Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Happy Birthday to you

Morning all,
A bright start to the day with the promise of rain later, my perfect summers day. Sorry if it messes up your plant sales but I struggle under endless sun. Had a fun time on the hottest day last week when we had to cover the structure over the lab buildings. With a leaky black flat roof we set up a shelter over it in the winter, but the sun on the dark roof was overheating the rooms inside and the air con couldn’t cope on the warmest of days (a problem for many years). On one day a few weeks ago when it wasn’t hot but the sun was out we measured the temperature of the roof surface, it was 47C, that’s apparently what you get on a dark coloured roof. Anyway this week we put a white/black total blackout cover over the new structure, it was very hot, sweaty and dusty work getting it on and fixed down, but the effects are amazing, I can’t get over how much cooler it is having a white light reflecting outer colour, it’s so much more than just a shadowing effect and should reduce our cooling bill substantially. Live and learn.
We had an uneventful Green Impact assessment last week. I think we put in so much evidence in our case that there weren’t many questions to find. In a way it was a shame they did it over the phone, I’m sure we could both have got more out of it by being on site and getting to grips with some practical applications and improvements, but perhaps I’m being a bit over obsessive about getting greener. This week we are going with a few of the crew to the local business awards dinner to see who might win the green business award this year. Fingers crossed, judging seemed to go ok but you never know.
Must go, it’s Caroline’s birthday so I ought to make the coffee this morning, it will help her get through more plant preparation for her big microprop order going out on Tuesday. Sounds like a fun day to me.

Availability highlights
Buds are appearing on many of the very popular Sage Hot Lips which is back on the list for the summer, while stocks last. 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.
Echinacea are selling well, We have good stocks of strong plants of this increasingly popular border plant of which many are leaping into bud. 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. Loads of Leucanthemum in bud now. Lacrosse looks great, the odd opening flower with loads more to follow on bushy plants. The Polemoniums are coming into colour now, there are only a few of the delightful Heaven Scent left and the compact upright Bambino Blue looks great. Rhodanthemum is deservedly proving very popular. Low growing silver foliage with the promise of pretty flowers all summer long. Two varieties on the list so far with more to come later. Coreopsis Sunfire are flying out at the moment, and there is a new one on the list this week, Illico a really compact form with masses of sunshine yellow blooms over a long period. Loads of bud already and the odd flash of colour.
On the more subtle end of the flower colour scale is Tiarella wherrii, the foam flower. Loads of short creamy flower spikes make a delightful display and are doing their thing now in a fresh batch of stock on the nursery.
Catananche just coming into bud now, 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, only a few left. The gold leaved Tradescantia Blue and Gold is in bud and flower. A standout plant if ever I saw one. Classic Alchemilla mollis looking great at the moment, fresh green foliage with the first flower showing. A fantastic range of foliage sizes and colours in our Hosta range, all showing off well. To see the colours check out the hostapages in our flip book catalogue. Dinky Erodium varieties are back again, low growing and flowering for ages. The ever popular Dianthus Doris showing their first buds. The scented compact range (Scent First (SF)) are also coming into their own. We have also extended the range this summer to broaden the colour palette.
A mass of fresh foliage and buds all appear in a rush with many of the Astilbes, early tight bud is visible now. 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 Red Jep and Fragrant Sunshine 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 fruit, very tasty.
Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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