A NEW SEASON OF ENGLISH APPLES!

By Richard | August 19th, 2014

Here at Crown Nursery we are passionate about fruit, and it is always an exciting time when the first apples of a new season are ready. There is something wonderful about picking a fruit off the tree when it is still warm from the sun.

Early-season apples will not keep for very long – often only a couple of weeks – so they are best enjoyed straight from the tree.  We have an Apple-Tasting Shed here at the nursery – which enables us to demonstrate to our customers the huge range of apples we grow – as well the opportunity to try before you buy!!

Discovery is always one of the early-ripening favourites – a local Essex apple – although originally raised in Suffolk – this is a cross between two old English apples – Beauty of Bath and Worcester Pearmain.  Completely covered in a red flush – the flesh is sweet and juicy – and turns pink-stained as the air dries it out.

Over the next few weeks, we will add more varieites as they come into season – so do come down and take a look – an ideal time to start planning your autumn planting.

UNTIL THEN,

RICHARD

AUGUST PLANT COMBINATION OF THE MONTH

By Richard | August 2nd, 2014

We just had to have a ‘plant combination’ of the month this time since there are two outstanding plants on the nursery at the moment – plant them near each other and they make a perfect contrast!

One is Russian Sage – Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’ – a wiry silver-blue plant with spikes of blue flowers – not unlike a giant catmint – it will flower all of August and into September – a great plant for giving a vertical accent to any border.  But combine it with the new Hypericum ‘Magical Pumpkin’ and you really do have an eye-catching sight.  The yellow flowers of the Hypericum tie in superbly well with the upright blue Perovskia and this grouping will go on right into autumn and still look great.

If you want to see what they look like together – we have created just this combination outside the office door!  Come and take a look!

UNTIL THEN,

RICHARD

IS YOUR GARDEN STILL FULL OF COLOUR?

By Richard | August 2nd, 2014

Question – after all of the heat of July is your garden still looking great and bursting with colour – or is it looking rather tired and drab??

If it is the latter – then you are not alone!  It was always said that the August Gap was part of the natural cycle of the garden – where hot,dry weather caused plants to look past their best  - and it would be September before the cooler weather started the autumn flowers off again.  Well that is no longer the case!!   Modern plant breeding has given us as much colour now as in the summer!!   There are plenty of plants still looking great at the nursery – that will keep your borders looking smart right into September – and beyond.

And if you feel that the ground is just too hard and dry to plant into the soil – then why not do what I do in my garden – and plant up a large container of good-looking plants and place it in amongst the other plants in the border – instant results – then plant them out when the soil is in better condition.

So what sort of plants are we talking about – Hydrangeas are looking great,  the Russian Sage – Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’ – gets everybody talking – Verbena Bonariensis – the old favourite never fails – and of course Penstemons – we have the lovely ‘Raven’ looking great at the moment – combine it with grasses such as Stipa and you have a classic combination.  Japanese Anemones are flowering early this year and give substance to any border.

Abelias are now starting to flower – why don’t more people grow this plant? Superb semi-evergreen bronze leaves and clusters of white/pink scented flowers – it’s a cracker!!  But one we are particularly impressed with is a ‘new kid on the block’ – a new Hypericum called ‘Magical Pumpkin’!!  A bizarre name – it refers to the yellow starry flowers that then turn into orange-red berries that sit at the top of the plant right through the autumn – a real knockout!!

No time to lose – I’m taking some home with me!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,

RICHARD

ARE YOUR PLUMS GOING ROTTEN ON THE TREE?

By Richard | August 2nd, 2014

We have had a lot of customers in recently complaining of a really potential crop of plums going rotten on the tree – and wondering what they can do about it.

It is our old friend ‘Brown Rot’ – and it is a result of the current weather patterns.  There is an excellent – even heavy – crop of most plums this year – but the tightly-packed clusters of fruits hanging on the branches are ideal breeding grounds for this fungus.  It also tends to get into fruit where there is physical damage – this is often a result of the Plum Moth – which burrows into the fruit – causing a sticky drop of juice to exude from the plum which in turn attracts the fungus and rots the fruit – once one gets it because they are so close together the whole bunch is lost.

So what can we do to prevent it – firstly pruning after the crop has picked should allow better air circulation – and although it is a fiddly job – thinning of the young fruits in June will also help.  Hang a Plum Maggot Moth Pheromone trap in the tree after flowering – these are really efficient and will prevent the fruit surface being penetrated.

If you have rotten plums now – let them fall and then clear up and destroy.  A lot of funhus can overwinter on the stones laying around the base of the tree – some fruits will not even fall of and remain in a mummified state stuck to the branches – they must be removed as well or the problem will be worse next year.

We cannot control the weather – but we can make everything to our advantage as much as possible – and have every chance to enjoy that crop of plums we have worked so hard for!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,

RICHARD

JULY – PLANT OF THE MONTH – COTINUS ‘YOUNG LADY’

By Richard | July 12th, 2014

There are so many fantastic plants on the nursery at the moment – it is difficult to single out one – but there is one shrub that has really caught the eye and survived pretty much all the weather can throw at it!

The Cotinus or Smoke Bushes have long been a favourite – particularly the purple-leaved forms – but their rather gaunt habit and height has pushed them into the larger gardens – however Cotinus ‘Young Lady’ is a new compact variety specifically bred for it’s flowers.  The name ‘Smoke Bush’ refers to the plume-like airy grey-red flowers it is smothered in at the moment – and it repeat flowers – so a continual display all summer.

They are very tolerant of most sites and situations too – we have a big display of them outside our office door at the moment – in combination with Hydrangea paniculata ‘Pinky Winky’ and very fine they both look too!

RICHARD

JULY – HIGH SUMMER

By Richard | July 12th, 2014

Long sunny days – warm evenings – well that is what it should be like!   At the moment at the nursery, we had a very heavy overnight thunderstorm which has caused widespread flooding on local roads.  There is thick fog hanging over the nursery – and the plants look rather damp and bedraggled – let alone the staff!

The forecast is for more of the same – it seems to be it is rather nice to have more of a ‘traditional’ English summer than the drought of recent Suffolk summers.  The plants certainly seem to be enjoying it – things are looking really good at the nursery at the moment – a bit of sun and a bit of rain keeps everything ticking along!

RICHARD

EMAIL NEWSLETTER

By Richard | July 12th, 2014

Due to ongoing e-mail problems we are currently unable to send out our monthly newsletter – hopefully this problem will be rectified as soon as possible – but in the meantime many of the features from the newsletter will be incorporated into a larger blog.

UNTIL THEN,

RICHARD

E-MAIL PROBLEMS!

By Richard | June 21st, 2014

We are experiencing some problems with our e-mail server at the moment – so if you have recently sent us an e-mail and we appear to be ignoring you – we are not!

The situation is being resolved as fast as possible – but if you have not had a response after a couple of days – please ring the office on 01394 460755 – it may be that we have received your e-mail but we are unable to respond!

UNTIL NEXT TIME – DON’T YOU JUST LOVE TECHNOLOGY! PLANTS ARE SO MUCH SIMPLER!

RICHARD

SUMMER COLOUR FOR YOUR GARDEN

By Richard | June 17th, 2014

This is turning out to be a very nice June at the moment!  We have had a few days of really warm weather – and with the ample moisture in the ground – there is some excellent growth on the plants.

The fruit crop looks superb – the June drop is now taking place when the fruits that are damaged or not fertilised properly naturally drop off – if there are still a lot of fruits left on the tree – particularly young trees – then it is best to do a bit of hand thinning otherwise the tree may not have the energy to produce flowers next year.

The nursery shrub sales area is packed full of colour at the moment – and not just from the flowers!   A highlight of our Suffolk Show stand was Physocarpus – and their radiant purple foliage stands out from a distance.  Another favourite at the moment is Hebe ‘Midsummer Beauty’ – a most attractive – but tough Hebe with spikes of a beautiful blue fading to white  - the plants are packed with bees sipping the nectar.

And if you are on the look out for something a bit different – then the Bottlebrush – Callistemon ‘Crimson Tail’ – looks fantastic – the flowers really are strange – but they are crimson in colour – and again smothered in bees.

These are just a few highlights at the moment – but everywhere looks great on the nursery – come down and see for yourself – there is still time to fill those gaps in the borders – and get colour all summer long!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,

RICHARD

SUFFOLK SHOW GOLD AND BEST IN SHOW!

By Richard | June 2nd, 2014

Last week at the Suffolk Show – we were absolutely delighted to receive a Large Gold Medal and the Perpetual Challenge Cup for Best in Show for our stand in the Flower Marquee.

The months of hard work and planning that goes into the Show – the headaches over plant selection and the worries over the extreme weather – they all paid off!  To have impressed the judges so much was a great honour – and their comments were much appreciated.

To those of you who came and saw us at the Show – we again would like to thank you for all your kind words and appreciation – it really does mean a lot to us.  The set-up period was in some of the worst weather we have seen – with a monsoon-like rainstorm that caused severe flooding across much of the showground on the day before the show – it really was quite something to see rain coming into the marquee horizontally from the gutters!

If you were unable to get to the show – then photos will appear on the website and at the nursery very shortly.  We are selling some of the plants from the stand at the nursery – so if you want to you can buy your very own piece of our award-winning stand!

It is wonderful to receive such acknowlegment on the day – but it is a real team effort – every single member of Crown Nursery staff contributed to the stand – from design skills to planting and set-up – to plant selection and labelling – and creating the much-admired mirrors – let alone the transport of all those plants up the A12!!

So a real-team effort – well done everybody!

RICHARD

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