Well we have been a bit quiet on here lately, not because of the latest lockdown, we are blessed to be relatively unaffected by Covid19 which is mostly due to the fact we live and work on site. Being mail order our "bubble" is relatively impenetrable but more because of the mammoth task we have been undertaking on our "Pinks" house. Technically it is more our Dianthus house but pinks is easier to say. This modest 60ft x 80ft greenhouse houses most of our pinks and garden carnation mother stock.
The pinks house has had some issues in the last few years. Firstly one of the benches collapsed, luckily it landed flat and none of the plants were effected *phew!! Then last autumn and again this spring the tunnel suffered storm damage, this prompted us to make preparations for the re-development we have been thinking about but always managing to delay.
So this autumn, with the effects of Covid19 shutting down half of our business (the Flowers by Post side of things, read more about this here) we have a bit more time on our hands, so it was decided we would make a start - this basically meant I directed David and motivated him to the huge task. (Basically keeping him stocked with tea)
As our site has grown and developed over the last 6 years the mail order nursery side of things has expanded further and further away from the existing office on site. It is also needing some repairs so it was decided we would upgrade this building and build it nearer our main mail order tunnel - this way when you ring us and we are in the greenhouse we don't have quite so far to run to get to the office! It really is a beautiful building and we can't wait to move in to it this winter.
Then came the massive task of emptying the pinks house - this is some undertaking as we have over 150 varieties in this greenhouse and at least 12 to 24 plants per variety - so that's a minimum of 1,800 pots to move - by hand!! But moving them is one thing, first you have to have a space to move them to. This meant clearing out a different greenhouse to house them in - and as anyone who's ever had to replace a greenhouse or garden shed this kind of task is no easy thing! We managed to create the space it only took us 5 days and 1 very large skip.
The moving of the plants went seamlessly, though was incredibly exhausting work and by the end of the week we all ached and the weekend was a welcome relief but what a satisfying job it was and the plants now look very happy in their temporary new home.
Next came the removal of the pinks house, the benches needed to be taken down and removed, then the framework, this has taken us a lot longer than it should due to the extreme wet weather we seem to be having. Not an easy task as the tunnel has been up for over 20 years so the bolts have all rusted and weathered in that time but we can happily say the framework is down and ready to be re-installed in a different area on the nursery.
But it is not just the tunnel that is taking up our time, this autumn we have continued sending plants by post, we have had some lovely feedback from happy customers for our service and plants. You cannot put words on how this makes us all feel - especially this year!
We have also had the usual jobs to do, cleaning the pelargoniums ready for winter is another mammoth task this involves stripping them of all flowers, tidying, shaping the plants and removing all old leaves. Potting up any varieties that we are low on. Sounds easy but when you have over 600 varieties and at least 8 plants of each variety that's quite a few plants!!
Then the greenhouse Carnations have been tidied, re-staked and propagated for the coming season, our Succulents have also been tidied and propagated before they go dormant for the winter months. The pinks and border carnations now that they are in their new house have been tidied, all flowers stems removed, plants trimmed and tidied up.
While all this was going on we also had to keep our web-site updated with what's available to send now as well as what can be sent next Spring. As well as create our 2021 Spring catalogue and get it to the printer in time for them to be able to print it ready for mailing in the spring.
So as one season draws to a close we look forward to the next, we have some new varieties coming so watch this space!
Thanks for reading, we hope you keep safe and well.