Editor’s Note : Many of our customers are familiar with Amanda, one of our bloggers who has been writing for us for some years now. Here’s her latest post. Unfortunately, Amanda has some health and family issues which she quite rightly needs to concentrate on, and so she is going to be taking a break from blogging for the time being. We wish Amanda all the very best and a speedy recovery!

Dear Gardening Friends,

How’s this summer been for you? The high temperatures and lack of rain meant that apart from looking after what had already germinated, grown or been transplanted, I have done very little. Mark, on the other hand, has watered, composted, dug, cut, trimmed and taken care of everything else.

In Ty Mawr, the scorching heat meant that the Rainbow Beetroots almost bolted, but I caught them in time. It was also the same for the onions and garlic. The tomatoes grew on the vines and hundreds of cape gooseberries appeared almost overnight. The leaves started to curl on the peppers, chillies and aubergines, so for the first time ever we had to buy a whitewash paint to protect the plants. Inexplicably, in the heat, dormant Amaranthus and Nicotiana seeds germinated after we pulled the beetroots.

In the second week in July, I harvested more of the new potatoes and we went off back to the New Forest for a week, taking the potatoes with us. They were perfect for salads or a light evening meal.

After last year’s holiday disaster of not watering, Mark set up a drip irrigation system using an old hose pipe that he drilled holes into. He then attached this to the water butt and asked his mum to switch it on two days later. She did, but because Pembrokeshire experienced its hottest and driest week in decades, she and his dad came down three times that week to water everything for us. I told them to help themselves to any potatoes, gooseberries, or other produce they wanted.

Mark’s mum said to me “I had your three apples!”

“But there are none on the tree.” I replied.

She laughed and explained that she’d had them from our fruit bowl inside!

As soon as we were back, a few of the trial tomatoes had ripened, along with two dozen cape gooseberries, and have been continuously supplying me with produce.

The aubergines and peppers are flowering and the chilli bucket has tiny green fruits forming.

The spider plant has made a full recovery and is flowering.

In The Office I have done nothing except transplant two Joseph’s Coat plants into the borders. The accidental wildlife border needs only the occasional dead heading.

The shelves are now bare as plants have been put in their final positions outside.

I’m sorry to say that this will be my last blog for a while. I have some fairly major health issues and so does another family member, so I feel that I need to concentrate on our health.

Anyone who’s read my blogs will know that I love gardening, and I love writing. Some of the best people I have made friends with have been through the T&M community. I really value you too for reading them and the comments you put on my page. You have made me very very happy over the years. Thank you.

By the way, I will be growing lots of marigolds and sweet peas from September, so I’m not going to be completely idle!

Happy Gardening!  Love Amanda. Xx

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