July mini news

Our preoccupation in this country with the weather has been well and truly justified in June, we had all four seasons in one day, cold, wet, sunny, hot and it has meant that plant sales were not bad – but as horticulture is related to farming and therefore nothing is ever quite right – it could have been better!!!!!  We still have loads of lovely plants and many have been discounted to encourage a sale or two.  It’s a real shame ( I wrote about this in March ) that people buy their plants too early seduced by the presence of them in garden centres and supermarkets, when plants that are available in June and July are so much better, hardier, more floriferous, better structure etc.  So, if you have some gaps we’ve got some great bargains and some lovely plants.

I’ve just ordered the perennial plugs and bare rooted plants that we will be growing next Spring, the process is always several months in advance so that the plants produced from seeds can be sown at the correct time so that I receive the plugs on time and in good shape.  I order the bedding plants and basket plants in September.  So I have to have a bit of a guess as to what I might sell.  My guess next year for what it’s worth is that as we get back to a more normal life plant sales which have been fantastic the last two years will reduce as there will be more opportunity for “discretionary expenditure” to be directed else where.  We will see!!

The continuing cost of a shipping container from the Far East to the uk is now having an impact.  The container wholesalers have advised me that prices for pots/containers delivered to me now will be 25% more!!  I’m not surprised.  Big garden centres who use bar codes cannot have two prices for the same code ( old stock and new stock) so they will be changing the prices of their old stock up as new stock arrives to be in line with the new stock!!  We don’t use bar codes and so I won’t be changing prices so if you want a pot/container now is the time to come and have a root around before the more expensive new stock eventually arrives.  It will be interesting to see how it affects the volume sold!

The swallows had a nasty shock last week.  We were potting in the barn which has two large doors either end.  A sparrow hawk who must have noticed them all flew in and sat on a trolley post near us no more that a metre away.  We looked at each other whilst the swallows scarped out of the door before the swallow hawk gracefully flew through the barn sussing the place out!!  Whether it comes back or not we are yet to see.

School holiday are just around the corner and we are hoping Poppies Crafts ( painting pottery and decopatch) will be steadily busy, especially as the lockdown restrictions are being eased.  If you are thinking of coming no need to book just arrive please.  It’s a great place for grand parents to bring their grand children ( I am making no assumptions on the age of the readership of this newsletter! )

I’m looking forward to being able to use cash from July 19th at several establishments who have discriminated against cash users like myself by banning cash and insisting on card only transactions.  Not that I am keen to return to them and will only probably do so in order to make sure cash is back on!!!!

Thank you all for your support, custom, kind words, encouragement and general good will, it’s very uplifting and much appreciated.  Hope to see you soon

Mini June News. Plant sale

FLASH PLANT SALE.  The weather the past 10 days has reduced our plant sales below what I expected and so we have too many 9cm basket and patio plants ( trailing petunias, verbenas, fuchsias, trailing geraniums etc etc). They either sell in the next 10 days or they will be composted!!

Normally £1.70 each, now a tray of 18 is  £12. Thats 67p each.  

Chance to get more colour into your garden.  

Please tell a friend!!! 

What a month May has been, the very cold frosty start, then plenty of rain and ending much the same!!!!! It only warmed up in June.  It certainly has been a year to test your horticultural skills and one where good technique and understanding has enabled some sort of plant survival whereas the converse is probably the more frequent outcome!!  There have been a lot of seed and plant failures this Spring ( including here ) and what has been tricky has been the balance of keeping plants just about watered but not wet enough for the rots to take over in the cold conditions.  Cold and wet is terminal for many organisms including plants.  Anyway we’ve got through but many plants have grown very slowly and are quite some time behind.  Lavenders as an example have only just started to flush and move on, non stop begonias took an age to root and get going.  There are benefits though.  Plants growing slowly produce very short internodes – that’s the gaps along the stems between shoots – so that when they eventually do start to grow away they make wonderfully dense plants, particularly useful in pots and hanging baskets where you are trying to cover the basket.  So, in all it’s been interesting and plant quality has been better than ever – if you have managed to keep the plants alive!!

The cost of carriage of a 40ft container from the Far East is now a whopping $15,000 two years ago it was $2500.  This has made the importation of pots from Vietnam where they make wonderful pots out of the question at the moment as the price per pot will no longer fit into the acceptable perceived value of the item.  I have a shipping app and when I look at it there are still thousands of ships out of commission at anchorage.  These ships would bolster the supply side and prices would fall if they were being used.  The shipping companies have made more profits in the last 6 months than the whole of the last several years.  Begs the question as to when they will return to service!?? 

I’ve just had a trip out with my wife for coffee, not something we have done for ages only because we haven’t been able to get away being so busy.  Being a Monday several places are closed so we went beyond Stockbridge to a place “never knowingly undersold” to find they didn’t take cash, card only and so having no card it was a wasted journey and frankly made me a tiddly bit cross.  Why not take cash?  It’s a year and a half on now, gels are available post cash handling and cash is a legitimate and legal means of payment.  Not everyone wants or has the use of a card, arrogance or laziness?

The first brood of swallows in all five active nests are flying or just about to fledge, lots of swallows darting into the barn, slight hazard but they have an amazing flight ability not to hit you.  When we get some better weather the adults will start again and eventually there will be 60 plus swallows squeezing through the doors – what fun, it really is