Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Light and Hairy

Morning all,
A lovely morning here after some heavy showers yesterday and a couple more nice days to come, let’s hope this weather holds a bit longer as we tweak every last bit of growth out of the plants before the cold sets in. Some stock has already come to a halt with the shortening days but it always amazes me how much growth still happens between now and Christmas with some lines. It’s those evergreens that just keep on rolling, some like the Erysimum we don’t even pot most until October otherwise they would be too big by the spring and of course the more obvious winter stars like the Helleborus and Cyclamen coum just come into their own. I would have loved to still have some Schizostylis to offer but they have already flown although if the weather holds we might get a few red ones again in a week or two, we’ll see. Despite reduced activity on the sales front, it’s been a week of building pressure with tunnels still to clear, the potting still to be finished, microprop pricking out still rushing through, the spring flowering bulbs arriving and materials for the ‘quiet time’ projects starting to arrive. The new roof for the lab and growth room is sat on a pallet in the yard begging to be put up and a host of electrical fittings and slotted angle iron are stacked up for the big growth room LED light conversion which the sooner it’s fitted the sooner it will start to repay itself. It has a target saving of 50% of the entire nursery electric consumption although I can’t quite believe it will be that good, I suspect I won’t be able to resist putting up a few extra lights to add to the output potential of the lab which would help payback but bump up consumption a bit. It will take 12+ weeks to get all the lights in due to the amount of shelf adjusting, new wiring and delays to most of the light unit delivery but as usual I will keep an eye on the daily consumption and report any improvement.
Luckily having some big projects has given me the chance for some retail therapy and improve my tool collection, a new wire stripper has improved productivity of the 150+ or so cables needed by the electrician and a mini rechargeable screwdriver and mini ratchet set is helping shelf reconstruction a lot, there must be 1,000 or so bolts to be undone and repositioned as well as 500+ screws to undo and tighten. Tried both out already and they work a treat although I suspect by the end of the job I may well be sick of the sight of them.
Must get on and get some more wood cut for winter, the pile is growing but not quickly enough, due mainly to a number of nursery distractions and my new toys to play with.

Availability highlights
A wide range of Asters are looking great with bud and colour showing. We have several new varieties, many mildew free/resistant (ageratoides and frikartii types). Starshine and Stardust are two of the new ones looking great, while the Rosenwitchel, Lady in Blue and Snowpillow are full one with their autumnal displays. The large intensely purple flowered but compact Purple Dome are carrying masses of bud just beginning to burst open, a stunner.
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 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.
We still have Erigeron karvinskianus  in bud and flower. Prettily scrambling away it flowers for ever. We have a late flush of bud on many of the Anemone japonica varieties. 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 flower on the Anthemis Charme which is a bright new compact variety with numerous pretty small yellow daisies which flower for an age.

Wooden box collections
We have been making a concerted effort to collect up lots of wooden trays in recent 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. Lots collected and cleaned up already but always room for more.
Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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