Monday, 27 February 2017

Time for Hairy Alliums

Morning all,
A bit of a grey weekend but definitely signs of spring in the air. I hope Doris didn’t cause too many problems for you, the turbines certainly liked seeing a bit of wind, we nearly caught up with this month’s running average. It’s been a disappointingly settled winter so far down here, so we are not going to get any financial bonus from the turbines this time, it’s a good job consumption is lower so we can keep on the export side of breakeven. We had a very busy week rushing around with orders trying not to get blown off the road. After the forecast on Thursday we delayed our little comedy van deliveries as it rolls about a bit already even before you add the wind. A wise choice in the end I think. To top off the wind worries I had an NBIS meeting with our local nursery group to discuss the latest figures and industry issues and made the mistake of opting for leek and spring onion tart with a side of onion rings. A few too many alliums I fear. Well worth it, the meeting was really productive, a few good ideas to bring home and an upbeat feel to things despite costs for everyone beginning to escalate with the exchange rate changes since Brexit. This is often a good one, there is plenty of potential to come in the season and few disappointments yet!
With delivery demand beginning to take off we are running around trying to finish off the winter jobs before we run out of time. The spring potting started this week once the orders were done, which was exciting, except the potting machine refused to play ball. One of the drive chains jumped a cog or two on starting up and the drill ended up drilling between the pots instead of in them. A mild panic ensued to stop it before any damage was done and then a dismantling operation to uncover the chain, reposition and re-tension it. Naturally the chain tensioner was at its maximum setting so we made do for the moment and ordered a new chain to fit later. We ran on for a few minutes before the hydraulic take-off arm, which pulls the pots off the machine onto the conveyor belt, went on a go slow. It’s been a long time since this happened but I vaguely remembered repositioning a mount before for the hydraulic rocker cover that controls the air going to the arm and sure enough a movement of about 1 mm overcame the slight wear on the rocker. Frustrating stops to the production but the successful repairs were very satisfying.

2017 Catalogue
Links for the 2017 flipbook catalogue (and a pdf version should you need to print it out) with lots of pictures of most of the perennials we grow are;
Flipbook    (Best viewed on desktop or laptop but not currently on mobile phones)
Pdf    (This is a big file due to the large numbers of images in it. We would encourage you to use the flipbook instead saving more of the worlds resources)

Availability highlights
If it is still a bit early but you fancy a smaller order to get going, then we can offer a lower minimum delivery volume until the end of February. 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 ever popular Erysimum Bowles Mauve are already showing bud and the odd splash of colour. Bud also appearing on Apricot Twist, Fragrant Sunshine, Pastel Patchwork and the lovely Red Jep.
Pulsatilla have shot up in the last couple of weeks with masses of bud now showing, a bundle of colour in the making.. Brunnera mac Variegata are fattening up quickly and looking cracking, there are more buds appearing now, with a few on the green form too, always popular early in the year with those delightful forget-me-not blue flowers. Dicentra spectabalis have burst through, their flower buds already in evidence. The white form won’t be far behind.
The Pulmonaria are coming one well with bud and the odd open flower on the Blue Ensign which is the most forward and the variegated Opal and Mageste are both looking smart with bud showing. Polemonium Heavenly Scent are looking great, really chunky and bushy, attractive burnished foliage and with the first flower shoots showing. Both colour forms of Campanula persicifolia Takion are already throwing up flowering stems. A compact and early flowering selection, it will flower on into the summer if old shoots are removed. Vibrant green and lush foliage of Doronicum is bursting forth and the buds of the yellow flowers will be following shortly.

Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries

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