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Friday 20th August, 2021
Just like that and bang, Level 4
It was midway through the afternoon and I was just helping some customers load some plants into their car when they dropped the news that there had been an community case of covid identified up in Aucks. I thrust a computer into the hands of the admin newbie, Jan who deals with orders had already taken hers, and I was off to watch the news at 6pm. By midnight that very same evening we were thrust into Level 4 and as a small business we have to be closed with all the team to stay at home. I will quickly add here that whilst they are managing some work from home, it is by no means ideal, or as quick, as they don't have their three screen set up, like here in the nursery, nor do they have the corresponding paperwork.
On that note I have to say that I have the bestest team .. I mean offering to join my bubble here in the nursery to keep things ticking over is pretty damn awesome. (I did say that we don't know how long this will be for and they do have their own families to be with) Not to mention that one of the team and their family actually live here on site and are helping us keep the day to day chores ticking over.
I said last time, it's a pretty neat place to be and wait out the government restrictions and this time is no different.. Plenty of space to wander around, well actually just go to work as usual, so no time to hang around and get bored. Spring is a pretty frantic time as the entire nursery needs to be spaced as the plants start to come into leaf. So I see plenty that needs to happen and look forward to when I get my team of 16 back and get things all ship shape again.
With all that in mind I need to reassure all those with orders in place. If you haven't had an email that says it's dispatched with track and trace details then it's most likely not to have left the nursery yet. All of these orders are still in place in date order being looked after and will be sent in date order once alert level restrictions change. At this point the courier company are only moving essential services. If you have made an order since lock down then we are picking these each day and putting them aside, again in date order.
On the subject of dispatch, we learnt from last level 4 that the courier companies were overrun with freight and we had to hold off until we knew that we could get our plants out and delivered within two or three days. This is especially important as our roses and tree start to leaf up with the spring. Just saying.
Spotted in the Garden centre today
Yellow Daphne.. or for the technos Edgeworthia grandiflora. The coolest plant!! Not a real Daphne but with Daphne like flowers in yellow and fragrant to boot which are held in clusters on naked stems, the leaves come later. I have to say this is one of my favs.
Chaenomeles or ornamental flowering quince... winter or very early spring flowering with simple flowers on bare branches, often sought after for floral work or just as a nice elegant plant in the winter. Early Orangehas pretty orange flowers and Yokuku is a classic white.
Camellia Little Gem.. This is special, being a dwarf, almost topiary ball like Camellia which was bred locally. Today its simple, white, drop like flowers were just buzzing with bees and I add here that the Camellia Transnokoensis at the office door was just humming out loud when I walked past the other day.
Peonies in pots. Potted peonies arrived just before lock down and were one of the tasks that we had to unpack so that the new shoots could start to grow without another pot sitting on top. Check them out here
Grevilleasas noted today in the garden centre White wingsand Cream and green.. White wings is a pretty one in white with a spreading bushy habit and Cream and green is as its name suggests and bushy in form, both popular choices
Lock down Garden tasks
I looked at our small orchard this morn with the plum trees starting to blossom and the next thought in my head was, we have not done the pruning yet. Plums are always pretty early to flower and its a good indication as to what wood they flower on being previous seasons growth. That doesn't alter the fact that the task hasn't been done. I think that we have around 30 trees there of different types and they are now going into their 4th season and so the job needs to be done now. Add to list!!!
Initially one prunes to form the shape of the tree, by crown lifting to get the trunk the right height, Not too high, just enough to mow around and then not to need a step ladder to pick the fruit. Usually in an orchard situation one aims for a three to five branch, vase, shape with an open centre for plenty of air movement to reduce fungal infections and provide plenty of sun for great plant growth.
Applesand pears fruit on fruiting spurs or whips and so if your tree form is established then you may be just removing all of the previous seasons vegetative growth leaving just enough for new spur growths. If your tree has some age of say some 7 to 10 years, then you may be replacing a limb with some new growth to get some new vigour and new fruiting spurs.
Rosesalso need to be pruned now if you haven't already. In a colder climate than ours here in the Tron, you may well have done the task, but in a warm climate, late is better, but it's now. Remember though, always prune on a dry day as moisture and rain in the air can transmit disease and in the rose family silver leaf is a particular problem
In general for roses, pruning is about removing dead, diseased or cross over wood (stems). Stems that have finished flowering get cut back to around three or four buds (10 to 12cm) up from the bush framework. Yet again, like all pruning you want to end up with a nice open bush with plenty of air movement through and consequently plenty of flowers.
Feeding your garden and again now is the time, rose food to roses,fruitand citrus to all things fruiting, Camellia fert to all acid lovers like Camellias, Rhodos, Pieris or lily of the valley shrubs, and so on.. I also have circles of mulch around my orchard fruit trees and my guess is that these will all need to be renewed.
Vege garden weeded, dug over and compost dug in for readiness for the spring.. I always leave this to the last minute but if I get the compost in now then it could sit and break down over the next few weeks.
Three days in and I have kind of lost track of what day it actually is and yes tomorrow is the weekend. I hope that 3pm today brings us all some good news or at least a finite time to this latest out break...
However you are managing in this time, whether it be baking, gardening, shopping online or making some Tik tok vids, take care and look after each other.