More wet weather. Last month we had about two and a half times the average for that time of year and this month we've exceeded the monthly average in the first week. I'm not sure what it's done to the garden. The soft fruit seem to be a little later than last year, I guess because they are missing the warmer weather and the sun. There is now plenty of soft fruit in the garden. Slugs, snails and woodlice have got most of the strawberries, but the raspberries have done really well. There are coming faster than we can pick, especially with the rain keeping us out of the garden some of the time.
Redcurrants have done well this year too. The first bushes planted are starting to be quite productive. The Junifer redcurrant was the first to ripen and gave a good yield, enough to freeze some for later in the year. I also harvested a few blackcurrants from the Ebony variety I planted last October in the front garden. These were ready by the end of June and were very sweet.
Some of the climbing fruit is ripening now. The tayberries are ready to pick and the loganberries are ripening too. Even the huge Karaka blackberries are turning black and ready to eat. These are supposed to have an eight to nine week season starting in early July, which makes them great for back garden grazing.
Even the gooseberries cordons have finally produced some fruit this year on the first three that were planted. The Invicta variety produced much more than the Hinnomaki Red or Yellow varieties. I had to pick them yesterday as it was so wet that the snails were starting to eat them.
The soft necked garlic growing in a raised bed is about ready to harvest and those and the Babington leeks are looking like the slugs and snails are giving them a hard time now. The soft-necked garlic that I've left to form clumps around the garden and use for the scapes have died back now. The hard-necked rocambole is doing well still and has lots of flowering shoots coming up. The few bulbs that I planted a few years ago around the Annie Elizabeth apple have multiplied and now there is a large belt around the tree. I also planted some of the small bulbils that it produced last year in the front garden and these have grown into new plants. Hopefully they will all produce more bulbils this year.
The wet weather hasn't been much fun for the moths and butterflies. The scarlet tiger moths are back, but mostly seem to be sheltering from the rain. There have also been some unusual insect visitors to the garden. A few nights ago there were some large flying beetles in the garden flying around the top of the large pear tree. Some of them had come into the house and got stuck by the window. I think they were may bugs or cockchafers (Melolontha melolontha). I haven't seen them since.
It has finally stopped raining, I'd better get outside and pick some more raspberries.
I only have one cooking apple tree growing in the garden, an Annie Elizabeth. It is supposed to be one of the best keeping apples which can be picked in early-mid October and is best used between November and April. My little tree had a tough start and struggled to get going on the chalky soil in the garden - see here for more details. However, this year it has started to thrive and has produced a couple of fruit. They are large and look completely unlike the Bramley cooking apples you find in the shops. A few weeks ago one of them had been nibbled by something, perhaps a snail or a bird, so I decided to pick it early. I had seen a few pictures of the fruit in books and catalogues, but I was surprised by the variation in colour and pattern so felt inspired to take some pictures:
Whilst I had the camera out I took some photos of a couple of the other apples from the garden. Here's the Tydeman's Late Orange, which looks a little bit like a Cox. It's a late desert apple normal picking time is mid October and keeps until December to April. It's smaller than the Annie Elizabeth.
The other standard apple tree growing in garden is a Court of Wick. The apples are small and are an unusual shape with a fairly flat basin at the bottom. Picking late September, storing until October - December.
Seeing the garden filled with apple blossom is one of my favourite times of year. It's faded now and the fruit is starting to swell so I thought I would post some pictures from this year's display. Different varieties come out at slightly different times and seem to have subtly different shades. Annie Elizabeth is the most striking in the garden with its pinky-red blossom. Court of Wick has an almost peach colour to it.