In the garden: with Dean Aylett

MOSSLEY town councillor Dean Aylett, an avid gardener, is writing a monthly column for the Correspondent.

ANOTHER year is now upon us but, before looking forward to a new beginning in the garden, I like to look back, hopefully not in anger, at the past year’s success and failures.

I take photos on my phone (this dates the pictures) of plants, shrubs, trees and any wildlife in and around the gardens that I look after and transfer on to a file on my computer. 

This allows me to monitor the flowering seasons of which plants are successful as well as identifying the strugglers throughout each season, so allowing me to plan for the years to follow.

This year reaped not one single pear or plum on my trees, yet the Braeburn apple tree flourished and reaped some award winners that were enjoyed by all.

Tomatoes were a mixed bag, the ones I brought home from  Brittany, although the same varieties that we grow, money makers etc, did not travel well and spent all year sulking in the greenhous.

Yet the same varieties which I grew from seed starting in early January flourished and also became award winners (I have saved some seed from the plants for 2019).

The lawn that I treated by stripping out moss before feeding with a weed and feed mixture looked like it had been nuked and didn’t improve much as the year went on. 

This was probably due to the extremely hot late spring and summer that we experienced.

Cabbages have done well – this can be confirmed by the caterpillars and pigeons that have been feasting on them all year round! 

Hopefully, though, I should be able to muster up enough leaves for the family dinner safe in the knowledge that I won’t need a lot as predictably the children and granddaughter don’t like it!

The warm summer was also welcomed in our community garden at Muddy Buddies. 

The garden was awarded a Green Flag Community Award during spring. After a lot of work and direction by good friend and head gardener Frank Gittens in developing our two new gardens – the medicinal and bee garden, – we also got awarded the top award by the Royal Horticultural Society and an affiliation with them followed. RHS affiliated Muddy Buddies sounds wonderful.

Award-winning honey also came from our bees during the summer, who knows with the amount of local bee keepers increasing yearly, Mossley honey could become the new manuka?  

Not all was a success though in the apiary as sadly we lost a colony of  bees early in the year. 

Success also came in propagation. I took simple cuttings throughout the year with varying success. 

A number of rose cuttings that I took by cutting into ripe and semi ripe straight shoots from an old family favourite rose (Queen Elizabeth has been in our family gardens for more than 50 years) have taken root in a little nursery box  and will be ready for sharing in the new year with good friends and family. 

Happy, thoughtful gardening in 2019.

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