Tuesday, 17 February 2015

More Hairy Valentines

Morning all,
Sun is about to break through for what promises to be a lovely sunny afternoon. I will enjoy glancing out at it as I continue etching our new herb printing plates. When will it ever end? It doesn’t help that I can’t spell onion either. I have to create the templates with ‘inside out font’ printed film which is tricky to read and the o’s & i’s got a bit mixed up. I didn’t even notice when I test printed a few, but luckily our eagle eyed printing and spelling expert did.
The usual busy week, putting together some lovely orders, getting the spring potting started, top speed output in the micropropagation lab and a couple of nice therapy sessions. First session was our relaxing evening out to see Macy Gray play in concert, which was something a bit different to our usual live music fare. Slightly disappointing turn out, but very entertaining none the less. The next session was my quarterly meeting with our NBIS group (Nursery Business Improvement Scheme) where 10 or so nurseries get together to compare figures, costs, slow payers etc and talk over developments of the previous 3 months and our thoughts on the coming few. The usual tips and pointers to saving a bit here and there, an inspiring nursery tour (Lowaters this time), a nice pub lunch and the great comfort of knowing that we are not alone in our quest for survival. The trust level is really high which is what makes it work so well, we can all be brutally honest without causing offense and best of all we are not afraid of being laughed at, which tends to happen quite a lot in my case (in a positive and groovy way of course). Being pre-season for most members everyone was full of hope and a little anxiety about what was to follow, the potential is what we live for and keeps us going. The last few years of disappointment at the end of the season dampens the spirit a bit but the sight of buds bursting still fills us with hope of better times ahead.
It can’t have passed you by that Saturday saw the usual annual rush for roses and pink slushy stuff. Luckily Caroline and I are both a bit anti-establishment/commercialism on this sort of thing and so I think I’m right in saying she wasn’t disappointed in the lack of pink offerings on that day. I am a firm believer that every day is special and personal gestures and flower presentations need to be kept as a surprise rather than produced on demand because of the date and consumer manipulation. In fact don’t you find the surprise is bigger the less often it happens? Flower purchases in our household may be disappointingly rare for some, but my occasional creative washing hanging up can always create a surprise or two.
Must get back to that etching.

There are signs of early growth on quite a few perennial lines and the odd bud or two showing so spring isn’t too far away. All the stock is kept cold and well ventilated so should be pretty tough. As the days lengthen the first strong flush of growth comes along pretty quickly, so do keep an eye out to see the range develop and the spring buds appear, it won’t be long. With the new look labelling and a bit of half decent weather we are ready to put together a great display to kick off 2015. The Erysimums are budding up well and looking chunky, Bowles Mauve in particular is always such a favourite and a great long lasting garden performer. Apricot Twist has a few buds showing colour with loads of promise, with Red Jep and Pastel Patchwork close behind.
The Amemone blanda blue shades are very close to making their big spring show, the odd flower is already showing as the plants thicken up. The white form has yet to show its face but I’ve had a poke and they are not far away. Pulmonaria varieties are gradually coming into bud too, we extended the range this year and I wish I had been bolder and ordered more, they are looking great, lots of promise of chunky strong plants. I have more coming for 2016 as a bit of confidence begins to return into our plant production.
The Lupins are putting on their first flush of fresh, bushy, early growth, they will make monster plants sold from this overwintered stock. We always have to sell this batch fairly smartly as they will outgrow the pot too quickly if left until the warmer weather.
The first few herbs are now available as spring growth begins. It is still early days for mega growth, we want to keep them tough and not too soft to put up with the last of the winter cold, but they are looking smart with their new bar-coded wooden labels. I’ve been etching printing plates all week and will be doing more into the night to try and get ahead.

Have a good one, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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