Christmas Hols, Wassailing and Scale Insects

We hope you have a very good Christmas and New Year and enjoy a restful time.

The Greenhouses will be open as usual up to and including Sunday 23rd Dec.  We will then be closed until Saturday 5th January when we will spring back into action with some  NEW YEAR WASSAILING.

Do join us on this first Saturday of the year from 2pm to 4.30pm making musical instruments and wassailing crowns, and singing with our wonderful wassailing musicians the Appleheads and the Norfolk Broads.  There will  be plenty of mulled stuff and tea to keep us warm.  £3 per head.  Book here.

If you have any tin cans, and spare beads and buttons, please drop them off before 23rdDecember or bring them along on Saturday 5th January. All will become clear on the day!

 

This week in the garden we will finish tidying and cleaning the upper greenhouse. Last Sunday we pruned the grape vine growing at the front. The main time for pruning vines is early winter (late November to mid-December.) Training and pinching out new shoots and thinning out fruit is done later in the year from spring to summer.  We cut back our vine to two buds on each lateral.

 

The vine fruited well this year and showed very few signs of pests except for evidence that there have been some brown scale insects on the branches. There are many varieties of scaleinsects. They are small sap sucking insects which only cause a problem if they are there in large numbers, which ours were not.

 

When considering what options a gardener have to deal with pests it is usually helpful to understand the life cycle of that particular pest. The biology of the scale insect is this:-

 

These sap-sucking insects are protected by their shells, beneath which the mature females lay eggs in early summer.  The eggs hatch in late June-July and the young scales crawl around, but soon settle down to suck sap from the undersides of the leaves. In late summer they move to the bark, where they overwinter as reddish-brown nymphs about 1mm in length. They complete their development in the following spring

 

We saw some evidence of brown scale insects on the vine so we are carefully removing the loose bark on the branches of the vine because this is where the scale nymphs will be over wintering. In this way we hope that our vine will be able to start the new year relatively free of scale insects!

 

We have brought the last of our wooden garden furniture into the greenhouses to dry out ready for sanding down and varnishing. Hopefully this will ensure that the wood is well protected against the elements and our outdoors furniture will last a lot longer. This at least is our aim!

 

Looking forward to seeing you all soon whether in 2018 or 2019

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