Sunday, 8 October 2017

Hairy end to Spring

Morning all,
What a great week that was. Lots of end of season stuff got finished after what seems like a really long and exciting ‘spring’. I say spring as that always used to be how we described our manic sales and production period in days gone by. Now our ‘spring’ has elongated a tad to run from February to September which is great for the cash flow and business as a whole, but possibly a bit more taxing on the work load front. Anyway this week we finished the years potting with the last of the spring bulbs nestling in their peat free winter homes and the fantastic Erysimum plugs arriving and diving straight into a pot. Despite years of seeing it happen before I still can’t quite believe the Erysimums will be in bud and flower by the early spring as they come in so late and so small but they just keep on growing forming lovely strong bushy stock by the time next seasons sales get under way. We grow them under cover but in open sided tunnels with no heat so they keep a toughness to their habit (other than being grown in the relatively warm softy southern end of the country!).
The annual stock-take also got completed as this moment marks the end of our financial year. It’s always a bit of a slog and feels rather unproductive but it does give us a very useful snapshot of stock levels from which we can accurately update the computer more sensibly order next seasons plugs and pot labels. With the large amount of stock already potted so that it is ready for the spring it all adds up to a scary cost value, just sat out there waiting for the winter to throw its worst at it and hopefully then finding a sales slot somewhere nice. I’m sure it will be fine, it usually all works out in the end despite the odd crop or weather disaster. Just got to get the September books completed and we can see how well the year has gone, We have a good idea how it should look, although when the figures are done it can sometimes be a surprise, suffice to say that we won’t be retiring just yet as none of those surprises have ever been good ones!
Among the many exciting challenges on the nursery this Xyella scare is getting quite concerning. With some host plants being big sellers in the nursery trade, like rosemary and lavender, are we going to see much tougher restrictions on plant movement which will impact hugely on supply of finished plants and young plants alike. A monster amount of propagated material comes in from Europe and further afield as rooted and unrooted material, and with an ever growing range of host plants being identified is anything coming in from abroad safe? If it gets over here the current long term (5 year) plant movement restrictions imposed could be devastating to any nursery, to the point of ceasing to trade. Best not think about it too much.
I also got a new lease of life this week with new glasses collected and bank balance emptied. After managing with an old pair for ages that had got trodden on and rather scratched and mangled it’s nice to be able to see clearly without the mark of Zorro etched onto every view. Not only that but I managed to purchase a new batch of trousers to replace the all the old aerated ones of which I has amassed quite a collection. I haven’t quite managed to throw out my old friends yet but I’m sure they will start disappearing soon.

Availability highlights
Autumn and winter flowering Cyclamen are just coming on line. The Cyclamen coum Cyberia series flower from now until April, showing short and dainty flowers and bud. I can see some bud still coming on the remaining autumn flowering hederifolium types but not enough to say they are ‘in flower’, they have just sold too fast! The Helleborus range is gradually increasing as winter approaches, no bud yet but nice plants.
Another evergreen spring flowerer currently looking smart are the Bergenias. The compact Diamond Drops are looking particularly dapper. We have a few Tradescantia Rubra which are having a late flowering flush. Looking good. The compact and free flower Anthemis Charme are now in bud. They flower for ages.
There are a few nice short Nepeta Six Hills in bud at the moment. The dinky little Junior Walker has shot back after a trim to make nice bushy plants with another flower flush showing. Only a few remaining Asters now and some are still coming into flower. We have a fantastic crop of Ajuga in range of leaf colours just bursting to get into the garden. Fresh batches of Euphorbia are looking nice in a range of foliage colours
Bright variegated leaves of the short tufted grass Carex Evergold are looking very neat and smart.

Wooden box returns
We have collected the majority of our wooden boxes up now but please do drop us a line if you would like us to pop in and collect any more up.

Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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