Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Damp and Hairy

Morning all,

What a relief to get a nice drop of rain, well it was for us anyway. I heard that some of you got it a bit heavy at times and there were some pretty major hail storms too. Not good news for the outdoor plants in the garden, on the benches or outside on the nurseries. Hopefully there isn’t too much damage around, we were lucky and just got a really good steady soak on and off for most of the week. Wednesday was the main day it pissistantly fell, finding all those spots we thought were weather-tight. The office sprang an alarming leak through a light fitting, just missing the computer and keyboard. Coat on and up the ladder to find the flat roof main drain blocked and a lake covering the whole thing. The leak dried up after an hour or two draining so no harm done.
Bit of a reminder of ‘times past’ this week with the sad announcement of the Royal National Rose Society Gardens going into administration. The gardens near St Albans were the venue for my first proper job in horticulture, I spent a happy 6 months there as part of my college pre-entry year, now that was a while ago. Hopefully someone will step in and save the day and re-launch or repurpose the site in a groovy horticultural way.
We have our first Green Impact assessment this coming week, it will be interesting to see how positive and excited my student assessors will be. We are assured it will be fun, it will certainly be interesting to have their feedback, I’m quite looking forward to it.
Lessons of the week. Don’t forget to back up. Don’t be tempted into eating a whole tin of beans in one session. Drinking a pint of Chilli beer doesn’t help either.

Availability highlights
Although not in bud yet the very popular Sage Hot Lips is back on the list. Nice busy plants and now the light levels have improved the growth is pretty rampant and buds can’t be far off. Don’t forget that this variety does produce pure red and pure white flowers on occasions but the ‘proper’ red and white lippy ones will prevail throughout most of the summer. We have another small fresh batch of Catananche just coming into bud, a lovely delicate looking border plant with papery sky blue flowers, one of my favourites. This will be the last batch for this year so don’t hold back.
We gambled on a bigger range and quantity of Echinacea this year and they look great and are luckily selling well, We have good stocks of strong plants of this increasingly popular border plant. The newer more compact varieties are proving a great seller, although for me the taller varieties still have the edge on flower size and dramatic effect. Flower shoots and buds are beginning to appear. The gold leaved Tradescantia Blue and Gold is in bud and flower. A standout plant if ever I saw one.
Many of the Leucanthemum are either in bud already or very close to it. Lovely strong plants and very popular.The classic Alchemilla mollis looks great at the moment, fresh green foliage with the first flower shoots just starting.
A fantastic range of foliage sizes and colours in our Hosta range all showing off well. To see the colours check out the hosta pages in our flip book catalogue. The classic garden pinks are looking great, Dianthus Doris and Grans Favourite are both showing their first buds. The scented compact range (Scent First (SF)) are also coming into their own. We should these coming into flower most of the summer if all goes to plan. We have also extended the range a bit this summer to broaden the colour palette.
There is plenty of bud coming on the Achillea range. Just a few of the Cloth of Gold left and a nice batch of Summer Pastels rushing into bud. Desert Eve Red are showing good bud and the odd splash of colour. A mass of fresh foliage and buds all appear in a rush with many of the Astilbes, early tight bud is visible now.
We have a few Geranium sanguineum Vision Violet and Vision Pink in stock and there is bud just beginning to show. The blue Geranium in bud at the moment is a nice batch of Geranium magnificum. Just a few left.
The next candelabra primula types into flower are Primula x bullesiana and Primula beesiana which are both showing their buds and the occasion flash of colour. Just a few left so don’t delay.
The ever popular Erysimum Bowles Mauve are showing bud and colour. A real long term performer with flowers all summer long. Fresh young stock of other varieties looking good too (in bud). The Rudbeckia Goldsturm is looking great, very strong bushy plants, always a really popular plant. Also a fresh batch of the more usual Green Wizard is back on the list. We have two Strawberry varieties which have coloured flowers now showing bud, Roman are pretty pink preceding delicious fruit and Toscana is a strong red. Vibrant are now carrying swelling fruit, nothing to pick yet but it won’t be long.
Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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