A plague of greenfly, garlic water and mystery plants: this week in the garden

Clematis, in the back garden, partial shade. Loves to climb.

Its heading to be a great summer season but so far 2017 is the worst year for green fly I've ever seen.  Usually they get stuck onto the tulips but don't seem to harm them and that's that.  But this year, my gods. They are covering any and all new growth on the roses.  They don't seem to be affecting them too badly (yet) and haven't attached themselves onto any other species (yet) but its time for them to go.  I don't use any pesticides so I've been picking them off and squishing them by hand and then spraying with soapy water but this has had little effect.  So this afternoon I sliced an entire head of garlic and put it in a pot with just boiled water from the kettle to steep.

Steeping garlic water to spray on plants as a pest deterrent 

I left it for a few hours and then bottled the garlic water to spray onto the roses after removing as many greenflies as I could.  I'm going to add another spray tomorrow and might have to keep this up fortnightly but if it works, great.

Aside from that, I haven't been too terribly plagued by garden pests although I am worried about the seeds I previously planted in veg bed 1.  Few have come up.  I'm not sure if the last cold snap got them, if it is something more sinister (pests) or if they're just really late.  To hedge my bets I have completed a second seeding of veg bed 1 today, including sunflowers, spinach, baby gem lettuce, sweetcorn and onions.

Veg bed 1

On a positive note, the quality of the soil is looking really good.  I hope I haven't lost all the tomatoes and cucumbers.  Only time will tell.

Also in the front garden, the peonies are looking spectacular.  I notice there aren't any ants wondering across the buds this year which is odd, however they look well and each one has more buds on it than ever before.

Peonies about to bloom (centre and right) 

Last year I decided to plant some additional herbs around the garden and planted borage in two pots I have by the front door.  The leaves came up but they didn't flower last year.  This year, I was very excited to see the lovely blue borage flowers.  Instead, I am surprised with this:

Not borage.  Witches thimbles or fairies caps aka Foxglove

I don't remember planting a species of foxglove (also known as fairies caps and witches thimbles) but must have done?  Foxglove is poisonous so if you have it, definitely familiarise yourself with this plant and keep out of reach of children & small animals.

The apple trees also appear to be doing very well and have numerous baby apples developing.  I know I'm supposed to pinch some of these off to focus energy on the healthiest buds but can't bring myself to do it yet.

Apple Tree 1

Apple Tree 2

The loganberry plants I got this year are starting to flower although I know I shouldn't expect any fruit until next year.

Yay! Loganberry flowers on Lb plant 1

Loganberry plant 2

The alliums are all doing well which I am delighted by.  Most of the bulbs I bought from Bloom in the Park last year.  There are lilies interspersed with the alliums which are gaining height by the day.  It should be a good colour show when they're finally ready to bloom.

Alliums interspersed with lilies

The early potatoes are also growing by the day.  I've already added more soil on top of them (I am not great in doing this) which should help to maximise this year's crop.

Early potatoes

Well, sin é! Hopefully over the next two weeks there will be much more to report and picture.  I'm also getting excited for Bloom 2017 over the June bank holiday weekend.  Enjoy, gach duine!


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