Monday, 29 January 2018

Hairy Devil

Morning all,

Unfortunately last weekend was a bit of a washout and today doesn’t look too much better down here. Still the rain will help top up the water table which was still a bit low and get some of those reservoirs topped up before the glorious spring and summer to come. I’m certainly glad we got a few more drains laid between some of the tunnels earlier this winter, it has definitely reduced the flooding we used to get in some of the tunnels after heavy rain fall and given us a chance of harvesting some of it for irrigation use. We just need to find the cash for a big hole to put it in. One day.
For some reason I’m feeling a touch overexcited, not something that happens as often as it used to in my younger days. I think it’s a combination of multiple positive nudges and the PST (pre-season tension) beginning to mount. Caroline is already hugely busy in the lab with demand and production levels reaching all time highs, so there is a bit of hysteria slipping in from that direction and on the nursery there is the feeling that the spring madness is about to unleash itself with a peak in demand for the hairy pots too. The anti-plastic pollution vibe of the moment still seems to be gathering pace which is definitely having an effect on interest in our hairy pot output. We have had several requests for information from the consumer gardening press as well as an increase in interest from retailers looking for alternatives to the plastic pot. There is a distinct possibility that I might have done something right at last.
At the same time as those extra potential sales, we are still looking how to make it all even better, investigating new and different options for pot labelling, producing new POS boards, developing the plant range offered and checking some other secret options that I can’t talk about yet. Trials and testing are going on all over the place so watch this space.
Discovered a new/old band last week. Not sure how they passed me by but I got hold of the Pure Cult cd and have been playing it all week. The cue was the ‘Lil’ Devil’ backing track on the Easy Jet ad which is showing again. But the scary bit to it all was the maths involved. Their ‘recent’ big hit (She’s Sells Sanctuary) was in 1985, that’s 33 years ago. When I was 18 and getting into music listening, that would be the equivalent of listening to the songs of 1944 while the Pistols were celebrating the Jubilee. Might we deduce I’ve passed my sell by date?
Just to add to the excitement levels I’ve got to say a few words at the launch of this year’s local Green Impact scheme later this week. Luckily I only have to say a few positive words on how we got on last year, which is just as well as public speaking it is not something I relish. The important thing is to be prepared. I’ll wing it as usual, I’m sure it will be fine. There seems to be increased local interest this year as they have moved the meeting to a larger venue, which sounds like good news. Maybe more people are recognising the importance and possibilities of making a positive change.

Winter delivery minimum orders
Until mid 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. It is still pretty early in the season but the range is picking up a bit now and we do have a few lines to provide a bit of winter interest and colour should you be looking for some hairy input.

Availability highlights
Despite the winter weather the Erysimum are looking good, Bowles Mauve, Red Jep, Super Bowl Mauve and Sunset are in tight bud already and the others are looking pretty chunky and not far behind on the budding front. The first Pulmonaria showing bud and a little splash of colour is Blue Ensign, a stunning dark blue, the others aren’t far behind with their nice tight variegated/silvered foliage already showing nicely.
The autumn, winter and spring flowering Cyclamen coum Cyberia are looking great, flowering from the October until April. A steady procession of colour that delights rather than blowing your head off. There is still attractive foliage on the silver leaved autumn flowering hederifolium types too but the flower display for this year is over. 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.
Another evergreen early 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.
Some of our spring bulbs are making a break for it, the Alliums are well up (3/pot) and the Scilla too. There are signs of movement from many more and if we can keep the mice and voles at bay we will add them to the list as soon as we can.

Wooden box returns
We have collected the majority of our wooden boxes up now from last season, but please do drop us a line if you would like us to pop in and collect any more up. We aren’t up and about too much at the moment, but you will be in our thoughts and on the list.
Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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