Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Hairy and Ancient

Morning all,
Potting for next spring now well underway with a good run at it last week. We have cleared another couple of tunnels ready for next week and assuming the next load of compost doesn’t get held up at the port this time we should get another good batch done next week. Time seems to be flying by, another delivery of predators released and another 1,000 million nematodes in the fridge ready to apply through the irrigation when the weather is right. The nematode multi application strategy appears to be doing a good job on knocking back any vine weevil population, we usually see a few adults as we are clearing or moving stock about in the summer skulking about under the pots but this year we haven’t seen any even under the favourites like strawberry and astilbe. We use a mix of 3 nematode species which is supposed to give us some control of a few other compost dwelling pests like sclarid fly, leather jackets and others so we hope to gain there too. It’s not a complete cure-all as we definitely still have leather jackets and crane fly adults about although that may be partly down to us only applying the nematodes 3 times in the spring and 3 times in the late summer/autumn when they are most effective against the vine weevil. Nice to feel we are getting back on top of this pest after the disappointing results from previously incorporating a bio-control fungus into the compost. Live and learn.
Spirits lightened this week after seeing on TV the brilliant pier conversion in Weston-Super-Mare into ‘Dismaland’ by Banksy. I had felt slightly alone in my dismay at the theme park holiday industry over the years but at least it now looks like I’m not alone! I love the fact that tickets are really difficult to get hold of, just adding to the overall experience.
As it happens I’m off tomorrow for our summer holiday, a day trip to Avebury on a guided walk from The Sanctuary along West Kennet Avenue to Avebury henge/village. It’s a monster of a site, dwarfing Stonehenge, just not quite as ‘constructed’ at its centre. Our tame archaeologist Brian is leading and I’m sure will entertain us with his usual enthusiasm and in-depth analysis. Surprisingly we could only muster a handful of participants for a potentially wet six mile wander through time despite the lure of a pub for lunch. Particularly looking forward to handling again the flints he found created using discoidal technology. After submitting his findings, the British Museum have summoned him and the flints for a closer look into what could be an important new Neanderthal site. He has been advised to write it all up for ‘Lithics Monthly’ magazine, as read by thousands of flint fanatics, to make it official. Fame at last. Must get a signed copy.
‘Horizon’ on the BBC iplayer to check out this week, all about the earliest Britons including stuff on the meseiolithic Blick Mead Spring site I rabbited on about last year. I thought no-one was going to get to grips with this one as, for a while, my blog about it appeared on page one of Google there was so little coverage. Let’s see what they have to say.
The Stypes new cd is out this coming week, got my copy already, it’s great if you like energetic noisy music, might get to see them in Marlborough this week as they perform a short session at a record store signing. They might like to visit Avebury, just down the road, I’ll drop them an email. Lithic’s are just so hip. Why am I so lonely?!

Availability highlights
The small yellow Kniphofia Little Maid looks very chunky and strong with buds now shooting through.
We have a last small strong batch of Lobelia Fan Blue just starting to produce its flower shoots for a late summer display. The mildew resistant Aster ageratiodes varieties run a fantastically long flowering period from late July right through to November, forming neat mounds of dainty flowers. The slight downside is the restricted colour palette which currently falls in a white, pale blue, pale mauve range, but they are all real charmers. The first buds have appeared with the occasional open flower. There is also Aster frikartii Flora’s Delight, mildew resistant again, slightly more purple than the ever popular blue Aster Monch and looking great.
Verbena Lollipop is still producing its compact flowers and looking good but only a few left. The very popular straight form of Verbena bonariensis is just unmanageable when it gets towards flowering in our smaller pots so we keep them short and bushy, losing out on the colour in the pot but producing wonderfully strong plants ready to plant out. Helleborus are coming back on stream now as they gather their strength for their great winter display. Absolutely stonking Ajugas in different foliage colours and forms. Fantastic ground cover and bursting with vigour. There is a new flush of Oxalis triangularis growth and flower, looking neat and cheerful. The short neat Geum Koi is still going strong.
Have a good one, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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