Life as a nurseryman & landscaper is always busy…
Grant and Janet are back!
In May we were excited about Janet and Grants return, knowing how valuable their input has been into the operation of the Nursery.
Janet had taken into propagating a range of plants, particularly the scented pelargoniums, with a high rate of success. The propagation units are full and flourishing.
Grant has been instrumental in infrastructural change - he has continued to build the road and helped Tarn remove all the Buxus which had been infested with the moth caterpillar and we decided that spraying wasn't an option.
Other jobs included background maintenance on two glasshouses, creating a defined edge on the roadway and excavating a ditch for the water ring main.
Seasonal Changes at Leahurst
Last year we got caught out - the spring was so cool we decided not to chalk the glasshouses. This caused all sorts of mischief because we couldn't regulate the temperature in the glasshouses and had to continually shuffle plants around due to the heat of high summer.
This year we chalked all the glasshouses in early May. It certainly benefits the internal temperature of the glasshouses to be more constant, which is a better environment to establish the plugs - as the season goes on there is a need to look at the individual requirements of plants. The sun lovers - Gaura, Phlox, Verbena, Helenium are some examples. The ground ferns, the Brunnera, Aguia, Oulmonaria, were removed to shade tunnels. So far this season the Nursery has managed to have a more favourable watering regime - periods of rain certainly helped!
Due to the poly tunnels' ageing shade-cloth being ravaged by the high-winds, there has been a need to recover and repair this season.
This task was undertaken by Leigh, who spent many hours sewing the shade-cloth together and recovering and pegging down the cloth to ensure it withstands future seasons.Weed-proof membrane was replaced inside the polytunnels and covered by bark chip provided by our friendly tree surgeons.
The poly tunnels are a valuable asset when it comes to moving plants from the glasshouses into shaded environments.
During this quieter period in the Nursery calendar we realised that the stock for the upcoming year had been debated but not completed. This is always an exciting time to choose plants from our various suppliers and debate each plants for their merits and saleability, from bulbs to perennials. Much discussion occurred over new possible lines.
As the orders were placed late this year we did miss out on some of the more unusual plants, nevertheless the plant stock has been well received.
There is always a question at this time of year to decide what fleecing is required for both inside and outside half hardy plants.
The large outside Cyathea Australis' that are unable to be brought inside are heavily fleeced. All smaller Cyathea species; Mefullaris, Cooper, Dicksonia and Squarrosa are brought inside to a cool glasshouse. All remaining tree ferns are crown fleeced.
There was also a management decision this winter to not use the gas heating as it is neither cost efficient nor sustainable. Some ingenious methods of fleecing were therefore concocted over fleecing the plants susceptible to freezing.
Janet did her final run of cuttings as light levels were fading. Grant started the task of putting the plants in alphabetical order; over which there was much debate over how this would be achieved.
Towards the end of November we changed out the planters at Dunhills. This included ferns, grasses, astelia for structure and bulbs for spring. More on this job can be found under landscaping jobs.