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Downside News 09 March 2019

The British weather never ceases to astonish us. Last year’s spring was cold and late; this year we had that wonderful burst of warm weather and now back to rain and hail.

We are still getting cold nights, though, which is a good thing because it stops plants getting too soft and advanced. Apparently, plants make their decisions about the day’s growth at dawn, so a cold start means compact growth. This is used commercially to control crop growth – easy to do if you have computer-controlled vents!

Last autumn was mild so we managed to get on with a lot of herbaceous potting. Some things always need to be handled in spring, though, and we are just making a start on them.  There are still a few gaps, but we should have the complete range available by the end of March.  The list is pretty comprehensive and much the same as last year. One notable addition is Peony Duchesse de Nemours – a little dearer than our other Peonies but white and Lilly-of-the-Valley scented – irresistible, we simply had to have it.

Peony Duchesse de Nemours

Peony Duchesse de Nemours

Getting the range of shrubs we would like is always a battle. Commercial margins are tight and anything that takes a little longer or does not sell in bulk gets deleted. It is infuriating – we see lovely shrubs in other people’s gardens but cannot source them. This is why we keep stock plants and take our own cuttings whenever we can.  This year we have been lucky and bought a consignment from wholesale suppliers Brockhill Nurseries. They do all their own propagation, and this has bulked up our own stock and added some plants we can only get occasionally, and even some completely new ones.  We have only been able to get quite small numbers of many of them so if you see something you have been searching for in our list, do not delay!  We will put things on one side for a day or two if you ring up and reserve them…

Please check back with our website in a couple of weeks’ time when the new 2019 plant list will be posted.  As always, our ‘health’ warning with our plant list:  it is correct at the time of posting.  If you are driving to us for a specific plant, please call first.

Please read the full newsletter here