|Morello cherry fruitlets. So pretty still with their little pink skirts!|
I was away for the whole of the last bank holiday weekend and returned to go straight back to work so, after five days away from the garden, I could really see a difference in the fruit. There's definitely signs of fruitlets forming on all the plum and pear trees. The apple and quince calyces are reliably plump and fuzzy and the cherries look like being a bumper crop too.
My plan to reduce the number of Autumn Bliss raspberries in favour of the new Polka raspberries is a major fail. Once they started growing, I hadn't the heart to dig them up, even though they're occupying the part of the space allocated to my new cut flower patch. As the Polka canes have sent out a good amount of runners, I've left the sturdy ones and dug up only the spindly runners (inspired by my visit to the trial beds at Wisley). A few have been potted up for friends. I think it's safe to say that the veg patch will be raspberry central again this summer. (heh, heh.)
By happy chance I discovered a pristine copy of the RHS Garden Problem Solver in my local library; it's a really informative and well illustrated book although a bit like those medical dictionaries that make you worry about contracting diseases that you're never likely to encounter. Or is that just me? (I worked as a medical secretary in my youth; it became quite nerve wracking.) I was able to swiftly identify my pear leaf pest as 'pear leaf blister mite'. (So obvious when you know.) Apparently it doesn't harm the tree and it's best to remove infested leaves to minimise spread, as long as the affected leaves are just a few - remove more than a few and the tree won't be able to photosynthesise and will become very unhappy indeed.
The curling plum leaves are being attacked by - you guessed it - 'plum leaf curling aphid'. (I'm glad someone has given these pests practical names, so much easier than trying to remember Latin.) The solution is to spray the leaves as they open which is all very well but not if you're an organic gardener as I am. As usual, I will resort to squishing and spraying with water, perhaps with a drop of (plant based) Ecover washing up liquid in it.
A bit of good news: As I pottered around the garden weeding yesterday I noticed a few ladybirds gathering at the base of the plum tree … those aphids could find their days are numbered.
Skimming through this again, I realise I forgot to mention the Honeyberry bushes. They're also doing nicely and will hopefully hold onto their blossom in the teeth of ferocious winds once more ripping through the garden today.