IT’S SHOWTIME!!

By Jill | May 27th, 2010

Hello, well it is almost upon us – the Suffolk Show – it’s very nearly showtime!!

The coverage of Chelsea Flower Show has been all over the papers and TV all week – but our ‘Chelsea’ is next week at the Suffolk Show.

Final preparations on the plants are now just about complete – there are 85 different species on the stand ranging from trees to shrubs to perennials – and just under 800 plants in total! As always it is a mammoth task – and a logistical nightmare – but we begin construction this afternoon – and will be there most of the Bank Holiday Weekend. It is only a two day – show – (Wednesday and Thursday next week – 2nd and 3rd June) but it requires a marathon effort to get everything where it needs to be.

Of course, it is not even just the plants – it is the mulch – the ‘hard landscaping’ features – the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the stand.

It takes three vehicles three days to get everything up there – and it takes exactly the same to bring it all home again!!

I freely admit to feeling rather anxious about the prospect – but if you are not feeling like that before such a major project – then you are probably not human!!

On the plus side – there are some superb plants ready to go up there – the slightly cooler weather this week could not have come better really – it has slowed down those plants that were racing away – and those that were a little behind are now in the warmth of the tunnel just ‘finishing off’.

Graeme’s ‘Edible Garden’ demonstration is also taking shape – this will be just outside the entrance to the Flower Show. Our main stand is inside the Flower Show Marquee – at the far end – near the catering department!!

Do come and see us if you are visiting the show – we would love to see you!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

NOTE – THIS WEEKEND IS A BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND – AND THE NURSERY WILL BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC FROM SATURDAY TO MONDAY INCLUSIVE DUE TO LOCAL PLANNING RESTRICTIONS.

NEXT WEEK – THE SUFFOLK SHOW IS ON WEDNESDAY 2ND JUNE AND THURSDAY 3RD JUNE – SINCE MOST OF THE NURSERY IS UP AT THE SHOW – THE OPENING HOURS OF THE NURSERY WILL BE AFFECTED – SO IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO VISIT NEXT WEDNESDAY OR THURSDAY – PLEASE RING THE OFFICE ON 01394 460755 TO CHECK THAT WE ARE ACTUALLY OPEN ON THAT DAY – ‘NORMAL SERVICE’ WILL RESUME FROM FRIDAY 4TH JUNE ONWARDS!!

SOME LIKE IT HOT!!

By Jill | May 21st, 2010

Hello – phew what a scorcher!! Temperatures have soared at the nursery to 25C – some difference to last week – when the best we could make was 12C!!!

It is nice if you are laying on a beach – but rather hot in the tunnels at the moment – but really we should not complain!!

As long as plants have sufficient moisture – they will make very rapid growth now. But again I stress AS LONG AS THEY HAVE SUFFICIENT MOISTURE. Soil moisture evaporates literally overnight in these sort of conditions – so it is very important that all new planting is well-watered in – and kept well-watered for at least the next few months.

On the plus side – it looks a very promising fruit set this year – uninterrrupted blossom-time has led to the trees appearing to be stuffed full of fruitlets – even despite the late frosts last week – but only time will tell – never count your chickens before they are hatched – or your fruit before the June drop!!!

Otherwise the nursery is obsessed with one project only – Operation S.S – The Suffolk Show!!! In the last week – I have allocated almost 500 plants for it alone – and there are still more to come!!

It may only be a two-day show (June 2nd and 3rd) – but it takes just as much time as a week-long event!!

If all goes as planned – (does it ever??) – then we should have something quite DIFFERENT for you to see!!

Do come and see us – we are in the Flower Tent -at the catering end – with our huge main display – and also just outside the entrance with our raised beds demonstration.

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

THE STOP-START SPRING

By Jill | May 14th, 2010

Hello – what a strange spring this is turning out to be. April seemed to give promise of a really warm spring – but so far May has turned that completely on it’s head!

Freezing cold North-east winds – and several nights of frost this week have tested some of the new growth and all the fruit blossom that is about at the moment. Like many other gardeners- it has been out with the fleece on several nights this week – trying to protect the new soft growth. At the moment – it does not seem to have done any serious damage – but time will tell on the fruit blossom – it can affect the small fruitlets – and I expect that the plums and the pears will show some damage in a month’s time. This can vary from fruitlet drop – to cracking on the skin – but again – only time will tell.

The good news is that the forecast says that it will warm up over the weekend – so that should remove the threat of frost.

Staying with fruit blossom – I do think that in 18 years in this industry I have never seen a better crop of APPLE BLOSSOM. The trees are laden with bloom – and it would seem to be of very good quality too – very large flowers – which should lead to a decent fruit set. I think this is due to weather patterns – last year’s summer was excellent for setting flower buds – a little bit of dryness at the root often causes plants to produce more flowers than growth – and certainly in Suffolk last July and August when the flower buds were formed was like a desert!! Then came the cold winter – fruit trees need a period of cold to fully iniate their buds – this is called VERNALISATION. It is still not fully understood – but if they do not receive a period of cold their flowers do not iniate properly.

It always reminds me of the time when I used to work on a commercial fruit farm – and we used to open the orchards for Blossom Walks – with a small donation to charity – they were alwaya very popular. Apple Blossom is one of the highlights of spring for me – and unlike the Flowering Cherries – you know that you are going to get a bounty of fruit in 5 or 6 months time!!

I have noticed on the apple trees this week – that in amongst the blossom – PRIMARY MILDEW is starting to appear. We have all seen this before -the powdery silvery deposit on leaves. It can be very devastating – and the leaves that have it at the moment – are those that were affected last autumn – and the fungus has overwintered on the buds. It must be removed as soon as it is seen – otherwise it will spread to the new growth. Cut it off – bin it or burn it and don’t forget to DISINFECT your secateurs before changing trees – otherwise you will pass it on!!!
We call it primary mildew – because it is the first of the year – and will become SECONDARY MILDEW once it reaches the new growth – and is harder to control.

It is also the time to hang PHEROMONE TRAPS for Plum Maggot Moth in your plum and greengage trees. These really do work – and are a very effective organic and non-chemical way of stopping maggots in your plums – there is one for Apple Codling Moth – but that will not be put out until after petal fall.

Otherwise here at the nursery, it has been another busy old week. Much activity on the propagation front – the girls taking cuttings of many shrubs and perennials – whilst the growth is soft and strong. If you stand still long enough at the moment – it seem as though someone will be round you with a pair of secateurs for a cutting – so visitors watch out!!

For my own part – Operation S.S is well and truly launched. No – this is not some top-secret military battle – although it could be viewed in that way- it is the plans for the SUFFOLK SHOW. Plant allocation is underway – it is always something I enjoy – pulling together plants from all the different sales area for our stand – hopefully showing the best of what we do here at the nursery.

With the show only a fortnight away – (2nd and 3rd June) – trying to work out what will actually be in flower is as difficult as ever. Interestingly though – several items that we would not usually expect to be out in flower look as though they will be – due to the cold weather at the moment that has delayed them. If it turns hot next week though – that will all go out of the window – so we shall just have to see!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

THE MERRY MONTH OF MAY

By Jill | May 7th, 2010

Hello – a very changeable week on the weather front. Predicting the weather from day to day this week has been as difficult as predicting last night’s General Election result! Whether you could say we have a ‘hung’ weather pattern at the moment I am not sure!!

At times, it has felt more like March here at the nursery – the wind has swung round to the North-East, and is blowing off somewhere very cold – there is a real chill in the air! On the plus side though, most of us have seen some much-needed rainfall – I say most of us – because some people have had three times the amount others have – so again very variable.

A busy week though – a lot of potting on and propagation of shrubs from cuttings has gone on. This will lead – hopefully – to some very fine plants for later on in the year.
We are now sold out of ASPARAGUS – so if you were still hoping to get some planted this spring – then I am afraid you are too late!!

However – the sales area where the ASPARAGUS was, has now been changed for a nice little display of HERBS. These plants remain ever popular – grasses and perennials come and go – but herbs seem to hold their own. The beauty of SCENTED FOLIAGE and culinary use as well – means there is a lot to be said for these plants. Most of them are only small or compact – and fit very well into small spaces – so ideal for patio pots and planters.

From the larger shrubby items such as ROSEMARY and LAVENDER to the sub-shrubs such as SAGE – there is much to enjoy about this group of plants.

Many people adore the smaller THYMES that creep along the ground – those such as the LEMON THYME are just smashing when their leaves are crushed. Combine those with OREGANO or CHIVES and you have a winning combination!
Another highlight of this week was our course – SPRING IN YOUR GARDEN. Five keen gardeners came on a bright but blustery day to learn about those little tips and tricks of the trade that can keep your garden looking good at this busy time of the year.
Next week will see the preparation for the SUFFOLK SHOW stands step up a gear. There is already much stock allocated – but with only 3 or so weeks to go – much planning will begin to materialise into plants – hopefully!!
UNTIL NEXT TIME,
RICHARD

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