Summer is here

So last week we saw one of the best weeks so far. Well as far as the weather was concerned anyway. For me however i was away for the week.

unfortunatly while i was away i could not get work out of my mind. One thing that came to mind was the fact we need to order christmas trees soon.

Realy its hot, its sunny and there is no bad weather in sight. But I am thinking about what and how many trees to order. I must be out of my mind.

Still business can not be held back or postponed due to weather so ahead with the plans for winter here we go.

The spring veg has been sown ready for sale in around a month.

The cyclamen have been potted months ago ready for the lead up to christmas and i look forward to the first delivery of bulbs.

Well i say look forward to (i hate bulbs) Had years working with them, then sudenly, out of the blue my hands decided not to agree with the handling of thousands of them.

 

April showers

After the heatwave in March, the weather here has turned much colder and wetter and we have had one or two frosts which have caused some damage to new growth on various plants including Pieris and Buddleias. They will recover in a few weeks, and all the tender plants are still in the polytunnels and greenhouses where they are well protected from the weather.They will not be outside for a month or so when, hopefully, it will be a bit warmer.Below are some photographs taken on a walk around the nursery earlier this week.

Plug plants are selling well both here and by mail order.

This is Fuchsia autumnale an unusual trailing variety with coloured leaves.

Ornamental grasses are just beginning to come to life.

New growth on hardy ferns is beautiful in spring.

A view of the outdoor beds at the nursery.

We all make mistakes - this Cowslip is supposed to be a Primula Japonica.

Auriculas are a great old fashioned plant becoming popular again.

Blue Hydrangeas in the greenhouse.

White Azaleas always look fresh and clean.

Our shop and farmhouse taken from the nursery.

Finally, a view of the alpine beds.

 

 

 

 

 

Foliage colour

Plants that have leaves with interesting colours or shapes play an essential part in planting or planning a garden. Here are a few pics of some good foliage plants currently looking good here at Jane Lane.

Photinia Red Robin, a fast growing evergreen shrub.

A selection of Japanese Maples

Sorbaria sorbifolia with new growth

Sambucus Black Lace - an unusual elder.

Carex Amazon Mist - an evergreen ornamental grass.

And finally, multi coloured lettuce plants

 

In the greenhouse at Jane Lane

Here are a few pics taken in the glasshouses on Wednesday.

Spring hanging basket made by Lisa

Lemon scented pelargoniums

Young Cyclamen seedlings for winter flowering

Geraniums just starting to flower

The curious Aechmea or Urn plant

Young chili plant almost ready to sell

White mophead Hydrangeas

Calceolaria or slipper flower- I always want to pop them!

Clivia miniata . a plant for life

I hope this gives you some idea of the range of plants we have here, I will post some outdoor pics tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

Mad March

It’s now the middle of March and suddenly we are very busy and you can almost hear the plants growing. Hardy perennials such as Delphiniums and Lupins, Hollyhocks and Foxgloves are making fast growth, it’s hard to believe that they were virtually dormant a few weeks ago. Many shrubs and trees are also coming into leaf and Forsythias, Flowering Currants and early flowering Brooms are all showing colour and Photinia Red Robin has deep red new leaves.

It’s a great time of year to be a nurseryman, despite the increased work load  I feel much more energetic and optimistic – I think most people do which just shows we are still aligned with the natural rhythms much more than we realise.

In the greenhouses there are Tomato plants almost ready for sale, lots of flowering houseplants (it’s Mothers Day this weekend) and many summer flowering plants such as Pelargoniums and Fuchsias which are beginning to make fast progress.We have a large selection of hanging basket plug plants which we are currently selling both by mail order and from the nursery and the first lots of bedding plants have been pricked out to grow on for selling in May.

Roses are almost in full leaf now and early flowering Alpines such as Aubretia and Arabis are flowering – along with Alyssum saxatile and Phlox subulata these make a great show from spring to early summer. Snakes head fritillaries are unfurling their bizarre flowers and Scillas and Chionodoxas are fully out. Alliums and Eremurus, although they don’t flower until summer, are growing fresh leaves which will only last until flowering time when they die away.

There’s a lot more going on here including vegetables and fruit trees and bushes, herbs and hedging plants ,why not come and see for yourself? Just a warning, though, if we see you loitering aimlessly we may put you to work!

It might as well be Spring

The rise in temperatures in the last few days has had a dramatic effect on plants here on the nursery ,they all look a little happier , growth buds have swelled on shrubs and perennials are pushing up their new shoots. The biggest effect is on the spring flowering bulbs, they are suddenly flowering whereas before they seemed to have been in bud for ages, patiently waiting for some warmth.

For gardeners , seeing Snowdrops  Crocuses and miniature Narcissus flowering acts like an injection of hope and energy – it means the best time of year is approaching and it’s time to act instead of just making plans. Here are a few photos of spring flowers taken by my wife Jo, hope you like them.

Snowdrops the first flowers of the year

Crocus thomasinianus

Miniature Narcissus flowering today

 

 

 

A day at the market

One of the ways that we sell the plants we produce here is via retail markets, here are a few pics from my day today which began with a cough and a coffee at 3.30am.After a while when I began to feel human, I drove to the nursery to pick up my van and set off to go to Ulverston at 4.30am returning about thirteen hours later, which is a long day but interesting mainly because I get to meet and talk to a real variety of people and hopefully sell some plants as well.

Almost white van

Ulverston at 6am

My stall at 8.30am

Seed potatoes are selling well

 

9.30am Breakfast at the Olde Ulverston Tea Rooms

George and Irene Wilson my neighbours on the market

Angus of the Cumbrian Pig Company

Urban Legendz (John supplies me with coffee)

Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston

3pm time to pack up

Flowering plants from our nursery

 

 

 

 

The weather – or not

Today at last most of our plants here have thawed out after the cold spell of the last couple of weeks. Unlike last year there doesn’t appear to be any serious damage to anything, although all the tender plants are still safely tucked away in the greenhouses where they are well protected from the cold.

Hopefully,if temperatures stay near normal, growth will restart on the hardy shrubs and perennials which , after being well advanced about a month ago, now look fairly normal for the middle of February. Being a nurseryman, it’s hard not be obsessed by the weather  because it determines the growth and sales of plants and ultimately the profit or loss of the whole enterprise. Spring is a particularly nervous time as we have many more tender plants around the nursery so when frost is forecast in April or May we often spend half an hour in the evenings and mornings lifting fleece on and off bedding plants to avoid damage.

Customers often ask me for advice about when to plant or sow particular crops and are sometimes disappointed when I always favour the cautious approach but this is based on experience ( sometimes bitter). In a few weeks the sun will shine and every gardener will be keen to get going ,it’s a sort of spring fever that sets in and no-one who loves plants is immune from it, including me. That is the time to stop and think before acting rashly, it’s Ok to take a risk or two but suicidal early plantings rarely work out, often the crop planted a bit later in better conditions will overtake and out perform an earlier struggling batch of plants.

It’s fine to start early in a polytunnel or particularly a greenhouse where the plants are well protected, these are valuable tools for getting earlier and better established plants and extending the growing season at both ends, but for outdoor planting the ground has to be in the right condition and warming up. My grandfather, when asked what was the right time to plant potatoes, recommended one finger in the bum and one in the ground – if they were the same temperature it was fit to plant!

Plug plants

Our first batch of hanging basket and patio plug plants are almost ready for sale – we pride ourselves on the quality of the plants we send out. They are the same plug plants we use ourselves for growing on here on the nursery,we believe they are the best you can buy,I took some photos today;

Double Geranium ready for potting

Double Geranium potted three weeks

Surfinia plug plant

Fuchsia plug plant

The plug plants we send out are well rooted and ready for potting on and will make fast and vigorous growth  so that they are well established before summer,a large well grown plant will produce many more flowers during the season than a small plant put outside in May.

Our plug plants are available for mail order at http://janelanenursery.co.uk/store/plug-plants and also for collection here at Jane Lane. They are available from now until early May – if you buy in February/March they will need to be grown on in either a greenhouse or conservatory and protected from frost.

 

On The Nursery

It’s almost the end of January and things are beginning to move here at the nursery.We have lots of seedlings germinated and growing on in our greenhouses,here are some sweet and chili peppers whch are slow growing and will not be ready for planting until May;

We have many plants flowering under glass including Cyclamen, Primroses and these Streptocarpus;

We also grow cut flowers here and this batch of scented Lily longiflorum will soon be ready for cutting;

As always at this time of year we have two regular and welcome visitors in our glasshouses and tunnels, Robins and Blackbirds are busy looking for food especially when we have a spell of cold weather.Robins tend to keep a friendly but respectful distance away from people  but the Blackbirds are fearless and you have to be careful not to step on them!

A friendly but cautious robin

Outside ,many bulbs have come to life and we have Irises,Snowdrops and Daffodils flowering in pots – Hellebores are coming to life slowly although this current spell of cold weather will probably slow everything down again.

miniature daffodils in pots

For gardeners and nurserymen also, this is the time to make plans and think about the season ahead, what new plants to try out and whether there are lessons to be learned from last years successes and failures.If you have any ideas or tips I would be glad to hear from you.

 

Jane Lane in January

We know our onions

 

Viola seedlings just germinated

 

Mindy – our managing director

Our rose beds

 

where we have a brew

 

Perennials just starting to grow

Guide to growing Potatoes

WHAT SORT TO CHOOSE

Earlies are planted closer together so are better in a small space, and are less likely to suffer from blight because you lift them earlier in the year.First Earlies don’t store well but give you great ‘new potatoes’ fresh from the garden. They take 10 – 13 weeks from planting to harvest, and should be ready to lift in June/July.Second Earlies can often be stored for a short time, take 16 – 17 weeks from planting to harvest and can be lifted July/August.Maincrop Potatoes are the ones to grow if you want a large harvest to store over winter, and have plenty of space to grow them. They take 18 – 20 weeks to reach maturity and can be lifted in August to eat straight away, or left until September or October before harvesting for storage.

HOW TO START

Pre- sprouted (chitted) potatoes give a bigger crop – especially earlies. So set out your seed potatoes with the ‘eye’ end uppermost, in egg boxes or similar, in a cool, light. Frost-free place until little shoots form.If you live in the north you should do this in early feb.

HOW TO PLANT

When the soil starts to warm up – usually late March to early April around here – you can plant your First Earlies, with Second Earlies in mid April, and Maincrop in mid to late April. Dig a trench 5” (12cm) deep, in a sunny spot which was preferably dug and manured the previous autumn, and which hasn’t recently grown potatoes (to reduce disease). Sprinkle in a little fertilizer. Growmore or fish, blood and bone are ideal. Set the potatoes in the trench with the shoots upwards. First Earlies should be 12” (30cm apart with 16” – 20” (40 – 50cm) between rows. Second Earlies and Maincrop potatoes need to be 15” (37cm) apart with up to 30” (75cm) between each row. Cover with soil.

GROWING TIPS

‘Earth up’ your potatoes when the shoots appear – by drawing soil over the shoots with a hoe to protect against the frost. Continue earthing up at regular intervals so that by harvest time there’s a ridge of soil about 6” (15cm) high to stop the tubers turning green in the light, and to protect them from blight. This fungal disease is impossible to control and is common in warm wet summers. Some varieties are much more blight resistant than others. If you see signs of blight on your potato plants (spreading brown/black patches on the leaves, turning rotten) cut off all the foliage and destroy it, leave the tubers to mature for 2 weeks and then harvest them. They may not store well. Feed Second early and Maincrop potatoes again in early summer. Weed the rows when the plants are young – later their foliage will shade out the competition. Make sure there’s enough water to swell the tubers – irrigating with a ‘soaker hose’ (leaky pipe) around the plants is ideal.

HARVESTING

First Earlies are ready for lifting when the flowers open but the leaves are still green. Later potatoes can be left until the foliage begins to yellow – cut off the foliage and leave the tubers for 2 weeks before lifting, so that skins toughen. Store only perfectly sound potatoes in hessian or paper sacks – not plastic.

GROWING IN CONTAINERS

Potatoes are easy to grow in a container at least 18” (45cm) wide and deep, the bigger the better, with holes for drainage and a lyer of crocks or gravel at the bottom. Half fill with compost, put 2-5 seed potatoes on top – (5 if you’re using a container which is dustbin sized) with the sprouts uppermost. Water. Add more compost as the plant grows until the pot is almost full. Continue to water, and feed occasionally with chicken manure or seaweed extract.

 

My favourite job

The beautiful weather continues – clear sunny days and frosty nights are perfect for January, the mild conditions so far this winter has been a problem, encouraging early and weak  growth on hardy plants and the danger of damping off and fungal diseases on glasshouse crops, so a spell of colder drier weather will help.

We have a hare resident on the nursery.I see him occasionally (he’s big so I’m assuming male) although he soon bounces away,those big ears are very effective early warning systems!We also have some crafty field mice sneaking into our polytunnels and harvesting the fresh growth from young alpines and perennials,they are more active in winter when food is presumably harder to find outside.

I noticed some mice damage while weeding some perennials in pots in one of the tunnels.I do find this my favourite and most relaxing job at this time of year,it’s a simple and satisfying task . When you’re done you can see that you’ve achieved something and while you’re doing it you can let your thoughts go anywhere from planning the year ahead to daydreaming about more pleasant times.I’d be interested to hear from anyone about their favourite gardening job and why they enjoy it.

Perennial young plants

First full day back at work,it’s amazing how plants have grown in a week even in the middle of winter.We have a superb batch of young perennials which are ready to grow on for flowering this summer.We are selling these from 60p each so it is a very economical way to add permanent plants to your garden.They will need to be potted and grown on until spring in a protected place (no heat is required) when they can be planted out safely.http://janelanenursery.co.uk/store/perennials/perennial-plug-plants

The weather is very friendly for this time of year and plants are quite advanced but I know from past experience that winter usually has a sting in the tail!

Favourite Potatoes

Our seed potatoes have just arrived – I have listed some of the most popular varieties. We will have many more including some interesting heritage varieties including blue and black types. What I was wondering whilst looking at all the different types of colours and shapes is whether you have a favourite sort, and why you would recommend it to others?

Jane Lane Nurseries

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