Sunday, 19 March 2017

Fruit Blossom, Seed Sowing and the Joys of Spring

Fresh green leaves are unfurling on the gooseberries and mirabelles. The pluot has burst into flower and I am screaming "No! Not Yet! Get a grip on yourselves and wait a while!"
Pluot
I might be filled with the joys of spring were it not for an all-pervading fear that Jack Frost will sneak into the garden and teach these precocious blooms a lesson or two in timing. 
Pyrus calleryana 'Chanticleer'
If, like me, you garden without a greenhouse in the UK, you are probably exercising more patience than you ever thought possible. Every year I exceed my own expectations in the self-control department and with gargantuan effort, I usually manage to put off sowing vegetable seeds until late March. Even so, my office window has already disappeared from view thanks to a handful of ornamentals.
The table I use for seedlings has been backed by reflective foil and moved to a window. It is ready for action, and where am I? Still in the throes of bare root hedge planting. Meanwhile the weeds are having a field day hurling their seeds willy-nilly and the Wisteria is strangling a drainpipe. All of this activity means that while half of me is hoping that temperatures will not plummet, particularly as I am excited to try my first homegrown pluot, the other half is wishing that winter could last another week or three to give me a chance to catch up with long overdue gardening tasks. 
Unfurling Ribes
The answer, of course, lies in a cloak of fleece for the pluot to snuggle under should the weather turn, and for me to tackle the weeds and Wisteria. The fleece is a must, but if spring turns wintry, I shall be holed up in the potting shed with my seed collection and, joy of joys, a packet of pristine plastic plant labels. After all, it would be folly to climb a ladder to deal with a wayward Wisteria in bad weather, and as for the weeds, well, they can wait. They are, after all, a never-ending task.

27 comments:

  1. Yes it's always a nail biting time of the year Sarah, in case Jack Frost nips in whilst we're not looking. I'm nervously looking at my neighbour's magnolia tree at the moment, which she also shares with me over the fence. There must be thousands of buds shedding off their furry coats, which I hope won't be turned into toast!

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    1. Strangely enough, I was saying much the same thing about a magnolia in Norwich yesterday and I will be saying the same about Wisteria in May. (I still haven't recovered from seeing frosted Wisteria flowers on May 8th in the mid-1990s!)

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  2. Thank you for teaching me something new. I've never come across a pluot before. Getting cooler down here this week. Fleece at the ready..

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    1. I can recommend the pluot for blossom alone - it is by far the prettiest tree in my garden this week. I hope to be able to comment on its fruits later this year!

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  3. Judging by the weather forecast on countryfile, you will holed up in the potting shed this week Sarah

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    1. Thank Brian! I am very remiss when it comes to checking the weather forecast. I really should be more aware of what to expect, particularly at this time of year.

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    2. I have Ribes envy, I wish I had planted the white one.

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    3. It is lovely. Then again, I have yet to meet a Ribes I didn't like. I think that one is Ribes sanguineum WHITE ICICLE ('Ubric'). I grow WHITE ICICLE elsewhere in the garden, but I've never compared that particular Ribes with the one I know to be WHITE ICICLE.

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  4. We have a greenhouse but still put off sowing most things until late March. I look forward to seeing a basket of pluots.

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    1. Fingers crossed Sue. I notice that the quince trees are waking up. I hope it won't be another disappointing year for them!

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    2. Quince did really well for us last year, so maybe this year will be your year and we will have the disappointment.

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    3. I'm sure that you won't have a disappointment! Is your quince mature? The ones here are still quite young, so I'm not expecting a glut.

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  5. The arrival of spring does send one into hyper-drive, doesn't it? After a couple of days spent working in the garden almost non-stop, my body is crying out for a little break. There's no chance of Jack Frost visiting here of course (if he ever paid us a visit, I'd probably have an attack of apoplexy) but there's a chance of just a bit more rain later this week, which would be welcome on multiple counts. Best wishes with the seeds, the wisteria, and the pluots!

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    1. Thank you! And please take it easy in the garden!

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    1. I like this time of year... the garden is brimming with promise and its gardener is hopeful of a bountiful growing season ahead.

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  7. I had to research pluot, Sarah. I didn't know it is a cross between plum and apricot. The blossom is stunning. I wonder what the fruit tastes like. P. x

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    1. It is such a pretty tree! I hope I like the fruit... actually, more than that, I hope the tree bears fruit!

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  8. I can't hold off and have been sowing like crazy! as for your wireworm problems if you sow mustard then they're meant to hate it and go - whether this is true or not I've yet to test.

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  9. Oh, Sara my living room window disappeared too thanks to some potted clematises, roses and impatiens. I do have a greenhouse but the snow lies around it till now and I am afraid to transfer my tender plants there. I sowed some greenness but am not sure it survive in this temperature.

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  10. I succumbed, and sowed just a few seeds this morning! It is so hard to resist the call of spring, but I also have no greenhouse so these seed trays will no doubt be shuffled around from window to window to get as much warmth as possible!

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  11. Ah.....it seems like it doesn't matter what side of the Atlantic we are on....the whole Northern Hemisphere is waiting impatiently and with caution for the coming of "real" spring.

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  12. It's been frustrating here as well. March has been quite a tease - a bit of warmth, then another blast of freezing weather. Last night the top crust of ground froze, though it didn't go deep.

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  13. I share your frost fear! So many tender little buds by this point so we would have much to lose.
    I have started seed sowing in earnest and am now running out of space !
    Loving your white ribes - a very sophisticated cousin to my trashy pink one !

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  14. After having a crazy warm winter, we had a nasty frost and all that new growth was killed. How frustrating for the plants to have to start all over again. I have trays and trays of seedlings - 49 varieties. Why grow just a few when you can grow 49? Makes sense to me! We still have a few spots left at the Fling if you want to join us. :)

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