I hope that by now your garden is awash with beautiful flowering plants and producing tasty fruit and vegetables. Any plant that is reluctant to bloom may be encouraged by giving it a feed of sulphate of potash (available from garden centres) or tomato food which is also high in potash. When the first flush of roses is over, prune back lightly and feed with a rose fertilizer to encourage more blooms. Rose fertilizer is also high in potash but is blended specifically for roses.
Some plants are already producing seed and these can become free plants for next year. Don't store seeds in plastic bags, as they tend to rot in the humid atmosphere created. Instead, why not use the envelopes received with junk mail. It is a wonderful feeling to take an annoyance such as junk mail and use it to my own advantage. Keep in a cool and dry place or, if you have room, in the fridge.
Fuchsias are one of the most versatile plants in the garden; they thrive in pots or in the ground, come in many colours and flower shapes, are one of the easiest plants to take cuttings from and some are hardy and will survive even winters such as the last few years if planted in the ground. To see examples of this extraordinary plant visit the annual fuchsia show at Oakfield Primary School, Ryde (formerly Bishop Lovett School) on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 July.
By this time of year, I tend to forget that the time for sowing seeds is not over. Biennials such as Wallflowers, Sweet Williams and Stocks can be sewn now, as well as seeds for Japanese Overwintering Onions. The advantage of growing this type of onion is that they are using ground that is becoming free and are months earlier than summer onions for harvesting. The bulbs are smaller, but the whole onion can be eaten including the leaves.
Hanging around at the Hare and Hounds This month’s Island Story features pubs, a grisly 18th century murder in the wilds of Arreton and the demise of a local brewery.