LAST weekend was our virtual tour for the Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail, so thank so much to all those who donated and helped us end the trail weekend with almost £4,000 raised for Macmillan Cancer Support in 2020.

I am quite amazed how many pears I have growing this year in the garden. Most years all the blossom is removed from the tree by strong winds, greatly reducing the crop. We’ve been very lucky this year, despite having many strong winds, they seem to have missed the crucial time when fruit was forming.

I think there is more fruit on the tree this year than ever before. The tree is one of the best-known dessert pears, a “Conference” pear tree and I’m told it can be found in many British gardens. But how long have we grown it for and how did it get its name?

I’ve read that it came about back in 1888 when the chairman of a conference discussing apples and pears exhibited a new mid-season variety dessert pear he’d bred at his nursery. It won the first prize and became known as the “conference” pear.

I’m looking forward to picking the crop and I’ll be poaching them and freezing them to use through the winter months.

I’ve also got a small Cox’s Orange Pippin which usually produces maybe ten to 15 apples but this year there are none. The apple tree that was already in the garden when we moved here, name of which is unknown, also has quite a good crop of apples on this season too.

It’s going to be a busy time peeling and poaching both fruits for the freezer once they are ripe.

This weekend the National Garden Scheme has a couple of gardens open in West Sussex. First 54 Elmleigh in Midhurst opens both Saturday August 1 and Sunday 2 and 4 Hillside Cottages in West Stoke near Chichester opens on Sunday 2. All entry is by prepaid tickets and timed entry. Buy your tickets at

This year I have been growing tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse, it usually serves as a small shop when we open to the public but lockdown this year put pay to all that. It is very easy to forget how hot it can get in there during the summer months.

A great way to keep the humidity up, which also helps prevent pests, is to water the greenhouse floor, or damp down every day. You can also place a large tray of water on the work bench to compensate. It also helps to check for red spider mite and aphids.