seem to have ended up with ten plants where really half a dozen would be ample for our family. Runner beans have been on the menu a lot recently.
• Nursery open day
BRUNSWICK Organic Nursery and Craft Workshop is holding its annual open day next Saturday, September 7, from 10am to 4pm.
Brunswick is a local charity running a productive workplace for adults with learning difficulties. The site has been developed with the help of many local organisations and volunteers and the open day gives visitors the opportunity to see what Brunswick offers and the workers a chance to demonstrate their skills.
Brunswick nursery stocks a wide range of plants including autumn-flowering perennials, shrubs and climbers, winter bedding and spring bulbs.
Among the more popular varieties there are often more unusual perennials to found and there will be special open day offers to look out for. The site shop stocks Brunswick’s fruit and vegetables as well as locally supplied preserves and ice cream. Hand-woven rugs, handmade cards, jewellery made from recycled glass and beads will be on display in the craft workshop where visitors will also be able to try various craft activities.
Brunswick Organic Nursery and Craft Workshop is on Appleton Road in Bishopthorpe. It is also accessible from the York-Selby cycle track. Homemade refreshments will be available in the café throughout the day.
• Allotment show
Poppleton Road Allotments Association will hold their 59th annual show today at Holy Redeemer Church Hall, Boroughbridge Road, York. The show will begin at 2pm and light refreshments will be available. Admission is 50p.
Langton Farm, DL7 0TA near Northallerton will be open this evening from 5.30pm-8.30pm. This organic riverside garden has formal and informal gravel areas, a nuttery and a romantic flower garden with mixed borders and a pebble pool. The garden is open in aid of the National Gardens Scheme and is in Great Langton between Northallerton and Scotch Corner. Admission is £4.
Gardening TV and radio
8am, BBC Radio Humberside, The Great Outdoors. With Blair Jacobs and Doug Stewart.
8am, BBC2, Around the World in 80 Gardens. Monty Don looks at gardens in China.
9am, BBC Radio Leeds, Tim Crowther and Joe Maiden.
9am, BBC2, Gardeners’ World. Exploring the crocosmia family.
9.30am, BBC2, The Beechgrove Garden. The team look at lawn care.
2pm, BBC R4, Gardeners’ Question Time. Bunny Guinness, Anne Swithinbank, Matthew Wilson and chairman Eric Robson are at the Kensington Roof Gardens in London.
3pm, BBC R4, Gardeners’ World. Chairman Eric Robson and panellists Chris Beardshaw, Pippa Greenwood, Anne Swithinbank and Rosie Yeomans answer questions from the audience at Sparsholt College in Hampshire.
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