Chelsea Update April 25th
Chelsea Update 25th April 2019
Just 28 days until Press Day! It has been a turbulent few days with the weather. Last week began with a very cold wind that made many of the plants show visible signs of cold affecting the foliage, and we rushed around moving some key lines inside. Then as the week progressed, that wind gave way to a searing hot weekend with 23 degrees outside and over 35 degrees in the tunnels, and we had to move some more delicate lines outside. And now, it appears that we are about to return to a more seasonal norm of mild temperatures and classic April Showers.
This is all making life very tricky for Matt our nursery manager to deal with operationally, and it is even more difficult predicting plant growth and development for the next few weeks.
Many plants are now at the finishing off stage and are producing buds, or even starting to flower. Most of these are now outside in a shady area. Aquilegias, Polemoniums and Geums are all looking good, and we are confident that they will quietly sit there until the show opens. Euphorbias have been in full bloom for weeks but seem to go on forever.
Lupins, foxgloves and delphiniums are sending up tall flower buds, very quickly, none more so than the lupins, and they need daily looking at. We need to grow lupins reasonably warm to get large plants, but then as soon as they decide to flower, we need to whip them outside to slow down the development of the spike.
Other plants are very late developers, astrantias, are still just beginning to grow, and although we worry about them, they are happiest growing outside, sitting in a shady spot, quietly developing. Actaea, and ferns similarly quietly do it best when not fussed over.
The hot blast has been great news for those plants that we need to cook in order to get them to flower. Crambe cordifolia has benefitted immensely from the heat, as has Campanula, some of the later flowering Nepeta, and also most of the sun loving Mediterranean plants.
Most of our clients are visiting regularly now, and some are bringing their planting teams in order that they can get a feel for the plants and will be prepared for what they will receive on site at the show. It is also a chance to make any last minute amendments to their plant lists, where plants have not worked as expected, or to accommodate more of the plants that are looking particularly beautiful.
The nursery is rammed with plants, and we have run out of space! Thus, we are looking forward to loading the first lorry on 2nd May, when finally, we begin to send the largest trees and shrubs off to the show site, and the massive logistical operation begins. But there is a lot of growing still happening.
Watch this space for the next update!