Monday, 9 April 2018

I am Hairy

Morning all,

Watch out spring is coming. It's sneaking up on us hidden behind the rain and damp but the slight rise in temperature has definitely got the sap rising. The buds are swelling in the hedgerows and trees, and the grass is greener. The first swallows have been spotted arriving in Cornwall over the last few days so we will be watching closely for them here very soon. Can't wait, their chattering on the wires over the nursery is so distinctive, filled with the warming promise of reduced fleece coverage. The first batch of bio-control predators were released this week. Felt a bit sorry for them as is was still pretty chilly but hopefully they will still have an appetite and the energy to make a start. We have reverted back to using a few more mixed mini tubes of aphid hunters in the propagation tunnels which we have tried before. The wider mix of species works well with their more diverse palete so hoovering up more pests, but it does come at quite a hike in cost. I particularly like the little blob of sugar rich gloop they put on the exit point of the tube to provide them with a bit of extra energy to get started. Our first 2,000 million vine weevil eating nematodes arrived too, although I have put them into storage for a day or two until I'm a bit more confident in some regular warmer temperatures. They will comfortably keep a week or two in the fridge awaiting the right night conditions to release them. An application once a month through the growing season over the last 3 years has slashed our vine weevil population, but they keep arriving form one source or another so we can't let up. We are working on the principle that the constant background population of a range of these predatory nematodes keeps the lid on things while also suppressing other compost pests too. With luck the wider uptake of this type of control will keep the lid on costs too.
You're never too old to pick up a new perspective. Watched a program on ageing rockers last night just to reinforce any doubt that I've past my prime. It was definitely a repeat, as several of the participants have sadly since left us, including I think all of the members of Motorhead, who made an appearance. One comment, I think it was Iggy Pop, that hit home with me was that initially in his career he would own up to 'what I do' but now after so long in the business this had turned into 'what I am'. It dawned on me why I feel uneasy answering the question 'what do you do', it is too impersonal, I'm afraid it is more tragic than that, this is' what I am'. Well for the moment anyway.

Ordering POS and header boards for your trays of plants.
We send out two similar sets of our new wooden POS boards, one larger sized and another smaller set for fitting where ever is good for you. Feel free to return any unused ones for reuse, or ask for another set if needed. There are also a couple of latex allergy notices in each set which should be displayed to let folk know of the latex content of the pots in case they are allergic. 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
Dicentra spectabilis and Goldheart are both thrusting through with their early buds on display. Plenty of bud appearing on lovely Snakes Head Lily (Fritillaria), looking great at the moment although selling through quickly. Really attractive finely cut bronzed foliage of Polemonium Heaven Scent with buds showing well now. Erysimum are looking great with plenty of chunky growth and bud in all the varieties still available. Primula denticulata looking strong with the leaves and chunky multiple buds bursting up through the compost. Best crop for ages, just in time for the improving weather.
Pulsatillas have burst forth in a range of colours with early flowers in evidence. Pulmonaria are showing bud and colour now, selling through quickly so don't hang about. We still have a few of our first batch of Armeria maritima left now with plenty of bud showing.
The grey foliaged Achillea Moonshine has burst forth with early buds formed already but still nice and short. It'll be a little while before any colour shows but the promise is there. Muscari varieties in blue and in white looking chunky with bud and some colour visible, possibly the last week of these as Vinca minor are coming into flower doing their spring thing stocks are dwindling.
Campanula persicifolia Takion are already producing flower stems with a few buds showing. Delightful pale sky blue flowers of Veronica gentianoidies are on their way with the first buds appearing on monster plants. 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. The Digitalis are looking strong and chunky too.
Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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