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June 2014

Innes' Diary

Atholl Palace Fountain

August 2013

These last few months have given us superb summer weather, warm sun and not much rain has added up to near perfect growing conditions for fruit and vegetables.

Along the roadside verges wild rasps have been abundant and now, as autumn beckons, the brambles are ripening and they, too, are unusually plentiful. Time was that bramble patches were jealously guarded and it was frowned upon if you harvested someone else’s patch. Tongues would wag and word would be got back to you to stay clear....that’s so and so’s patch. But nowadays with the amount of farmed and imported berries in the supermarkets there isn’t the rush to pick wild berries which is all the better for those of us who still like the challenge.
In the vegetable garden peas have been available for weeks now, the carrots are as good as we have ever had them and the new potatoes (King Edward and Golden Wonder) are cropping well. Beans, lettuce and beetroot are all still producing. So after a bad start to the weather this spring, nature has reacted by delivering great crops and after the horrendous time the farmers had with spring lambing and calving the livestock is also looking in tremendous order in the grass fields.
In the flower borders the season has been tightened up, with the late start, and the effect has been a concentrated show of colour. Some plants like the delphiniums and roses bloomed beautifully but for a shorter period than normal but the overall effect has been to have borders full of vibrant colour and scent and the hanging baskets are the best we have had. We grow quite a few gladioli for cut flowers in the hotel and to try to get an extended season I stagger the planting in the spring. This year it didn’t really work as almost all came out together but what a show of colour...what fantastic flowers they are.
Seamus Heaney has died. I loved the way he used his language......”By God the old man could handle a spade./Just like his old man....But I’ve no spade to follow men like them./Between my finger and my thumb/The squat pen rests./I’ll dig with it.”

So autumn is almost upon us, it really has been a great summer to work outdoors but for fishing it’s been a disaster for us....summer low water levels since early May! Ah well, we can’t always win. Innes