April has been very, very dry in Glendevon.

What beautiful, mainly dry weather we’ve had! It’s around 26C while I’m writing this, in my short sleeves and skirt. One thing is for sure, the garden loves it!  Although I prefer it just a wee bit cooler... April has been very, very dry in Glendevon and the reservoirs are way below their normal water levels, which is quite scary.  Apparently, (according to one villager who keeps track on precipitation) there was only 6mm rain in the whole of April instead of the usual 100mm. That’s down 94%!! I had just planted some trees and shrubs and they need a lot of water in their first weeks to establish a good root system, so all my water butts (5 with a capacity of 400ltr each =2000ltr) were empty within a few weeks. We even had to water the ‘Beechgrove Garden Bog’ regularly because some plants were looking a bit sad.

But there are good things that come with having a long spell of dry weather, too; JP finished our patio in one go. Because he had to cement the breeze blocks together (all left over from some building work we had done last year) and then apply something called ‘mono couche’ (the white finish), we thought it might take all summer. Cementing on a dry day, waiting 2 weeks for more dry weather, more cementing, waiting 3 weeks for dry weather etc etc. But of course, he didn’t have to wait at all; he just finished the whole thing in 2 weeks! Clever boy!

The warm weather has been great for our fruit trees too. For the first time ALL our apple and pear trees are flowering like mad and it looks really beautiful.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there are 4 stages to successfully growing stone fruit in Scotland:

1   Flowers - if you get a late frost, that’s it! No fruit

2   Pollination - if it is too cold/wet/windy. No fruit

3   Fruit swelling - if it’s too cold or too dry. No (or tiny) fruit

4   Fruit ripening - if it’s too cold/wet/windy. No ripe fruit

Basically it means; don’t count your chickens*(er, apples!) before they hatch (er, ripen)!

I am slightly worried about the pollination now. Usually this is the perfect weather for bees but since the beekeeper left, we don’t have that many bees any longer! I have been using a small paint brush to hand-pollinate, but time will tell whether this is going to be our first year we’ll be able to pick ripe apples and pears!

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