By Jill | February 20th, 2009

Hello, and welcome to the Crown Nursery blog.

On Wednesday 18th February, 16 enthusiastic gardeners joined us for a morning workshop on winter pruning.

The very word pruning sends a shiver down some people’s spine – most of us know that we ought to do something – particularly with our fruit trees, but we study books with arrows saying cut here and cut there – and end up just getting even more confused!

Well, hopefully, after a couple of hours – those same 16 can now boast that they know all about it.

As usual, the group split into two – half doing shrub renovation pruning with Graeme, and the other half looking at fruit tree pruning with me.

We will look at the shrub pruning side at a later date – but those in my group certainly had a fun time. We went straight up into the heritage orchard – and quickly raced through some of the theory of pruning. Different types of bud and tree shape followed – then into the pruning demo.

After I had done two trees – it was then a group ‘You the Jury’ session – with one nominaned individual doing the cuts – and the others watching, and occasionally disagreeing!

The beauty of these courses is how the course members grow in confidence. At first, they are very unsure what to cut – fearing they will ruin the tree for ever. But at the end – it is wonderful to see them disagreeing and arguing for certain pieces of wood to be cut off or left – as if they had been pruning fruit trees for years!!

Crown Nursery courses are a huge amount of fun – very informal, and a great way to meet your fellow gardeners.

We are working on a new group of courses for the spring, summer and autumn – so check out the website for details.

Until next time,



By Jill | February 17th, 2009

Hello, and welcome to the Crown Nursery blog.

What a difference a week makes!!

Only a week ago, we were under snow and shivering with cold – now here we are basking in mild temperatures – no ice, no snow – the nursery staff shedding their coats and waterproofs! With a balmy 10C on the thermometer – and no overnight frost – it is just the conditions that plants – and people – need to thrive.

Scents seem to linger on the air – the birds are singing – even the girls are singing down in the packing shed!

Yes, we all feel so much better when it’s nice out – but how long will it last? Certain members of staff say it’s going to turn much colder towards the end of the week – maybe even snow – but who cares, let’s just enjoy the moment – it’s now!

Until next time

P.S. – What’s the plant at the top of the page? – Garrya elliptica – a classy evergreen now starting to look good – who said catkins ain’t pretty!


By Jill | February 13th, 2009

Hello and welcome to the Crown Nursery blog.
It came as a pleasant surprise to most of us this morning to wake up to a covering of snow. It had been forecast – but it is always a sight when you draw back the curtains first thing.

Amounts varied – definitely more snow the other side of Otley than at the nursery – but it is a wonderful pristine white. Everything has a white blanket – I don’t think it will last long – the temperature is due to go up – but we enjoy the scene while it lasts.

Perhaps a sign of times to come – was the sight of three ducks swimming happily in a huge flood in the middle of what was a field of oil seed rape outside Wickham Market!
Until next time,


By Jill | February 13th, 2009

Hello, and welcome to the Crown Nursery blog.

On Wednesday the 11th of February, 8 intrepid gardeners joined us here at Crown Nursery for a fun day learning about ‘The Ancient Art of Grafting’. This was a course run in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society.
Grafting – the practice of splicing two pieces of wood together – is both a fascinating and incredible science. It is nothing new though, the Romans practised it – as did the monks of centuries ago – and of course it happens naturally, when two branches grow and rub together eventually forming a tight union where the cells grow as one.
Despite dreary weather outside, the first part of the course consisted of the theory of grafting accompanied with the appropiate handouts and diagrams. After refreshments, it was onto something a bit more exciting – sharpening knives – and practising different cuts on poplar twigs.
As several of the course members said, it is not as easy as it looks – getting two separate pieces of wood of slightly different thickness to match up.
Luckily nobody cut themselves – at least not seriously – just as well as Graeme faints at the sight of blood! – and a great time was had by all.
The highlight of the day for many was to actually graft an ornamental tree themselves – which they then potted up and were able to take home to grow on in their own garden. A tour of the nursery followed – and an opportunity to watch Liz – the Crown Nursery grafting Queen – who does all of the nursery grafting, hard at work.
The great thing about these courses from our point of view as a tutor is the mix of people we get – from all walks of life and locations – and they all get on so well!!
More courses coming up in the next few weeks – the popular pruning workshops are next. Why not come on a Crown Nursery course – check out the website – they are fun, open to everyone – and nothing at all like being back at school!!
Until next time,


By Jill | February 11th, 2009


Welcome to the Crown Nursery blog – a down to earth and humorous look at life at this busy Suffolk Nursery.

The big thing that seems to be dominating life here at the moment is the weather! Parts of the nursery seem to resemble something in between Noah’s Ark and the Battle of the Somme!

Despite being on a very light soil – almost pure sand – water stands in every low spot. The hedging bay is mud city – but the girls are still doing stirling work out there – although I think Miss Potter may well soon be able to leave her waterproof trousers standing up on their own with the amount of mud caked onto them!

Customers always say how nice it must be to work in your nursery – yes that’s during the summer – come and see it now!!

Who is Miss Potter? – One of the brilliant duo who do the hedging orders and shrub sales areas.

We will meet all the members of the team here at Crown Nursery as the weeks progress.

Despite the grim weather – there are some plants that are looking good at the moment. The Christmas Box – Sarcococca – is flowering a little later than normal – but visitors to the shrub sales area can smell our stock plant before they see it. The Winter-flowering Honeysuckle – Lonicera x purpusii is also a little late – but delightfully scented delicate flowers are on the plant now.

Our all time favourite though for winter scent has got to be the Winter Sweet – Chimonanthus praecox – we are lucky enough to have a mature plant for sale in a pot – and it has a scent to die for – though it would surely fail to win any prizes for aesthetic value!

It is one of the beauties of our world that despite the dreadful weather and the economic gloom – nature still has some little goodies to lift our spirits!!

Until next time



By Jill | February 10th, 2009

Welcome to the Crown Nursery’s new blog. Over the coming weeks we will be adding news and events.

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