Monday, 16 January 2017

Chilled and Hairy

Morning all,

Nice day down here on Saturday, had a very pleasant run around taking a 7-0 thrashing from Chichester, sun was out and not too cold. But today is not so nice, very damp and chilly out there so no outdoor heroics from me that’s for sure. Just contemplating an afternoon’s shelf construction in the new lab store, which is at long last, now nearing completion. The heating works in there so I should get a nice, long and cosy, undisturbed run at it and perhaps tomorrow clear out all the lab stock which is cluttering up despatch. Very pleased with the reuse of materials in the new store, we managed to construct a big new racking system for micro-prop media storage and a couple of shelving units out of the old materials we dismantled in the old cold store. It might look a bit second hand and took a bit of adjusting and constructing but it does the job. The cold room is now complete with the replaced chiller unit running well and helping to heat up the rest of the store too. As the chiller cools it removes heat from the cold room it would normally vent the excess heat outside, but we have vented it to stay inside to reduce the heat demand in the main store. As we only use the chiller in the winter there is no real issue with producing too much heat in there at other times of the year when it could get too warm. We have also set up the cold room to be able to run in the summer at 21C, so converting it into a growth room and getting more use out of the unit and hopefully more return from our investment. We only need a couple more log cabins and we could also double up as a winter wonderland attraction at Christmas.

2017 Catalogue and prices
By now I would normally have sent out our 2017 catalogue and price list but I have to apologise for a slight delay. It’s all my fault, I may have got a bit over ambitious with a few catalogue changes for the coming season. Rather than sending out a simple paper version I have opted to produce an online flipbook into which I can put images of almost all the plants we produce so you can see how the plants eventually flower etc. In theory this would save a lot of time setting out the paper version and printing it off as well as being more sustainable by using fewer materials. Needless to say this hasn’t gone perhaps quite as smoothly as hoped, such are my skills as the company IT manager, but we are now very close to finishing and you should be able to see something very soon.
We have started sending out a few 2017 orders already so you will need to bear in mind that our prices have all increased by 5p a pot to help cover the myriad of increasing costs following the Living Wage changes, oil price rises and exchange rate fall out.

Availability highlights
We have a few winter performers on offer and if anyone would like to make up a smaller order we will do our best to get it to you asap. Ideally a 15 tray minimum is best but we could stretch to 12 trays if you are fairly local or we are passing by. The Hellebores are coming on well and a few are ready to roll. Helleborus niger Advent Star is a very early flowering form and has plenty of flower and bud showing already, so don’t miss out on that one. We have a great new range of orientalis with several colours and forms (singles, doubles and spotted). We have already spotted the occasional bud, so hopeful of some good sales to come there, They are certainly looking strong at the moment.
The ever popular Erysimum Bowles Mauve are already in bud, it will be a while before the colour shows but the plants are strong, hardy and bushy. The other varieties look good too, but it should be a few weeks before bud appears on those. The Pulmonaria are coming one well with a little bud beginning to appear on a few. Blue Ensign is the most forward and the variegated Opal is looking smart. Our own saved seed of local wild primrose from the farm wood are looking chunky and not far off flowering, the odd bud has opened already.
Ajuga have attractive evergreen foliage and look good through the cooler months, we have a good range ready now. The other varieties we have listed are looking green and full of promise, many staying evergreen despite the cold. Although some plants may look sad for a while after a hard frost, they soon perk up again if left to recover in their own time. Ideally they benefit from a bit of protection from the harshest conditions to keep up the good looks, but try to avoid too much warmth.

Wooden box collections
We have been collected up lots of wooden trays in recent weeks, so if you have any needing collection just drop us an email and we will add you to the list of destinations.

Have a good year and week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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