Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Hairy Love

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.
About the usual level of romance for the big day here on the nursery. Nice and quiet as it’s Sunday but mostly on my lonesome as Caroline has been away most of the last few days sitting with an old family friend who sadly is slipping away. All is quiet and comfortable with friends and family around which is all you could wish for really.
At least this time there is an excuse not to fall for all the hype around this date. Lots of interesting messages flying about for me in the various advertising campaigns, a dozen roses for £5 at Asda I think it was, there is nothing like expressing your undying love by splashing out on a bargain! ‘Darling you are so cheap these days.’ I suppose it is useful to have a reminder not to take what we have for granted but we are both so bad at doing what we are supposed to, going with the flow never seems quite challenging enough. Just need to remember at some point later in the year to spring a surprise or two before finding it’s suddenly Valentine’s day again! Personally I find a bunch in the washing machine or similar can work well or perhaps some creative hanging up of the washing on the line might produce a smile (especially if stumbled across by an unintended target). After nearly 32 years together even the unpredicatable becomes not, but there is some comforting reassurance in that.
Anyway back on the nursery we have been busy sending out quite a few orders and seeing the sun out today makes me think Spring isn’t too far away. We are still manically trying to be all prepared and ready to roll but I can feel time running out. The new mess room shed is mostly up, despite the pretty horrible weather for construction last week. The double glazed window and doors are in so we are nearly water tight. Roof insulation went on Thursday but it got too wet to get the final felt covering on, hence the ‘nearly watertight’. Dried out the inside easily and got all the plumbing and electric holes cut, floor lined with thin ply yesterday and hoping to cut and fit the vinyl floor covering later today. New little insulated eco- water heater is here, for fitting over the reused sink from the old mess room which we remounted in a second-hand kitchen unit. I’m thinking of moving in next week and renting out the house.
Looks like a bright and frosty couple of days coming up, north winds will add an extra chill but it looks like mild weather again later in the week. So I will need to blow out the irrigation lines again later today to keep them in one piece before recharging them again later. Bit of a pain but worth it when I look at the lovely fresh spring growth coming on a lot of stock. We have a load of young plants we over wintered in really big modules this year, after I got a bit over excited with summer plant purchasing. They are looking great and any minute now we are going to have to hit the potting hard. Never quite sure of the right moment to start, too early and they sit about waiting to get away and the compost bill comes too early, too late and we struggle to find the time to keep up with the workload. Whenever we start it will be a joy potting such good looking stock.

Availability highlights
Still early days yet, but there are a lot of early signs of plant activity, many not quite ready for the list but it won’t be long if the weather doesn’t take a dive. The relatively mild winter, so far, has encouraged the Pulmonaria’s and Erysimums into bud and some are even showing some colour too.
The Tulips and Alliums are bursting through with roots ripping through the pot sides, if anyone needs a few bulbs, Fritillarias are nicely showing now, it will be a little while before many buds show but looking full of promise.
Evergreen Liriope muscari looking verdant, definitely the best crop of these we have ever grow, always a tricky one to get leaf and roots both doing well at the same time! We have changed the production process completely and although a bit longer and more effort the results are really satisfying.

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. Just a week or two for this offer to run then we hit Spring proper!

Have a good one, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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