CROWN NURSERY ONLINE STORE NOW AVAILABLE!

By Jill | November 6th, 2009

Hello – we are very excited here at the nursery this week – our first set of products is now ready and available to buy online!!

We have waited a long time to be able to offer our customers the option of buying online through the website – we know there is a demand for it – and now at last we have got the ball rolling. At this stage, it is only our popular hedging packs that are available to buy online – but if this proves as successful as we think it will – then more items will follow in the future!

Do have a look at our online store – and do let us know what you think!

You can follow the link on our home page – or click below.

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

THE JOY OF AUTUMN COLOUR!

By Jill | November 1st, 2009

Hello, – what a superb season this has become for autumn colour. A combination of blue skies – and mild nights have provided the ideal weather in Suffolk for the leaves to change in the last few weeks.

Outstanding at the nursery at the moment has got to be Liquidamber – the name alone just describes it so well. A gorgeous mix of red-purple and orange – and back to green – and each branch changes colour at a time – no wonder it is one of our most popular trees.

Also great is the Persian Ironwood – Parrotia persica – Kevin has been finding some superb specimens to put outside the office – and they have been selling like hot cakes! This has a glorious mixture of yellow through to reddy orange – a most beautiful tree or can be kept as a large shrub.

The Prunus – the flowering cherries – have also been very good lately. Their fiery orange tints give them a much-needed second moment of glory after the blossom in spring.
It has been a very good year for the Red Oaks too – Quercus rubra – those large flat leaves look simply stunning when bright red. The Pin Oak – Quercus palustris – is looking the best at the moment – a smaller much more lobed leaf – but it gives a really bright shiny scarlet-red colour – a joy as a specimen with plenty of space.

One of my favourites is the dear old common Spindle tree – Euoynmus europaeus. This has lovely autumn colour – but it is those strange fruits – pink on the outside – splitting to reveal orange seeds – that is the eye-catcher on this one.

We are selling trees fast now – there has been decent rainfall in the last few weeks – and a lot more is forecast – it is an ideal time to get trees planted – while the soil is still warm – they will establish quickly – and provide you with years of colour.

Go on – Get Out There!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

RHS FOCUS ON FRUIT COURSE REPORT

By Jill | November 1st, 2009

Hello, on Wednesday October 28th – 8 adventurous gardeners joined Graeme and myself for the Royal Horticultural Society’s Partnership Nursery Course ‘Focus on Fruit’.

Still on cloud-nine from Saturday’s Apple Day – an excellent day was had by all. Unlike Apple Day – the sun shone – blue skies – 20c – an astounding temperature for late October – the colours just standing out.

As usual the course followed our tried and tested format – first of all we had a session in the classroom – learing the theory – tools for pruning – the complexity of pollination – and the problems of pest and disease.

Then it was onto rootstocks – and some theory on pruning. After lunch – and with everyone’s heads hurting with too much technical stuff -it was time to get out in the orchard – and actually put that theory into practice. I pruned a couple of trees first- and then it was the usual ‘Ask the Panel’ job – with one person pruning – and the rest of the group watching – or critiscising – the operation.

After that – a quick nursery tour – and back to the classroom for apple tasting. All in all, another excellent day – Graeme and myself both enjoy doing these courses – you get to meet such a wide range of people – all with different questions and ideas – great for stimulating the mind!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

APPLE DAY 2009 – THE BEST YET!!

By Jill | November 1st, 2009

Hello – well we have survived another Apple Day for another year – and this one was the very best yet!

Although the weather forecast spoke of heavy rain – we only really got drizzle at the nursery – and the heavy rain stayed inland – and the people came down in their droves!! We had over 120 cars – and over 500 people – we were almost snowed under!

To all of you who came down – a big thank you – for all of your kind comments on how good the nursery looked – thank you.

We sold countless trees – not all apple – and a lot of very happy people played the games and won prizes.

A true team effort – our thanks goes to Brian and Jak for a sterling job parking all those cars – to Max,Janet and Sue for the superb fun that people had with the games – and also to Sue for her excellent ‘meeting and greeting people as they came in’ – to Liz – the top salesperson of the day for selling and constantly restocking the apples -to Kevin – for being his usual brilliant self – just calmly selling trees left right and centre despite queues of people everywhere – to Graeme for helping me to fend off constant questions and queues of people – to Jill and Karen for battling on with teas and cakes – and to Dick – our superb maintenance man for all his behind-the -scenes work.

Together as a team – we all made the day as special as it was for everyone – a big WELL DONE and an even bigger THANK YOU!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

APPLE DAY 2009 DAWNS!

By Jill | November 1st, 2009

Hello – we are almost there – it is very nearly time for our annual Apple Day Celebration 2009!
The nursery has been spruced up – not that it is not always! – and all is ready.

We have put up the Marquee – and we are now just crossing our fingers on the weather forecast – it does not look good – but the apple tasting and games are all undercover – so do come down and see us – we have 80 varieties of apple for you to taste – there are games to play – and prizes to win – our experts are here to help answer your questions – there is a 10% discount on all apple trees ordered or bought on the day – there is ample parking – and tea and apple refreshments will be available.

The day is Saturday Ocotber 24th – 10-4 – signs everywhere!

SEE YOU THERE!
RICHARD

STARTING THEM YOUNG – SCHOOL VISIT TO NURSERY

By Jill | November 1st, 2009

Hello, I had a lovely day the other Wednesday. 12 9-10 year-olds from the local Montessorii school came over to the nursery for the day to further their education on fruit. Yes, at first thought the prospect of 12 9-10 year-olds seemed a bit daunting – and indeed, it was rather noisy at times – but I was so impressed by their enthusiasm and their interest.

They are doing a project on fruit and all had the most wonderfully-illustrated journals of their project so far – they had visited a fruit grower the previous week – and picked a few apples – and now they were at a commercial nursery to learn a bit more.
I started their day with herbs – looking at all sorts of different items – all taken from the companion planting in the fruit sales area – so a nice link in with the fruit. They knew most of them – but again how nice to see real interest in the different types – with Chives and Lemon Thyme definitely the favourites!!

After lunch – we picked a load of Pear ‘Doyenne du Comice’- 48 pears picked in record time – and only ONE without a stalk – how’s that for efficient picking! A tour of the nursery followed – and then back to the classroom – for some apple tasting. I had picked out 5 very different apples for them to taste – and they had a little chart to rate each one for flavour, juiciness, sweetness e.t.c – great fun – and a very mixed set of results – the boys favouring sharper apples than the girls. The day was almost over – but there was just time for me to show them one or two other fruits – they were all impressed with Quince ‘Vranja’ – we had found a particularly huge one – but none of them had ever seen a Medlar before! One young lad describing it as a ‘tree turnip’!!

After a few photos for their workbooks – it was back to their school. I would like to thank their teachers for bringing them over and looking after them – but mostly to the youngsters themselves for their incredible enthusiasm.

In an uncertain world – it made a refreshing change!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

COUNTDOWN TO APPLE DAY 2009 BEGINS!

By Jill | November 1st, 2009

Hello, well I congratulate the brilliant girls in this blog – Sue and Janet. With me laid low with ‘flu – they stopped their usual shrub area work – and picked all the apples in the orchard ready for the apple tasting on Apple Day.
And of course – Janet and Sue have labelled and stacked the Apple Store with military precision – with 78 varieties in – they really have done a superb job – it took them two days to do – but it is a huge weight off my mind as I return to full fitness after the ‘flu – well done to you both!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

NEW SPECIMEN STOCK IN

By Jill | November 1st, 2009

Hello, – we have had a whole load of smashing new specimen stock in at the nursery recently. Graeme’s shopping trips have paid off – and we have stacked our sales area with loads of goodies ready for the autumn planting season.
We have specimen crab apples – Malus ‘Red Sentinel’ – and ‘Evereste’ loaded with fruit – we have Liquidambers now starting to colour up – we have some cracking shrubby Arbutus unedo – the Strawberry Tree. There are some very nice bamboos – both in the green and the black variety – just coming into flower is Osmanthus aquifolium – a Holly-like shrub – but not prickly – and producing the most wonderfully-scented flowers at this time of year!!

We have a number of Eucalyptus gunnii cones – nice and bushy with that lovely juvenile rounded foliage – as well as specimen trees. Graeme has managed to get hold of some lovely Magnolia grandiflora – really luxuriant leaves – so glossy – and with that furry,felty brown underside – just gorgeous! Some large specimens of the more usual spring-flowering Magnolias as well.

We have several upright conifers in – from the yellow Cupressus ‘Goldcrest’ to the blue Juniper ‘Skyrocket’ – these really come into their own in the winter months.

On the evergreen standard tree front – we have some very large Privets – both the variegated and the ordinary green – these are excellent for providing height without getting too tall – there are just so few evergreen trees – we also have a few Quercus ilex – evergreen oak standards – this is such a tough chap -so we also have these as multistemmed shrubs – rather nice for screening.

On the smaller front – a delicious batch of Callicarpa ‘Profusion’ – dripping with those peculiar purple berries – and loads of Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ – stuffed with flower buds for a few weeks time – yes, there is a lot to see – why not come and have a look for yourself – if you are looking for instant evergreen screening we can help!!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

THE DREADED ‘FLU STRIKES

By Jill | November 1st, 2009

Hello, welcome to our blog.

You may well have noticed a lack of blogging on this site lately – primarily down to yours truly going down with a nasty bout of ‘flu for three weeks! Apparently it was not swine flu – a very similar thing to it though – and it laid me low for a long time. As many people will know I don’t do ill – and I don’t do laying in bed – but I was forced to do both!!
Where did I get this? – I had been up in the Lake District on the Saturday before Helmingham -and got very wet on a cruise across Lake Ullswater – but I get wet all the time -so who knows but I am jolly glad to be rid of it – I would not wish that on anyone!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME (HOPEFULLY)
RICHARD

PLANT SALE SUCCESS!!

By Jill | November 1st, 2009

Hello – well we enjoyed an excllent Plant Sale at Helmingham Hall. The weather simply could not have been better – and several thousand people took full advantage to stock up their gardens for autumn planting.
Interesting though – the topic of conversation remained the same – everybody bemoaning the lack of rainfall in Suffolk. There were over 40 different nurseries attending – and it was surprising that very few people were selling the same thing!! – a definite problem of a few years ago.
The organisation by Helmingham and the NCCPG (Plant Heritage) was excellent – well-advertised in advance – and it did pay off for them. We took a very general range of plants – I got out far more than could be taken of course – but we had a mix showing all of the Crown Nursery range.
And what was the top selling item you may ask? – well there were two really -anything with autumn colour – particularly Viburnum sargentii ‘Onadonga’ – and Acer ginnala ‘Flame – and also Figs!! We sold every fig we took – both Graeme and myself were quite surprised by that.
Most of the standholders seemed happy by the end of the day – and no doubt so were those wives who had dragged their husbands round each stand weighed down with bag and bags of plants!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

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