This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
The summer of 1871 will long be remembered for its unusually low temperature. The thermometer at Drumlanrig Gardens indicated 1½° below freezing on June 26, and some of the more tender things, such as Ageratum, in the lower grounds, were "touched." On the same date the Common Bracken (Pteris Aquilina) was killed to the ground, and Potatoes blackened in Nottinghamshire and other parts of England.
Mean temperature for April - min. 34.2°, max. 54.6°. On the 7th, 8th, and 10th the temperature fell 8°, 7°, and 10° below freezing respectively; rainfall 4.01. On twenty-three days of this month either rain or snow fell.
Mean temperature for May - min. 37.2°, max. 65.8°. On the 17th the temperature fell 8° below freezing; rainfall 1.02. On nine days of this month rain fell.
Mean temperature for June - min. 42.3°, max. 67°. On the 5th the thermometer registered 31°, or 1° below freezing. From 2d of June up to the 14th vegetation was almost at a standstill; rain was very much wanted; north and east winds prevailed. Rain came on the 14 th, which improved vegetation greatly; rainfall 3.00. On thirteen days of this month rain fell.
The frost on the 17th of May was very injurious to the fruit crop in this locality. Peaches and Apricots against the wall, about three-fourths of them dropped off after the severe frost of the above date. Peaches are a very bad crop; Apricots a moderate one; Cherries are a very bad crop, except the Morello, which is a fair average; Pears, some of the varieties are an average; Apples are a moderate crop; Plums, good; Damsons, very heavy; Gooseberries, very moderate; Red and Black Currants, heavy; Raspberries, good; Strawberries, some of the varieties very heavy - viz., Keen's Seedling, President, and Victoria (Trol-lope's); the Elton Pine, average; Black Prince, Sir Henry, and Marguerite very middling. The three first-named sorts are always great bearers here; Sir Henry generally bears well also, but the last severe winter was very destructive to the plants of that variety. Marguerite is too tender for this place; Dr Hogg is likewise delicate here. J. Finlay.
Meldon Park, Morpeth, Northumberland.