Monday, 14 August 2017

Hairy Rush

Morning all,
It’s a beautiful summers day here and the combines are slogging away after another up and down week on the farm. On a day like this it is hard to believe what a shocker of a day we had on Wednesday, wall to wall rain and very cool and real downer. A stroke of inspiration hit the local farmers here and they gave up all hope of achieving anything practical on the day and decamped for lunch at a local hostelry to drown in each other’s sorrows. A nice bit of ‘all in the same boat’ camaraderie did no harm and I’m sure it was a very jolly affair, after all we all know how positive farmers usually are, It even seemed to pick the weather up a bit, some gentle breezes to dry things out and a gap in the downpours has meant a return to the usual hassle of combine breakdowns and long hours but at least things are moving in the right direction.
Meanwhile we are having our own challenges on the nursery with a little bit of becoming the victims of our own success. On the main nursery we are struggling to keep on top of combining a long season of sales and deliveries, tunnel clearance, potting and pricking out, the week is just too short and it is already half way through August. The cool damp autumnal feeling mornings are a bit early and adding to the panic that there is not too much summer left and we need to get on. You would think after 33 years doing this we would have got the hang of it by now and to be fair we always get there in the end, one way or another. On top of all this the micropropagation unit we also run here is swamped with advanced long term orders, which seems bizarre as we keep getting told that microprop production in the UK is just too expensive. Last winter we invested quite a lot in cost and carbon saving LED lights, a new media store and cold room, a structure to cover the increasingly leaky workroom and growth room and a more effective aircon unit in the workroom which was all going to be the last hurrah to see the lab through the next few years. Now we are suddenly employing and training two new staff members in there and thinking about how we can squeeze more out this tiny unit by possibly reorganising the facilities again. If we could just have a week of time standing still to gather ourselves that would be great but hey ho such is life, in the odd moment of calm (just after Wednesday night yoga when the beer and crisps come out) we count ourselves lucky that our products are so popular and we have such a lovely bunch of eager customers.
Had a tough Sunday last weekend, didn’t fit in as many nursery hours as usual, after a fantastic party on the Saturday night, sore legs and sore head, I must have bumped it on something. A brilliant reminder of the benefits of getting a group of old friends together in a relaxed environment, providing a bit of sustenance and music and letting go a bit, or a lot. Luckily we were all too old to be recording it all on our phones so no incriminating or embarrassing evidence has come to light yet, we should do it again soon. Life is too short, must make the most of it.

Availability highlights
Signs of high summer are here with the last few Crocosmia now in bud and showing colour. The gold of George Davidson is always popular, as is the lovely red/orange big bloomed Babylon. There are a few nice short Nepeta Six Hills and Walkers Low in bud at the moment. The dinky little Junior Walker has just been trimmed again to get another flower flush in a week or two.We still have a few of the pretty Rhodanthemum Marakesh looking good with a fresh batch of bud coming. We have a great range of mini garden Chrysanthemums in bud. Disappearing fast. Naturally very bushy (no pinching required), they will produce masses of flower from now until the frosts (these are not fully hardy plants so will not always survive a winter outside).
We have a few Campanula Pritchards Variety coming back into bud and flower after an earlier trim. Several of the Asters are busting a gut to get into bud, Flora’s Delight is the first to actually show colour, the others are not far behind. The mildew free Asmo, Asram, Starshine and Eleven Purple now have well developed bud and the odd open flower. Best crop ever so don’t miss out. Lady in Blue and Starlight are both looking very smart with loads of bud developing. We have a fantastic crop of Ajuga in range of leaf colours just bursting to get into the garden. Sage Hot Lips has proved very popular again and we have a fresh batch of short trimmed plants with fresh bud on show. Dinky Erodium varieties are back again, low growing and flowering for ages.
Fresh batches of Euphorbia are looking nice in a range of foliage colours. Fresh young plants of the very compact Coreopsis Illico are back on the list with fresh bud appearing, proving to be a popular new line for this year. Bright variegated leaves of the short tufted grass Carex Evergold are looking very neat and smart.
Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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