I have to admit that I was a little nervous. Would the garden live up to my expectations? Would everything be dead when I came back? My main concern were the plants in containers. In the interests of low-maintenance I only have a few. I've got two blueberry plants because they can't grow in the chalky soil here and I have two courgette plants that someone gave me. I've also got a squash and a cucumber growing out of my compost pile and some plants in raised beds. The rest are growing in the ground.
In preparation for going away I put the blueberries in the kids paddling pool and gave them a really good water because they like to be damp. I also watered the other pots and compost piles. I watered some of the trees too, especially the couple that have only been in the ground since last winter.
One side effect of being away and leaving the garden unoccupied is that a squirrel was in the garden today. One of the cats chased it away, but I think it must have found the hazelnuts. There are still quite a few on the tree, but I think I may have to pick them soon if I want to try any this year.
Today I spotted a fallen pear nearly full size. I tried a few of the ones on the tree and eight (1.05kg) came away easily. They were fairly hard so I will leave them to ripen on the windowsill. Looking back at my notes from last year they started to fall in mid-August then too. There are definitely more on the tree this year which I think is due to the other pear cordon helping to pollinate them. I did an experiment and hand pollinated the right hand side this year to see if that helped. I don't think there are any more on that side, if anything there are less - perhaps because it is further from the other tree. I don't think I will bother next year and will leave the bees to do the work. It's supposed to be low-maintenance after all.