HOW relentless the heat has been in recent days, I’ve found myself out in the garden from about 6am to 10am, then having to give up and return to my office overlooking the garden.

It has a balcony window, with a slight breeze coming through so I can still enjoy views of my garden. I’ve just felt too uncomfortable to do anything too energetic.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the huge crop of pears on my tree in the garden. Last weekend we ate the first of the figs from the garden too. Whilst the crop is nowhere near as great as the pears, we ate six between us, which tasted delicious, roasted in the oven in honey and served with vanilla ice cream. It is the largest number I have ever been able to pick and eat in several years. Fingers crossed, there is promise of more to come.

This weekend has plenty of garden visiting opportunities available through the National Garden Scheme’s pre-booking system. Choose between Camberlot Hall or Lime Kiln Farm, both near Hailsham, The Oast in Mayfield, all open both Saturday and Sunday and two gardens to see in East Grinstead on Sunday only. Check the charity’s website, to book your slot and see all the details.

I post daily images of plants in my garden on all my social media accounts, one that has been drawing lots of comments in recent days has been the eucomis, or pineapple lily. These stunning pineapple flowers can be grown outdoors in the southern parts of the UK, but in other areas, they are best grown in containers and move to a sheltered position when the weather cools.

For best results, plant in a wide, shallow pan, if possible. A normal-shape flower pot will do, but is less stable when the bulbs are fully grown. Use a loam-based compost, such as John Innes No.3, with added sharp sand or horticultural grit to improve the drainage. Make sure that the top of the bulb is just below soil’s surface.

Just like plants in the garden, keep them well watered during the growing season (April to early October) and apply a balanced, liquid-feed fortnightly. If planted in the garden, in winter, protect the bulbs with a layer, about 10cm (4in) thick, of dry mulch. Alternatively, lift the bulbs, dry them off and store in a frost-free place, such as a greenhouse or shed. I store my three containers in the greenhouse. Allow the compost to dry out and the bulbs will become dormant. Remove all the dry foliage and begin watering again in late March or April.

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