The June illusion

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Every year there is a moment when I look at my (miniature) vegetable plot and think – I’ve got it right this year. Last year’s debris and weeds have been cleared, this year’s runner and french beans, courgettes and tomatoes are planted. There are lettuces in various stages and some wild rocket and although the spinach is bolting, there are plenty of edible leaves.

Every year I somehow manage to forget that the beans and tomatoes will topple over or fail to set fruit, or totally outgrow the small space they have been allocated. Every year I forget that there are one or two others waiting for the feast. The mice and pigeons, the slugs and caterpillars, an endless succession of small flies/hoppers and bugs are waiting for the darkness to get munching. My moment of smugness is likely to be short-lived, so I shall enjoy it.

Bug patrol and peony joy

Going into the garden for some heavy pruning and edging, I found myself on non-stop bug patrol. The green/black fly have started on the roses, are continuing on all the soft fruit and still attacking the new growth on the maples. I prefer to share the job with ladybirds than to use to insecticide, and the ladybirds are in short supply, so to keep up with them I have to spend the time.

Then there are the lily beetles. If there is anything nastier than squashing a lily beetle, it is dealing with their larva. These are encased in revolting black smeary gunge and need a strong stomach, but as far as I know, there is still no known predator in the UK. I love the lilies so it’s worth it.

There are compensations, peonies don’t seem to be afflicted with bugs:

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