Diary Entry 2 July 2012

Well, here we are half way through the year, and what a year!

We’ll look back on 2012 and say “This March?- not as warm as 2012”, “do you remember the strength of the wind in April 2012?”, “April 2012? wettest on record!”, “June 2012, wettest on record!”.

Yet through all that, Picket Lane Nursery continues to grow. Whilst the news reports are saying that because of the weather, the horticultural world is in a state of collapse, we continue to grow. With three years still to run before our 10 year plan to complete the gardens expires, we’re looking forward with confidence, and preparing our stock plants for next season. From October through to March each year, the dozens of gardening clubs we give talks to are able to buy our massive range of perennials and shrubs in 9cm pots, ready to plant directly into the garden or pot on into 2 ltr pots. This winter, we’re offering our 9cm plants by post, so we need to create many more plants now to keep up with demand.

The gardens at the nursery continue to improve. Another bed in the perennial garden was dug this spring, and even now, just two months later, it looks great. With just one more bed, 30 foot of the long border and the wet bed to go, we should have a garden where all our perennials can be seen growing in their natural environment.

The plans are complete for the 2 acre shrub garden which we hope to start this autumn, so we’re on the hunt for a few hundreds of flowering shrubs. All donations very welcome. All we need to do is complete the deer fencing in that area, and we can start planting.

Our 5 acre meadow keeps throwing up surprises. Every year, the number of species of flowers seems to double. This year, the swayth of Ragged Robbin interspersed with White Robbin doubled in size. Just a mass of pink and white swaying in the wind. And for the first time, an orchid has popped up. Possibly dormant for decades, now the heavy covering of grass has gone, the seed has finally seen some daylight and rewarded us with its presence. Who knows what the future will bring.

Nanny, our Berkshire sow should be farrowing in the next month, so that’s another special event for us. She did well last time, producing 9 offspring, and demonstated such amazing mothering skills. All we need is for the next four weeks to be dry. It’s been such a wet spring and summer that all of our pigs are wallowing in mud. We normally move them into new pens every couple of months, but this year, it’s all so wet that they need to be moved on much sooner. The next panic will be having to fence off new pens.

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