Monday, 29 February 2016

Old and Hairy

Morning all,

Marginally chilly wind out there today, nice when the sun comes out and you’re in some shelter. Can’t say I’m looking forward to stripping off and running around the hockey pitch this afternoon, not when I could be tucked up in the relative warm here printing labels ready for the coming weeks. Pre season tension is rising, spring madness is imminent and there are still too many winter jobs to finish. After 32 years I should know that we always get to the end of the day, the end of the week and the end of the season without too many unsolvable problems. There is always a hot meal, warm bed and moral support at the end of each day which makes it all manageable and even at times fun.
The glorious new mess room shed is not quite finished but is operational and with a bit of a push this weekend I may just about get it complete. Electrics, plumbing and drainage are up and running without a leak in sight (famous last words). Must order in a little gravel to tidy up around it and make room for the outside beverage consumption during warmer times. We won’t want to get back to work at this rate.
Started the ‘spring’ potting this week so hoping for a little warmer weather to get the new things growing. The winter cutting back and pot tidying is beginning to tail off with just a few tunnels to finish, just about perfect timing. Not really quite enough time in the week after a day out on a pest and disease control conference, a funeral and our quarterly NBIS meeting. Although it can be frustrating to miss out on all that production time each of the distractions had a positive influence which helps immensely in the longer term. I managed to squeeze in tea at our favourite archaeologist on the way back from the P and D conference. I was keen to hear the latest on his trip to the British Museum with his latest local flint discoveries. One hour of intense flint examination, guidance and a nice cuppa certainly made for a different break before the long drive home, beats Starbucks that’s for sure. In a nutshell he has identified a site where our ancestors visited on and off for over 10’s of thousands of years, a hill site overlooking the convergence of three valleys, great for watching out for migrating herds. Flints from Neanderthals (possibly 60,000 years old) through modern humans up to more resent Neolithic times with examples of flints from many different periods. Complications arise because the finds are on the surface and not stratified in discernible layers so actually proving the age is far more difficult but the exciting bit is that you can still see the basic landscape the people were exploiting. Looking forward to publication of the finds in Lithics Monthly in a few months time! Nice to touch base, tea with a mate and distant contact with the lives of the relatives. Better get back in that shed.

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.Pulmonaria’s looking good showing bud and some colour.
The ever popular Erysimum’s are doing really well. Two of the most popular varieties, Red Jep and Bowles Mauve, are looking great, dark green foliage, bushy with bud showing. The Bowles Mauve are showing a little colour as the first buds open, this variety just goes on & on flowering until the frosts. Pulsatilla’s are now coming through nicely with a few buds developing nicely.  The overwintered Lupin’s, Digitalis and Delph’s are all looking full of promise and vigour. Doronicum Little Leo has just got going on its bud and flower production, not many left but a nice splash of early yellow bloom none the less.
The Tulips, Alliums and Camassia are bursting through with roots ripping through the pot sides, if anyone needs a few bulbs, Fritillarias are nicely showing now and there is already the odd nodding bud appearing too.
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.

Have a good one, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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