Monday, 19 October 2015

Stout and Hairy

Morning all,

A hectic couple of weeks punctuated by a weekend away which although tricky to organise was well worth the effort. We have all but finished the spring bulb potting, just the last few tulips to slip in a pot and we are done. Then we can start the big winter tidy up and get those over ventilated tunnels re-clad. Unfortunately the weather has been against us on the cladding front, we had been looking at the high pressure forecast on the TV weather and hoping for some quiet sunny days but that nagging easterly wind has kept blowing making the unrolling of a big plastic sheet unrealistic. It’s not even been enough wind to rack up huge numbers on the turbines which makes it doubly frustrating (steady but no records). Now the temperatures will be falling and winds likely to pick up so we will have to take our chances when we can and put up with slightly looser covers next summer.
No news update last weekend as we were living it up on Tresco for a couple of days. 4 pub gigs in three days, 2 exciting plane rides, boat trips, guided tour of the amazing gardens, prehistoric chambered tombs, lots of bird spotting including our first ever sighting of an Osprey (on its migration) and some delicious sustenance. This was our second visit and I think we are getting the hang of it. There is just such a lovely relaxed atmosphere, it’s quiet, little traffic and so well organised. It took less than an hour to get on the plane at Lands End, fly there, get a transfer to the harbour, get on a jet boat to Tresco, transfer to the pub and be sitting in the room with all our kit. It may not be the youngest or hippest holiday venue but they still know how to have a good time, every evening gig was a seething mass of very happy revellers with a few entertained onlookers. Easy to get carried away with the good times, an evening’s testing of the local Oyster Stout (Rebel Brewery) had me swearing I’ll never drink again, in the middle of the night, but luckily I was cured by breakfast.
Just a quick word of warning on the growing banking scams knocking about. We had an attempted attack on Friday afternoon, but not a general internet scam this was a targeted phone attack on us. They had researched us, knew where we were, who one of our customers was (an old one luckily which started the alarm bells ringing) and some account details. The line was that they were from the internet side of our bank and had noticed suspicious activity on the account, they listed the info they had, enough to make them quite believable and enough to introduce some urgency into what to do next, which gets you nicely flustered and more likely to make a mistake. They firstly talked through the internet address we used to log onto the account and spun a quite plausible story about the address being altered by some sort of malware attack, and they needed us to go into the account and change some settings. Luckily we are a pretty suspicious lot and a few bits weren’t quite right, no caller id on the phone call (although this can’t be trusted anyway as they can us an app to give their phone the id number of the support centre), the caller spoke very quickly and wasn’t as helpful or calm as previous contacts we have had with the help centre and the things we were asked to do were just not quite right. Anyway we got rid of him and once sure that the line had been cleared we called our local office who helped us check everything out, putting us through to report the incident to their fraud department. Trouble is there is so little evidence they can pick up to track down the culprits. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but a good test of trust might have been to ask the caller to hang on while you start up the record facility on the phone system, and see if that puts them off. Anyway, take care out there. Trust no-one, except me or course!

Availability highlights
The dainty but hardy Cyclamen coum are showing bud now in all three colours, they should flower from now until April. Aster Purple Dome are just opening on the new crop of summer potted plants.
Helleborus are coming back on stream now as they gather their strength for their great winter display. H. Niger, the classic Christmas Rose, is already producing buds and the odd open flower. Absolutely stonking Ajugas in different foliage colours and forms. Fantastic ground cover and bursting with vigour.
Now available are the late flowering Hesperantha (Schizostylus) in a range of 4 varieties, although there is little sign of bud just yet.
Have a good one, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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