Saturday, 3 March 2018

Hairy Beast

Morning all,
That was a nippy week, good to get it out of the way and hopefully move to slightly more spring like conditions. Still plenty of lying snow here this morning but the warmer temperatures and drop off of the easterly winds is getting a thaw under way. We had a few brave souls make it in for a shortened day on Thursday to keep the lab running, but Friday saw just three of us (living on site) beavering away on various warmer projects. Electric use was well up despite the lack of staff, with various heating systems battling it out to keep the cold at bay, but I’m glad to say that overall we still managed to generate more than we used with the turbines producing at near maximum output over the last few days. That easterly wind was perfect for a steady drive. Friday turned out to be the perfect opportunity to get going on our new screen printed wooden POS info boards. We had a whole day without interruption to perfect our new skills and managed to just about crack it. We started on the little ’Latex allergy notices’ so any mistakes weren’t too costly and that went pretty well, we got over 500 printed so just need to do a bit of drilling and waterproofing to have them ready to roll. I started on the bigger boards too but it took a while to get a new jig all set up to hold them in the right position so only a handful done so far. The ink seems to get everywhere, the squeegee we use to spread it over the screen does not discriminate in where else it deposits its load and once you’ve got it on a finger all hell breaks loose if you haven’t noticed and pick up the next clean board. I like to think it gives them a reassuringly ‘homemade’ appeal which is ok by me! Actually I’m really pleased with them, they are another step forward for us and I hope you like them. Perhaps a bit more personal input than I planned to get them into a usable state, but what’s new there.
It was so cold this week I broke out the fleece lined trousers which haven’t seen the light of day for years. So much so that the elastic had gone in the waistband warranting the need to attach braces (no belt loops) to prevent over exposure. It’s not a look I would be proud of, but needs must, and when I initially dragged them on I wondered why I didn’t wear them more often. The build up of warmth was almost instant but within half a dozen steps I remembered the pitfall of this design, I generated enough static to run a small town. Every now and then I would earth with a jolt which is pretty unnerving for me and the cat when you have forgotten what you are wearing. In the evening peeling them off was quite a relief although in the dark I was illuminated like a Christmas tree, complete with baubles! Nice to be back in cotton today.
Nice to see we made it into the NFU South East regional magazine last month. The regional area director was writing about putting together an NFU give-away pack of plastic bits and bobs in a plastic bag when he recognized the error of his ways. They were replaced with a couple of bottles of English Wine and some NFU wooden pencils in a sustainable bag, he said Derek and Caroline would be proud of him and he’s right. One mind-set adjusted, keep it up William, now who’s next?

Ordering header boards for your trays of plants.
We are very happy to send out our little header boards that slip into the front of each tray, whenever you want them, but in the interest of reducing waste, resources and sustainability we try not to over produce them. So if you do want them, please don’t forget to tick, or mark, the right hand column on the availability list . Thanks.

Availability highlights
Despite the winter weather the Erysimum are still looking great. All the green leaved varieties are in tight bud already, leaving the two variegated forms slightly behind on the budding front but looking flashy in their fancy foliage. Really attractive finely cut bronzed foliage of Polemonium Heaven Scent looking fab. The odd bud in sight already, many more will appear very shortly. 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. There are two Lamium varieties flushing into a bright early show with their fresh silvery foliage.
Some of the spring bulbs are making a break for it, the Alliums are well up (3/pot). Others putting on a spurt are Scilla, Camassia, Tulip, Muscari, Fritillaria and Ipheion. I haven’t marked the Fritillaria as being in bud yet but there are a few about. 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 plenty of new chunky basal shoots with the potential for so much flower later in the season. We do need to sell these fairly early in the spring 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. The Digitalis and Delphiniums are looking strong and chunky too, along with a few staff members who have been following through their resolutions by dieting and working out.

Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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