Late summer is now giving way to early autumn & the weather is playing a major part in the change over of the seasons! This week has seen some of the schools startup after the summer holidays & also some warmer weather that is set to change in a couple of days time.
Many of the plants on the balcony are starting to show the stress that comes with the end of summer & their lifecycle. The Petunias, for example, are covered in powdery mildew. As I have grown them for many years it is something I’ve come to expect from the middle of August.
As this summer, apart from a few days in June which were quite warm & a week during July, when the temps surpassed 30 degrees C, has been quite wet & cold most of my Geraniums had a disease which caused the leaves to turn reddish & then die. I can’t remember a year when this has happened so frequently. Most years there are a few leaves that become infected but never as many as this year. Perhaps I have noticed it more this year as I’ve grown quite a few on the balcony railings.
In general, I think powdery mildew has been more prevalent this year than it has for a few years now.
I’ve started buying a few bulbs for the balcony during the last few weeks. Other years I’ve left it much later but this year I determined to start earlier! In the coming weeks, I will buy more packs of bulbs & perhaps some Violas or Winter Flowering Pansies. I like these as they give some flowers during the milder spells of winter. I like to overplant them in my pots & troughs so they serve the function of decorating the pots & troughs during the winter & then with their main flowering period in April/May they help to cover the dying leaves of the Crocuses, Daffs & Tulips.
I wonder if we will see Daffodils flowering in December & January again this year??? I first saw Daffs flowering in the street on the 20th December 2015 & I was flabbergasted! Never before in my 6 decades of gardening had I seen this happen before! Even on our balcony, we had Daffodils in flower before January was out! Again a first!
Tomato harvest time is upon us again & I have started to pick the first off our balcony. There are many more tomatoes to come yet & I will get the grandkids to give me a hand in picking them. Our youngest son, who I gave 10 plants of ‘Moneymaker’, has been harvesting his for the last couple of weeks! He even had the “cheek” to give me a bag with 4 of the tomatoes he picked from the plants I gave him! I’ve written a journal on Harvesting Tomatoes if anyone is interested in reading about them.
In spite of the cold, wet weather Blight doesn’t seem to have reared its ugly head so far this year. Though it isn’t a problem on the balcony as it never affects our plants. Our son’s plants have no protection from the elements in his garden but he hasn’t asked me yet what the dark brown marks might be on his plants! I hope he doesn’t have to ask me either!
When I used to garden on an allotment about this time of year Blight always came along. One year I had 100s of tomatoes when they were attacked. When I began to be suspicious of the first signs I removed the infected leaves even though I was 100% sure it was the first signs of Blight. Within a couple of weeks, I’d lost the lot! I could have cried! I had a magnificent crop of ’Gardener’s Delight’ just beginning to ripen & another, whose name I can’t recall at this moment, that had 100s of heart-shaped tomatoes but had NO resistance at all to blight. It succumbed in just a couple of days whereas ’Gardener’s Delight’ resisted a week or so before going under. I’d got the seeds for these plants from the tomatoes my wife had ordered from a supermarket online. As I liked the sweet taste I saved some of the seeds. I planted these in a seedtray in the greenhouse on my friend, Gerry’s, allotment & they germinated like mustard & cress! They were very strong plants & I was able to pick fruit from them quite early but the arrival of blight killed them in a few days & nearly broke my heart!
Have you noticed how the leaf miner is killing the leaves of the Horse Chestnut trees? It’s looks like autumn under these trees. Here in Huntingdon, where I live, there are 100’s of these trees. A great many were planted during the early 1960s & we have paths on both sides of the roads that have them planted there. There are other trees that must be a couple of 100 years old that are also badly affected. Although the trees haven’t been killed yet it is, nevertheless, having a debilitating effect upon them. As these trees lose all their leaves at least 2 months early they are unable to store as much energy as they would were they not affected. Every year there are less & less conkers & a great deal of those that do ripen are quite small. Some smaller trees are unable to cope with this & die. Even the spring flowers seem to be smaller.
What’s the weather doing in your area of the UK? What sort of plants are you growing & have you noticed anything unusual about the vegetation in your neck of the woods? Please add your views to this thread & together we can paint a picture of the UK.
We have had a more cool end to the summer than usual, here in Kent but it has not stopped the mildew on the Spaghetti Squash. It looked like a new variety with silver leaves! I gave up over the bank holiday and pulled up the lot but there were many nice sized fruit. We have been trying out some new recipes to use them up.
The Butternut squash are not so badly affected by the mildew, if at all, as their bed is more shady, but the fruit are not so big or plentiful.
The roses are still doing well, especially the David Austin varieties; all have buds and new growth to come before the frosts.
In the Lane, the hawthorn berries are ripening, the blackberries and elderberries have come and gone, along with the hazelnuts. We have the sweet chestnuts still to look forward to, they usually start to fall around the middle to end of October. Even a couple of oak trees have started to take on a hint of autumn colour
If any one enjoys keeping a note of autumn or spring changes in UK wildlife, this website has kept me busy for the last few years. The maps the data produce plot a picture of the spread of the seasons across the country