Plus pic of pelargoniums for roundell

Bumper apple crop!

This season looks like it’s going to be a good apple harvest and at the moment the fruits are developing and swelling very well since the rains and slightly cooler weather. Although many small fruits fell off naturally in July, I have also removed more fruits from some of my apple trees as the branches were being bent down with the weight of the crop. Reducing the number of fruits seems a waste, but the quality will be better and the tree won’t be as stressed. Although the bulk of apple varieties won’t be ready to pick for several more weeks, the early types such as Discovery are just about ready now and these sweet eating apples are best picked and eaten straight from the tree as they don’t store for long. I’m also growing some Yorkshire apples in my garden and one that is looking good this year is an unusual apple called Dog’s snout. It’s an old apple that has been around since the 1800s and it gets its name from the pear-shaped fruits that resemble the snout of a dog! At the moment the fruits are still green but as they mature they turn a yellow-green with red flecks in the skin, making an attractive fruit. Harvest time is October and the fruits can be used in cooking or if allowed to fully ripen can be used as a dessert apple. It is certainly an interesting apple variety for the garden that is easy to grow and very hardy.

Jobs for the week

Cuttings taken from pelargoniums root very quickly at this time of the year and will establish before winter. Root short cuttings around the edge of a plant pot on a shady windowsill.

As summer flowering raspberries finish, prune out the old brown stems and tie the new green stems to the wires for next year.

Trim leggy growth on hanging baskets, dead head and feed to keep them growing and flowering for another month at least.

Readers’ Questions

Marian has emailed me about plants that can be grown in boggy conditions and would ideally like flowering types. She has been told that lobelia will grow in moist conditions, but isn’t sure if they mean the bedding plant lobelia?

There are some really interesting plants for growing in boggy conditions and many of them produce flowers through the summer. The secret of growing bog plants is to be able to maintain moisture all year round, especially during hot, dry weather. Flowering types include astilbe with its feathery plumes, Ligularia which has both attractive foliage and orange-yellow daisy like flowers and of course many of the primula varieties thrive in damp conditions. Some varieties of lobelia are also suitable for growing in damp conditions, but not the annual bedding plant types. The usual one grown as a bog plant is Lobelia cardinalis Queen Victoria which is an herbaceous perennial that produces attractive deep purple foliage and tall stems or bright red flowers. Grown in the correct conditions it will easily reach 60cm tall and will flower for several weeks. I’ve actually seen this plant grown as a marginal plant in a pond, surrounded by water. Slugs can be a problem in the early part of the growing season, but as long as you control them and give the plant plenty of moisture it makes a stunning display.

If you have a gardening question for Martin Fish please email him at martin@flowershow.org.uk and we’ll print a selection of questions and answers for readers to share. Or, write to Ackrill Media Group, 1 Cardale Park, Harrogate and we’ll pass on your question