Monday, 25 January 2016

Hairy Roller Coaster

A hectic week of ups and downs. Very cold early in the week, struggling to get the outside work done and fingers mobile in sub zero temperatures yet this morning I’m in the office with the door wide open and no heaters on. Naturally the heating in the weaning tunnel broke down in the cold snap, luckily the warmer section with the most sensitive stock was ok but the frost protection area tripped out. The hot water was circulating but no fans running to move the air about. Electricians summoned and heaters sorted by the end of the day. Over time, water had tracked through a cracked plastic junction box cover down the inside of a length of the cable, filling one of the fan switches with water. A bit of a freak combination of events, which fooled the electrician for quite a while. The fault seems to have upset the control computer too but hoping to sort that out next week.
A tense start to the week was compounded by my impending compulsory spraying assessment on Thursday. As of last November I no longer qualified under ‘grandfather rights’ (being old, and wise(!) enough not to need an official sprayer qualification) to apply chemicals with our knapsack sprayer. I tend to get a bit over sensitive about these rare incursions onto the nursery by anyone looking to test my worthiness, so I was hoping to be mega prepared for a slightly unknown level of interrogation. Needless to say we were so busy I had little spare time and ended up flying by the seat of my pants as usual. Luckily we have a lovely little, very nicely organised, chemical store and fairly limited chemical and equipment range to deal with, so it was reasonably easy to make a sensible impression of how we apply the products we do. The large number of alternatives to sprays we utilise is right up the street of the modern day best practice of pest and weed control, so I pressed lots of the right buttons there. I now officially meet with the standards of competency required, hurrah, now I can relax and enjoy this moment of glory. OK done that.
Caroline is spending her Sunday packing a good sized microprop order for a delivery on Monday. Possibly a moment to rejoice in some early high value sales, compensating for the interruption to the weekend, but unfortunately no, she has just called through to say that quite a lot of the rain last night, is now residing on the floor of the growth room, Ace.
Had a great day out yesterday with friends at Taunton racecourse, perfect weather and lots of excitement. I don’t go racing often but I do enjoy the occasional flutter in good company. There was plenty of ridicule at my tactics of betting each-way on relative outsiders and a run of 11 races on the trot (including the previous meeting) with zero return was backing them up and getting me down. But my luck turned on the very last race and I won back all my dosh. Neither the owner or trainer turned up to see their horse run in a 6 horse race which usually points to ultra low expectations, but the race ended with two leaders falling (all ok) leaving my grey to romp home at 14/1. I tried desperately not to look too smug and failed spectacularly.
Sad about David Bowie’s passing last week, I haven’t followed a lot of his recent stuff but grew up through a lot of his earlier incarnations, a great artist who entertained and pushed back a lot of boundaries. Then a few days later The Strypes release a youthfully energetic, joyous live album to light my fire again. Oh to be young again. Onwards and upwards.
Minimum delivery reduction for the winter.
During the winter our range of available stock is limited by the lack of enthusiasm of a lot of stock to show their face in the cold, but we still have a few evergreen hardy sorts doing their thing and a few early season show offs too. I know it can be tricky putting together a minimum order of a full trolley (21 trays) at this time of year so if you fancy a few trays but can’t get to 21 we are happy to reduce the minimum to 12 trays for local drops and 15 trays for a bit further afield. Drop us a line and we will try and put together a few orders to make it work for everyone.
Availability highlights
Dainty flowered hardy Cyclamen coum are in colour/bud now, including the silvered leaved form too, They should flower from now until April. Not the face full of flower of the pot plant types, but a continuous classy show of hardy blooms. The relatively mild winter, so far, has encouraged the Pulmonaria’s and Erysimums into bud and some are even showing some colour too. They are nice chunky plants with lots of potential and if the weather doesn’t go drastically cold there are more to follow. The Tulips and Alliums are poking through nicely with roots bursting through the pot sides, if anyone needs a few bulbs,
Have a good one, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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