Camelia care

This month I’ve been making sure to water my potted camelia every week (even with all the rain).

Monty Don reminded me of this task on one of the final Gardeners’ World episodes of the year. This time I listened. 

Last year I didn’t listen, and all of the buds shrivelled up and fell off. In spring I was left with a single flower. 

So I’m taking good care of the fattening buds, and expect to be rewarded with a splash of pink in early spring, when little else in my garden is flowering.   

   

No more nasturtiums

If only this title were true. Instead I fear they’ll be haunting the allotment for many years to come…

I took advantage of a day off and the dry-before-the-storm (storm ‘Barny’, no less) this morning to continue to clear away the jungle of nasturtiums around the plot. 

But as I hauled in their long branches, and wrestled the wet and unpleasantly odorous plants into my pop-up garden bin, I noticed that they were leaving seed pods EVERYWHERE. 

Nasturtiums are master self-seeders. In fact, the ones I was clearing today were self-seeded from last year.

Immediately after the clearance job I wanted to spread some muck over. But the thought of covering the hundreds of seeds with a warm and nutritious winter blanket seemed crazy. I really don’t want bloody nasturtiums everywhere – I don’t even like them very much!

The only thing for it was to pick up as many by hand as possible. 

  
This was a totally boring job, of which I soon tired. After 3 big handfuls I gave up and hid the rest from view…under that warm and nutritious blanket they’d so been looking forward to!

Next year I must be vigilant and pull out the seedlings as quick as they appear, and avoid nasturtiums taking over and swallowing the plot whole. 

Pomme pommes

Finally the apples are ripe! 

This is our espaliered Braeburn Apple tree. It’s the third year in our garden, trained against a west-facing fence.    

This is the first season we’ve had a decent crop, of about 20 fruits. A few are tiddlers but most are a really good size, and they’re a beautiful colour. 

 Like shop-bought Braeburns they are really crisp, with a clean and refreshing flavour. Just my kind of apple. 

It hasn’t all been plain-sailing; a few apples fell victim to wasps. But actually, even these are fine beyond the obvious injury. 

 

The opposite side of the garden tells a different tale. Our ironically-named cooking apple ‘Bountiful’ has no fruit! However it’s only year 1 for the Braeburn’s pollination partner, so we won’t panic. 

To be fair, Bountiful did sport a decent-sized apple earlier in the year. It was knocked clean off by a tennis ball thrown with accidental pinpoint accuracy by a neighbour during a evening involving too much wine! He felt terrible, but it was hilarious at the time.

Next year perhaps both Braeburn and Bountiful will be brilliant.