Gardening has been hard work this month, ants in the trees, not enough rain, a compost bin smelling like poo and a million caterpillar eggs to pick off. It's not all roses, but I do have had some lovely roses,
My poor apple tree has had an ants-setting-up-an-aphid-farm going on in it, and as I garden organically I can't just spray killing stuff on it to get rid of the problem. I did try spraying soapy water, and diluted vinegar and scattering cinnamon powder about (ants hate the smell) but the most effective way to get rid of the ants/aphids was to spray the leaves with the hose two or three times a day, then pick off the aphids by hand.
The tree has had a severe haircut (my 'Grow a Little Fruit Tree' book says it's ok and midsummer is a good time for a haircut anyway) and I've had lots of practice of getting over my ant phobia (still not over it).
Once my apple tree was better the Hotbin compost bin started smelling like poo. Like actual poo, or like something had died in it and was rotting, and hundreds of bluebottles were crawling all over it. Joe helped me empty the compost out and spread it on the garden, after lots of looking on Hotbin's website I discovered the base plate was removeable. Under the base plate was loads of smelly, runny compost. I think the house's guttering had been dripping on the Hotbin all winter and made it too wet - I was very glad to find the source of the smell before the neighbours started complaining!
Now if I could make it rain, and stop the caterpillars laying their eggs on my brassicas I'd be the happiest little garden in all of the West Midlands!
I think I have some ginger sprouting up in this pot, which I'm REALLY excited about.
I made a new planter a month of so ago, it's a big wire display basket from a shop, upcycled into a vertical planter. It's doing quite well, the tomatoes are happy and there are peas and spring onions on the top layer, then kale, peppers and beans on the second. I'll make more holes and plant the lower layers later.
I have loads of strawberry plants along the edge of the bed that runs the length of the garden. I've planted some extra plants that were in the front garden (rescued before Joe started digging up the driveway) and I'm removing any old plants that don't produce well any more - you can tell old strawberry plants because they have a big, dark, woody base.
I've added some new plants to the garden this month. A heuchera with tiny red flowers, a purple clematis, and an eryngium called 'big blue'.
That's about all for the garden this month - it's too hot to garden! Here are some photos of the garden in full for posterity.