Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Hairy Perforations

Morning all,

Not a lot of room for nursery news this week as the plant news is being to take over. The spring sales season preparations are gathering pace as panic begins to set in. I am busy updating some of our printing plates for our wooden labels this weekend and will hopefully get a few printed if all goes well. Unfortunately we lost our young Saturday girl who used to help me out with a lot of the printing and I haven’t quite come to terms with the fact that I am going to have to be a bit more organised myself to fit in a few more hours on this over the next few months. Luckily the over-winter plant tidying out in the unheated and open tunnels is ahead of last year, thanks to sterling work by our staff over these rather nippy months, this should ease the pressure in despatch a bit, which in turn might help the label management, we’ll see.
These days body piercing still seems to be quite popular and as a trendy old chap not wanting to be left out, I joined the ranks this week. The vegetable knife slide off the plate as I approached the dishwasher, landing point down in the middle of my besocked foot. Luckily it landed in a fleshy bit but did leave behind a very neat slit and some colourful language. I have resisted the urge to put a stud in it. Take care out there, it’s a dangerous world.
Made an effort this week to sort out our excess of old pallets by contacting a local wood recycling organisation. We try to cut up what we can of the untreated pallets for our own fuel use but we haven’t kept up with the stack which has grown over the years. It was going to cost way over £1,000 for them to collect them for chipping (there are quite a few) but even so it goes to show how difficult it can be to act responsibly on the sustainability front. We had assumed that the labour involved in us cutting up the pallets would be way in excess of a disposal cost but apparently not. The chipped pallets would have been exported to Scandinavia because there is no local demand down here. There must be some real opportunities out there for a pallet shredder and wood burning boiler arrangement, We are desperately in need of more joined up thinking.

Winter delivery minimum orders
Until mid February (just for the next two weeks) 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 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 great. All the green leaved varieties are in tight bud already, leaving the two variegated forms slightly behind on the budding front.
More of the Pulmonaria are showing bud now, with little splash of colour in the Blue Ensign, a stunning dark blue, the others aren’t far behind with their nice tight variegated/silvered foliage showing nicely.
Euphorbias are looking good, retaining attractive 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.
There are two Lamium varieties flushing into a bright early show with their fresh silvery foliage. 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). Others putting on a spurt are Camassia, Tulip, Muscari, Fritillaria and Ipheion.
Primula veris are budding up well as they emerge. We changed suppliers this year to get a more true wild veris strain, after last year’s slightly disappointing over selected bright yellow ones. Live and learn.
We have grown a batch of Primula Wanda this year which we haven’t grown for ages, an old, traditional and tough variety with early purple/red flowers year after year. They are mostly showing buds and a bit of colour already, on strong plants, although I am hesitant to send them out just yet as I would quite like to see just how big they are going to get! Maybe best if they did this with you and your customers rather than satisfying my curiosity!
Spring is bursting despite the cool temperatures and our Lupins have all made delicious vigorous shoot growth from around the plant base. They seem to do so well as an overwintered crop, producing so many new chunky basal shoots with the potential for so much flower later in the season. We do need to sell these fairly early so that they don’t get too big for our pots, although the early cool weather should help to stop them running away on us.

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. Thanks.

Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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