Scotland is blooming

2017 was the 51st year for Beautiful Scotland with a theme of birds, bees and trees.

The top award – the Rosebowl –  the overall winner across all categories was won by North Berwick in Bloom, for the second year in a row.

There are many other award winners across Scotland – from large cities to wee villages. Follow the links to see them all.  All of the participants in Beautiful Scotland undertake work within their communities to help deliver environmental improvements and help make Scotland beautiful.

Entrants are judged by a team of expert volunteer judges on the entrants year-round achievements. Awards are presented to a range of local authorities, businesses and communities which have achieved the highest scores in their categories, with Discretionary Awards given to those who demonstrate excellence in their commitment to the campaign.

The Caley presents a discretionary  award  to the entrant or local authority that demonstrates the highest quality of horticultural standards in public open spaces.  This year this prestigious award was given Aberdeen City Council.  

Look at their portfolio and you will see some of the effort they put into achieving this award.  Well deserved.

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Another weekend another local flower show

This one is the East Lothian Hort. Soc. show in Haddington’s corn exchange last Saturday. There are several such shows every weekend across Scotland just now.  Some go back a long way. This one started in 1838. The Caley website has a shows section and the Administrator will be happy to post photos  of any shows people send in.

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Harvest Time

26 Aug - Victoria Plums

Another warm and sunny day and still work to do on the plot. Whilst not as much to do as earlier in the season, work now involves clearing the ground, pruning and harvesting.

Following the Open Day on Sunday, when George Anderson took a most appreciative group through how to do summer pruning of fruit, we finished the job.

26 Aug - George Anderson - Pruning Workshop

We once again thinned the apples. This will be the final time they are thinned this year. The trees are all on dwarfing rootstock, so it is not good to exhaust the plant by allowing it to carry too much fruit. That can lead to biennial bearing (heavy crop one year followed by little or no fruit the following year) as the tree needs a year to build up its energy again.

The old raspberry canes were cut out and sadly we decided to take out one of the new raspberry varieties, ‘Glen Ample’, which has only been in for 18 months. It had rust and poor growth so no point in keeping it. Glen Ample is one of the best varieties but these for some reason were not good plants.

The other new variety, ‘Glen Dee’, is a bit of thug, taking over the plot and path, so obviously a very healthy and strong grower. Unwanted new canes were pulled out to leave a nucleus of 5/6 strong growing ones on each plant.

The loganberry and tayberry have finished fruiting so the old canes were removed and the new ones are now tied into the wires.

The buckwheat, grown as a green manure, was cut down and added to the compost bins and the ground lightly forked over.

There is now only one courgette plant left, the others all succumbing to mildew.

There was a good picking of fruit today especially the Victoria plums which were ripe and ready and mouth-wateringly sweet and juicy. The brambles are doing very well this year too. There were also courgettes, cabbages, carrots, beetroot, French beans as well as onions and potatoes.

26 Aug - Caley Jam

The Caley now has it’s own jam.

Jobs for next week

Sow green manure where the peas & beans were
Dig up the next two rows of potatoes

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Getting ready for the Open Day

19 Aug - onions laid out to dry

A warm and sunny day for the final titivation of the plot before the Open Day on Sunday. The grass and edges were cut, weeding and hoeing done. The new growth on the loganberry and Tayberry was tied in and stakes were put in for the kale and spring broccoli.

19 Aug - Large, juicy and sweet brambles

Sweet & juicy brambles

One of the purple sprouting broccoli plants was looking poorly and digging it up showed it had cabbage root fly. The onions were laid out on pallets in a sunnier spot to dry.

The new salad plant, Strawberry Spinach (also known as Beetberry and Strawberry Blite), was planted in the high bed. Despite the name, it is neither a strawberry nor spinach – taste it yourself on Sunday and see what you think of it.

19 Aug - Brilliant colour on the Discovery Apples

Brilliant colour on our Discovery apples

Open Day Sunday 20 August 2pm-4pm. Fruit pruning workshop with George Anderson.

All welcome

Jobs for next week

Finish the summer pruning
Dig up the next rows of potatoes
Cut down the shaws of the last rows of potatoes

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Mice and Mildew

11 Aug - Tom's leeks and onions

Tom’s leeks and onions

A pleasant sunny day and good one for weeding. The digging back of the grass edges was finished and another repair to one of the raised beds done. The next couple of rows of potatoes, ‘Maris Peer’, were dug up and gave a good crop from the two tubers.

There was a big disappointment with the peas – the mice had been at them and every single pod was lying on the ground and the peas eaten. We had netted them against the pigeons and pheasants, but that didn’t help with the mice.

Tom’s show onions and leeks are doing well. They had a feed and a water and the leeks had larger collars put on to keep them as white as possible. The ordinary onions were fully pulled out and laid out in rows to catch the sun and dry off.

The courgettes were doing well, but two of the plants have suffered very badly from mildew and were dug out. Strange that the other two plants are doing better with mildew only on a couple of leaves and yet they are the same variety and were planted at the same time. Such are the joys of veg growing!

Come along to our Open Day Sunday 20 August 2pm-4pm.  There will be a Summer Fruit pruning workshop with George Anderson.

Allotment Open Day 2017


Jobs for next week
Grass cutting

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Unexpected crop at the Allotment

6 Aug - Oats & Barley

Oats and barley on the dung heap.

Rain stopped play a couple of times today but we did get quite a lot done regardless.

The grass was cut and the edges tidied up – an ongoing job. Weeding was done amongst the veg and green manure sowed in the cleared ground.

The blueberries are ripening now so we had a first picking of fruit from these new plants, the brambles are ripening up fast and the summer rasps are over. The new variety ‘Glen Dee’ is producing shoots all over the bed and is a very strong grower compared to ‘Glen Ample’ which is taking time to settle in.

The beetroot has done well this year and the French climbing beans are shooting up, quite unlike the runner beans which are struggling a little – not something we have had a problem with in the past.

6 Aug - French Climbing Beans

French climbing beans

We have had an unexpected crop. The dung heap is growing cereal crops – the oats and barley included in the horse feed are appearing!

Jobs for next week

Weeding still
Dig up the next row of potatoes
Cut back the shaws of the early maincrop potatoes
Net the plums – somehow!

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April showers ….in July

July 28 - apples

It was like an April day today, though the downpours fortunately held off until we were leaving.

We have been watering since early on this year, but it seems the plants prefer the rain and are showing impressive growth over the past couple of weeks. The few hot days we have had helped too of course.

The new shoots on the soft fruit finally were tied in today. The new plants have all settled in very well with good growth and fruiting.

The second early potatoes Maris Peer are beginning to die back so the shaws were cut back to a couple of inches and the potatoes will be left in the ground for two weeks to allow the skins to harden. We are also on the lookout for blight from now on.

July 28 - potato shaws

Some of the apples were needing thinned. Better to have fewer larger apples than a lot of small ones and most of our apples are on a dwarfing rootstock so we don’t want to overstretch the energy of the plant. The crop overall is smaller than last year, probably due to the weather being too cold for the pollinators to get to work at blossom time.

The succession sowing of carrots has not done well so had a final try today hoping to get some main crop ones for autumn pulling.

We started again on replacing the edging on the raised beds where the wood has rotted. And the rest of the time was spent on weeding.

Jobs for next week
Sow green manures on empty ground

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Colouring a town centre

Before and after photos of Tranent Civic Square


now much brighter due to adding some seasonal colour in planters. Remember  that  all this needs frequent watering and feeding.

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Living Garden 2017

Living Garden

The Caley is a member of the Garden for Life forum.  The attached “Living Garden” report is a great representation of how this years Gardening Scotland was for the forum. For those of you who could not make it to Gardening Scotland this year, the lovely photos will give you a taste of what it was like. The full report can be found here. 

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Abundance at the allotment.

The rain and heat of the last few days has made a big difference to the plot with good growth on the sweetcorn, and the runner beans and French climbing beans finally getting going.

The courgettes and the brassicas were mulched with compost and leaf mould to give them a feed and keep the moisture in. Each year there is a problem with the courgettes getting mildew early on, generally not helped by them only being watered once a week so we shall see if the mulching makes a difference. The brassicas are growing in the new raised beds. The soil in these will improve as we work it but the compost mulch will give a boost to the growth this year.



The strawberries had a good haircut today, all the old leaves were cut off to allow the new leaves room to grow and will be given a feed.

The rest of the soft fruit was given a feed of fish, blood and bone and watered.

The gooseberries are ready – all were picked, so there will be gooseberry jam at the Open Day!

The grass had another cut and work was started on trimming back the edges – a long job but means the mower can cut them and it is then a quick job with the shears.

And, of course, the weeding: the beds are weed free so now we are working on the edges of the plot and the paths.

First picking of the carrots

A picking today of carrots, sugarsnap peas, broad beans, lettuce, brokali, gooseberries, rasps, loganberries, tayberries, brambles, and plenty of onions and potatoes too.

Jobs for next week

Still to tie in the new growth on the soft fruit
Weeding along the edges
Sow a green manure on the empty ground

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