Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Hairy and Hectic

Morning all,
Another good week, lots done and loads sold which is quite a relief after the long cold start to the year. We are just about caught up on the sales front but the workload is perhaps still a little chaotic. The cold delayed the start of the creation of production space and consequently the early potting plans went out of the window. The chickens are now coming home to roost as the plants leap into growth and we struggle to make up that lost time. The young plant tunnels are getting a bit too overgrown for my liking, there will be a lot of cutting back going on over the next few weeks which will make for lovely bushy plants but a less efficient process which when you are short of time and margin is doubly frustrating. Still at least the weather is with us now and we are very grateful for that.
The trolley and shelf panic of last week has subdued with a drop off of quite a few during the week, still quite a few missing but I know we are getting more arriving in the next few days so feeling a bit more relaxed. I just have to find the time to thank and return those shelves we borrowed from the hero's at the local nurseries who helped out during the crisis. This week's fun was to be had with both electric buggies giving up the ghost. The batteries where really old, really showing their age and I knew that new sets were just on the horizon, I just didn't expect both to go at the same time. We had the first replacement set arrive on a next day delivery only to find the new set still wouldn't make either one go. So we have been towing our trolley trailers around with the forklift which is not great as not everyone is qualified to drive it making it even less efficient. We are awaiting help from a man who knows and hoping the solution isn't too expensive or slow to resolve.
Anyway despite all of life's many challenges next year's young plants are already arriving so that must mean we have to do it all again for another year, It adds a bit of more urgency back into production again, as if there wasn't enough already, to try and deal with the fresh input in the best way while still juggling with this summers output and the current sales excitement. Ace.

Availability highlights
Many of the Echinacea are beginning to bud up now, still a week or two from flower but well on the way. The purple spikes of Liatris spicata won't be long, buds are there on stonking plants.More purple and rosy spikes are showing on the Lythrum varieties. Robin and Robert are showing a splash of colour now with Dropmore Purple in bud but a week or two later into colour. We are into a fresh batch of Catananche which are just starting to send up their flower stems. The papery blue flowers are a delight, one of my favourites. We are trying out another couple of short new Achillea varieties, Milly Red and Milly Rose, both are looking short and strong with bud and colour showing. We have a chunky batch of Persicaria Inverleith coming into bud, don't hang about they won't be here long. On the theme of striking foliage, Tradescantia Blue and Gold is doing its thing. Blue flowers are opening among the bright yellow strappy leaves. Very sunny.
The dinky little flowers of Dianthus deltoidies Flashing Light are bursting open, don't miss out, masses of bud and the odd flash of cerise flower. We have fresh batches of Dalmation Digitalis on sale, the Purple variety is showing flower stem growth but still a little way from colour and the others (Peach and White) can only be a week behind. Very strong plants but not a huge number in stock. Gaillardia showing plenty of bud and colour now, very summery although only a few left. The garden pinks Dianthus are nearly all in bud and smelling delicious. We have a few of the taller old favourites, Doris, Gran's Favourite and Haytor White as well as the more compact Scent First range.
The massively popular Erigeron karvinskianus Stallone is sprouting flower buds, full of promise and the odd open flower. Both little tidy Erodiums are in bud and showing a few open flowers, neat and floriferous. Summery yellows are coming out now with several Coreopsis in bud, including the more upright and feathery foliaged Zagreb. Summer arrives with bud appearing on the Rhodanthemums. Subtle cream flowers of the pretty Foam Flower (Tiarella) are showing nicely with plenty of bud to come.  Astilbe's are suddenly all there and coming into bud. Looking great although not many left.
All the knockout dwarf Leucanthemum are holding swelling buds, not long before they start to open. Two pale yellows Broadway Lights and Banana Creme, the white frilly Lacrosse and the bright white of Snow Lady and Silver Princess. Big bold blue flowers are about to appear on the Stokesia. It always surprises me how big they are, not many left now. Hostas are showing well now, a fab range from our own home propagated stock. There is a jolly splash of colour to be had with a couple of the Viola's back in flower.
Have a good week from all at Kirton Farm Nurseries.

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