Monday, 12 September 2016

Hairy holidays

Morning all,
Summer slipping away now. Second brood of Swallows have fledged and gone. Still seeing the odd flock passing over  and heading south and a few House Martins are hanging on roosting around the house and making the most of the warm humid weather. All the plans to get the log store filled and dry evaporated with the pressure of nursery life so need to spend a few weekends catching up on that, it’s all go.
Hectic week of potting done, although a slight hold up with the Calais problems holding up our special peat free compost delivery which has been put off until next week. The last batch has just run out so it’s a bit frustrating when every day counts at this time of year to get enough growth on the stock before the cold and dark sets in. Luckily the tactic of growing on our young plants in a big module prior to potting has paid dividends so we are potting a much chunkier beast to start with anyway so all should be fine. The extra process adds a bit to the production cost but we gain so much in flexibility and quality it easily makes up the extra hours. Material wise it doesn’t cost any more as we are using solid reusable plug trays that must be 15+ years old already, and potting compost, which simply means we use less at potting due to the bigger module size. A useful reduction in waste also helps with most plant health issues being graded out at an earlier stage so only healthy chunky stock gets as far as the pot and its compost. Sometimes a plan works out ok!
I have been a bit quiet on the news front over the last couple of weeks due to taking a couple of summer holidays. On the bank holiday Sunday we took our first whole day off since March to go on a group day trip to the Isle of Wight which was brilliant. Ok it did rain on and off which was a bit of a bind as we were on the beach all day but the cricket and ice creams were excellent. Then last weekend was Mums 80th so we squeezed in a surprise weekend (to Mum) in the Cotswolds with the rest of the family which was very entertaining for all. I was led astray by my brother in law into having a little too much rehydration after a long walk with everyone and I suffered for a while after that! You know it’s been fun when your sides are sore from the laughter. Teetotal this week to make up and prepare for the new hockey season which starts in a few hours. Nearly retired this summer, but with Mum still playing the pressure is on to keep going.

Availability highlights
We still have Erigeron karvinskianus  in bud and flower. Prettily scrambling away it flowers for ever.
We cut back and potted a few more Echinacea a while ago and we now have a nice bonus crop of a couple of varieties producing a flush of bud and colour. Lovely plants but they won’t hang around long.
A wide range of Asters are appearing with more and more bud and colour showing. We have several new varieties, many mildew free/resistant (ageratoides and frikartii types) and we are working on some techniques for earlier flowering batches for next year.
There is a very pretty fresh crop of Tiarella in flower at the moment, should look good for a few weeks yet. We have a few pink Erodiums in flower which are looking nice and should keep going until the frosts. Some of the summer potted Achillea are showing bud as they bulk up before their winter rest.
There is also bud appearing on the Anthemis varieties. Charme is a bright new compact variety with numerous pretty little yellow daisies which flowers for an age. The little hardy Cyclamen coum are just getting started now, with a few flowers and loads of bud to come. This range flowers from now until April, a real winter star.
The Hellebores are close to being ready to roll. We have a great new range of orientalis just around the corner with several colours and forms (singles, doubles and spotted). They should be flowering from their first winter so hopeful of some good sales there, They are certainly looking strong at the moment.
Wooden box collections
We will be making a concerted effort to collect up a few wooden trays over the coming weeks before things get too damp and cold so if you have any needing collection just drop us an email and we will add you to the list of destinations. If you are a long way from Winchester it may be easier to stack them on a pallet and we can get a carrier to pick them up, drop us a line and we can let you know the best way.
Win some more medals, from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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