It’s been almost 2 weeks of windy turbulent weather, very different from the early blast of heat we had earlier in the month. It has not been particularly cold, and we have barely seen any frost this month, and so everything continues to grow vigorously. This has meant that many plants have been ready to leave their cozy warm tunnels and go outside. However, we have not wanted them to get battered by the wind. So, the solution has been to vent the tunnels much more to cool them down so that growth slows slightly until the weather is more settled, and then the plants can be moved out, at which point we can warm up the tunnels again for the plants that need to remain in them. It’s a process of constant assessment, which Matt and Dave are very experienced at.
Light levels are increasing daily, daylength is extending, and plants are looking less drawn and stretched, particularly seedlings. This is of great importance for all of the southern Mediterranean plants which need to look like they are basking in sunshine rather than stretching to try to find the light. Light levels are a powerful tool in our armory of “Chelsea tricks”. We can often control the ultimate height of a plant, and the look of the foliage by increasing or decreasing the ambient light level. Aquilegias are a good example, grown in shade they will usually grow taller than those grown in full sun.
Fortunately, we have just about completed all the external plant sourcing for the six gardens, all the seeds have been pricked out or potted, and most plants are now in their final pots. So, what’s left to do? The remaining 8 weeks are all about growth and conditioning. Constant monitoring of the weather and moving plants into the most appropriate environment. Some plants will have a hard prune at the end of march to remove all of the early spindly growth so that they can make a final growth flurry ready to flower for the show.
Our clients are regular visitors to the nursery, some making weekly visits to monitor their plants, and keep us on our toes! We welcome as much input as possible from our clients. If we understand their needs as much as possible, and they can see themselves how their plants are growing, it all helps towards a fantastic end result.