Monday, 20 November 2017

Happy Hairy Days

Morning all,
Right that’s got the annual break out of the way and its back down to all the exciting winter nursery jobs. I can’t quite get my head around all the things to do just yet, still trying to recover from the jet lag effect of two weeks in sunny St Ives. I know I’ve got to finalise the production plans for the coming spring and adjust the catalogue and plant lists accordingly so you should all be receiving updates on those in two or three weeks. Then there are all the site maintenance and improvements to get stuck into, mostly to do with digging and installing drains for more water movement and collection which is lots of work but luckily not too much expense on materials. Just one little LED lighting project for this year, the micro-propagation weaning tunnel has had to expand to cope with demand so new lights are being installed to extend the season more into the winter period. Unfortunately they are so expensive that we can only afford to put them in the new extended area at the moment rather than replace the older HP sodium lights in the rest of the tunnel. We have slightly shot ourselves in the foot on lighting energy saving, which in many situations can have an extremely quick payback time if you have expensive electricity and use the lights a lot. We are using mostly cheap night time energy or generating our own cheap wind turbine energy and the lights aren’t use for very long during the year. This all culminates in a rather long payback period when a single 120cm long specialist LED grow-light costs £300 plus fitting.
We had a fantastic break, lots of friends came down to stay and a good time was had by all, We never tire of the view over Porthmeor beach out of the window, it endlessly changes and there is always something going on. By the end of two weeks the elasticated waistband was fully deployed after some fantastic feeding stops. I can particularly recommend Porthmeor Beach Cafe, Porthminster Cafe (take out a new mortgage), Porthgwidden Beach Cafe and two spectacular Sunday lunchtime visits to The Victoria Inn at Perranuthnoe (near Marazion). I get a bit anxious that we might start getting a bit bored of visiting the same place but every year it always delivers. Good spots for this year were Woodcock, Turtle Dove, Black Swan (escapee), Great Northern Diver and some spectacular wader displays on Hayle Estuary. Our tame archaeologist Brian had done loads of research and came up with a brilliant walk (among others) through the entire history of the area from the early Neolithic to the Victorians. We went up to the summit of Carn Galver to visit a Neolithic Tor enclosure with mega views and a propped stone (a very large rock manually perched on a small rock from a similar period). Then we headed back towards the coast path through 3 different sites and periods of tin mining activity and a history of farming and social development from bronze age banks, walls and roundhouses, to iron age field boundary developments and a cliff top fort. We also squeezed in a very nice Romano-British courtyard settlement along the way and some spectacular cliff top walking. Just to top it all we shoehorned a stop at the Tinners for lunch too.
We even did a bit of geological experimentation too, which kept us entertained during the dark hours between tea and dinner. It was something to do with the effect of rubbing two stones together but you will have to wait ‘till next week for that tale to unfold. Ok I know it’s not most exciting sounding break in the world but it had everything that we were after, happy days.
Winter delivery minimum orders
For the rest of the autumn and until sometime in February we are able to drop the minimum order quantity generally to 15 trays and possibly, at a push, to 12 trays if you are very local to Winchester. The range available will obviously slip away as most lines go into dormancy but we have a few lines to provide a bit of winter interest and colour, should you be looking for some hairy input.
Availability highlights
Autumn and winter flowering Cyclamen are looking good. 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 too. 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. We have a few very nice bushy Erysimum Bowles Mauve budding nicely and showing a little colour. We have a lovely crop of Ajuga in a range of leaf colours just bursting to get into the garden.
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. We aren’t about quite as much now but you will be in our thoughts and on the list. Thanks.
Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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