Monday, 8 May 2017

Hairy Birds

Morning all,
On and on goes the dry bright weather, great for keeping the customers in the stores but we desperately need some rain down here. At least the nights were a bit warmer, last week’s hard frost on one morning has really knocked back quite a few plants in the hedgerows. The fresh new shoots on the laurel hedge have gone brown and the ash trees lining the road at the bottom of the valley look pretty beaten up. Even nature can’t always get it right.
Masses of young birds about now. The despatch robins have fledged and you can’t move in there without disturbing the under-your-feet feeding. Some of the girls in despatch have been sneaking in mealworms to help them along, but on the days they aren’t in the robins are sitting on the bench shouting at us for the poor service. I’m not sure if it is the lack of standing water around the place or the over feeding going on but the garden is awash with big birds. We have had the usual pigeons and collared doves but there is a male pheasant and his harem of 6 or 7 ladies, a family of jackdaws, a lone young crow (which keeps tapping on an upstairs window at first light) and even a pair of moorhens which I’m pretty sure are setting up home somewhere close by.
The pair of swallows have started nest building in the donkey shed after a couple of weeks of refuelling after their migration. Caroline’s puddle edge in the yard, which keeps needing refilling at the moment, is providing the building material and we hope it will get taken over by the house martins when they make it back. They are usually 2 or 3 weeks after the swallows so should be due any day now. Another summer is about to get under way.
So busy on the nursery all I can highlight is that we are really busy! Brain strain and fatigue are beginning to take their toll, well that’s my excuse anyway.

Availability highlights
Growth is bursting forth despite the cool wind,
The next candelabra primula types into flower will be Primula x bullesiana and Primula bessiana which are both showing their early bud stage at the moment and the occasion flash of colour.
The classic Alchemilla mollis looks great at the moment, fresh green mounds of foliage with the first flower shoots just starting. We have a small range of five different colours with our Anemone coronaria plants. Growth is rapid and buds are appearing quickly. We don’t do many of these so don’t hang about if you want some. The ever popular Geum Lady Stratheden and Mrs Bradshaw are flushing into growth nicely, and have flower buds too. We have a nice range of Campanula rushing into bud but selling fast. Both the C. glomerata types are showing colour (superba and alba). There is plenty of bud coming on the Achillea range. Desert Eve Red and Rose are both showing good colour and bud. A mass of fresh foliage and buds all appear in a rush with many of the Astilbes, early tight bud is visible now. The blue Geranium coming into bud at the moment is a nice batch of Geranium magnificum. A fresh batch of Achillea Paprika is now in bud and looking good, a hot plant. 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 the other varieties looking good too (in bud). Subtle white flowers with a blue flush are still opening on the Symphytum Wisley Blue, lovely strong plants.
The Rudbeckia Goldsturm is looking great, very strong bushy plants, always a very popular plant.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 beauty. A lovely range of foliage sizes and colours in our Hosta range all showing off well. Erigeron Sea Breeze Mauve and Sea Breeze Pink are in there too. The big selling Erigeron karvenskianus has now made it onto the list, this one just goes on and on. We also have a variety called Wayne Roderick on trial this spring it is much bigger leaved and flowered than the more traditionally flowering Stallone so we will see how that one goes. Many of the Leucanthemum are either in bud already or close to it. Lovely strong plants and very popular.
Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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