Monday, 27 October 2014

Hairy Crossing

Good morning all.

It’s still so mild down here, doesn’t really feel like November is about to hit us. I hope it will be gentle with me, I’m fee ling a bit fragile at the moment. It’s not just to do with the fantastic casino and cocktail party we went to last night where I lost all my money in an instant (a bit like investing in a nursery), luckily it was only pretend money this time but the cocktails weren’t pretend. It’s also not due to the previous weekend break we had, on a package deal to Tresco, which proved to be just as eventful as predicted. All flights cancelled on Friday due to low cloud and high winds, got soaked to the skin in a deluge while walking along Whitesands bay before an overnight stop in Sennen and an early start Saturday only to find no flights again and seats on the ‘Big White Stomach Pump’ (Scillonian 111) booked for our pleasure. We checked-in on the quay side as waves crashed over the harbour wall and news filtered through that the ship had not returned from the Islands the day before as it was too rough! Nearly came straight home. In the end it was all very exciting, a bit like a very long roller coaster ride as we crashed through the huge swell. Although there were a lot of very ill people the staff were great at keeping everything clean and fresh and luckily our group of 4 were fine which was a relief as I usually feel sick on the tea-cup ride. Over the next 30 hours we did some walking, a lot of eating with a little something to wash it all down, bird and red squirrel spotting (6 Water Rails which we had never seen before), 3 party/gigs, two trips round Tresco Abbey Gardens and a very quick plane ride back to the mainland. A real adventure of a weekend, meeting some lovely new faces and a destination thoroughly recommended for a refreshing break. Tip number one has to be to take the plane!
The bigger fragility is being felt with the usual impending dip in cash flow combined with not very positive news in the ornamental nursery sector. Hort Week is full of lots of ‘Garden Centres’ revealing their true colours as ‘Home and Leisure centres’ with greatly diminished emphasis on plants and gardens. To be fair, you could see this coming and hopefully it will open some opportunities for some retail plant specialists but for the plant producers it seems to point to a continuous fall in range grown and market availability. On the back of this we are seeing many nurseries being sold off, closed or getting into difficulties (at least one big one is currently trying to take up a CVA arrangement with its creditors to avoid the final crunch), this is after two years of rubbish weather and then a nicer year of disappointing sales for most. Thin or non-existent margins even when times are better, are bringing about the inevitable consequences, what a good job we do this for love and life style! We are just thankful that next season looks so much more positive for us, with plenty new developments and demand building up, just need to batten down the hatches until a busy new year arrives.
Why, when it says ‘Speed up browsing by disabling add-on’s’ does it give you three options none of which allow you to do it? Send me back to Tresco, they were looking for a new propagator.

A new strain of hardy Cyclamen coum (Cyberia) is coming into colour, three colours which are due to flower from November to April. Nice chunky, tidy plants with lots of potential.
We have several new Saxifraga urbium varieties coming out of the micro-prop lab of which we have a few in flower already. They are named varieties but at the moment those names are under review and they may well be renamed by the breeder in the near future to something more attractive!
Erysimum varieties are coming on stream already and the Red Jep have already started producing bud.
Hellebourus are just starting to come ready with a few new additions to the range. We are trying a new H. orientalis selection called Crown Dark Purple which is reported to flower after its first winter, it is certainly coming on nicely at the moment. We have a few H. niger Praecox to try out and three great new H. viridus varieties which are looking very smart and distinctly different from each other. ‘Silver and Rose’ has attractive solidly silvered foliage, ‘White Green’ has deep green leaves with strong cream veining, and ‘Rose Green’ has a more glaucous green leaf with pretty flush of pink in the stems and some leaf veining. Nice short varieties looking enthusiastic in their pots.
Flowers still showing on the Erodium Bishops form which never seems to stop once it starts.
Evergreen Bergenia’s are now making a tidy pot ready to produce their early spring colours. Ajuga’s looking smart, nice pot full’s of coloured foliage.

Wooden Box Collections
We have had a really good round up of trays over the last few weeks but if anyone still has any of our wooden boxes ready for collection please do drop us an email and we will try and pop in sometime and retrieve them. We can then prepare ourselves for some winter whittling and repairs. Thanks.
Have a good one, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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