Monday, 4 December 2017

More Hairy Light

Morning all,

Just a quick one this morning as it’s a hectic weekend and I’m due out in an hour for a big family ‘Christmas’ lunch. I know it’s a bit early but a few of them are off on their travels (further than Cornwall) for the festive period and it’s our last chance. Not sure what’s on the menu yet but it’ll be a feast and I will have to rest hard after to recover for Monday.
This is supposed to be our quiet period on the nursery but it still seems like the work is piling up. I had a small batch of new LED grow lights come this week to extend the propagation area so we can cope better with the early season demand for the micropropagation stock. Earlier I spread out our existing lights to double the area covered making better use of our self generated electricity by running them for more hours each day and the six LEDs fill the last bit of the twin skinned prop tunnel. At over £300 each, plus fitting, they are quite an investment for us but the combination of low energy consumption and using our own wind turbine energy means that running them costs very little. The quality of the output is fantastic in comparison with using no lights and just heat to promote plant growth, so we will be able to produce a nice dollop of extra income early in the season of plants that are raring to go. Demand for early season young plants is strong as everyone tries to shorten production timings to reduce cost and exchange rates plus fears on bio-security are helping boost UK young plant sales, a good sign for us but it’s still a really tight sector with cheap imports still causing anxiety. Interesting times for plant producers.
I am working hard on the latest version of our flipbook catalogue, it takes time but shouldn’t be too long before you get to see the 2018 list. I’m just trying to fit it in around getting our young plant and label ordering sorted as well as organising all the winter improvements and maintenance.
This week saw the launch of the 2018 NUS Green Impact programme which we took part in last year. Several of last year’s participants took part in a workshop a while ago to 9suggest a few improvements and I am delighted that many of them have been taken up making the whole thing even more practical and rewarding. I really like the challenges they set to think about areas that perhaps we haven’t focussed on much before. We can score highly on those things we are already really good at but it sets new goals too which keeps things fresh and interesting. If you are interested in what they may be able to offer check out the Green Impact Toolkit at You might not qualify for our area but you can only ask. There is a bit of self inflicted pressure on this for 2018 as we got to bronze last year and I managed to be crowned the Green Impact National Environmental Hero for 2017 so we have to put on a good show. No worries.
Got to go and chop up a bit of wood now and earn my lunch. No rest for the elasticated waistband yet, holiday excess still clinging on. Those mince pies are too good to refuse. Hope you all enjoy the festive build up as the madness gathers pace.

Winter delivery minimum orders
For the rest of the year 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 great. The Cyclamen coum Cyberia series flower from now until April, showing short and dainty flowers and bud. There are still plenty of flowers on the remaining silver leaved autumn/winter flowering hederifolium types too. The Helleborus range is ready to roll as winter approaches, no bud yet but nice plants. The Euphorbias are looking good as well, they will retain a good show of foliage through the winter months before bursting into flower in early spring. Despite the bitter temperatures of last week the Erysimum Bowles Mauve is still in bud and showing splashed of colour. Another evergreen spring flowerer currently looking smart are the Bergenias in three varieties.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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