Monday, 19 September 2016

Hairy sustainability at an old age

Morning all,

 Now the house martins have gone too and suddenly after a sweltering week, today feels much more autumnal. A relief in some ways but a shock to have to find more clothes to put on. Good weather for hockey and after a resounding 11-2 victory last weekend we have a tougher match to look forward to tomorrow, just hoping that this time we won’t get so wet. I think that was my first win for over a year, last year was not one to remember too fondly, only won once and I wasn’t playing that week, then broke my finger towards the seasons end just to cap it off. Fed up big time and an end to any hopes of a successful hand modelling career.
Very busy finishing off the bulk of the summer and early autumn potting after the delayed compost delivery eventually arrived on Monday evening. A few more days to go now but we will need to dip into the next container of pots that docked on Friday which must indicate good news on the sales front for the summer but has meant an extra pre-winter purchase which always dents the cash-flow somewhat. We always start getting a bit twitchy at this time of year as the overdraft starts to edge upwards again and the likelihood of any late sales surge fade into the afternoon sunset. Suddenly every purchase gets looked at a bit harder and thoughts turn to ever more efficiencies to build into next year’s production. At least now we have a few minutes to think about it rather than leaping from one urgent job to another.
Part of our ongoing development involved a meeting last week of the local Sustainable Business Partnership at Sparsholt College to see a few presentations on all the latest environmental news. We have taken part in quite a few local initiatives over the years, PLATO Sustain was a very good one and we learnt a lot in that group, 10:10 was a national campaign to highlight carbon reduction but only really concentrating on the achievements made around 2010, and Carbon Smart Winchester was a locally funded audit scheme which sought to recognise carbon reduction achievements in the area. Both the 10:10 and Carbon Smart schemes were nice to be a part of and it was great to be able to show a gold certificate recognising our achievements but they were a bit too focussed on carbon reduction which is only a part of the sustainability agenda and neither were very proactive once you got to the top, on inspiring greater things. Both schemes have fizzled out now, in this area anyway, so it was great to see the NUS (yes the National Union of Students) promoting a Winchester version of their Green Impact Scheme which has a much broader sustainability scope and what appears to be a more proactive involvement in spreading ideas and inspiration among the participants. Apparently students were asked what they wanted the NUS to put their efforts into and this was a big concern. There is quite a bit of student training and involvement in the auditing and knowledge transfer which is great experience for them and keeps costs for the scheme admin low. It will be interesting to see how it goes and get some youthful input, we’ll certainly have a go at it.

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).
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 open and loads of bud to come. This range flowers from now until April, a real winter star.
The Hellebores are coming on well and a few are ready to roll. We have a great new range of orientalis 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 are 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.
from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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