Diary Entry 2 October 2012

Picket Lane Nursery grows!! As each year passes, we get closer to completing the vision we had for our 10 acres. Still a long way to go and this year has proved a difficult one because of the weather, but one thing is certain. Each year, we spend more time mantaining what we have, which means less time to move forward. Now the nights are drawing in we move into top gear setting out our 2013 extension plans. More gardens, more poly tunnel space, more pig pens and a new pig sty, new varieties to propagate, more sales space – and all this on top of repairing and replacing worn and damaged fencing, paths, and growing-on beds.

Someone said to me “now the summer has gone I expect you can take it easy” What a joke.

Since our last diary entry, Nanny has given birth to another 9 piglets. Great fun (for the first two weeks), then they realised that they are smaller than the gaps in the pig-fencing. Nine little piglets heading towards a poly tunnel fully stocked with thousands of next year’s plants! What a nightmare.
They will be ready to wean in six weeks time, so if you’ve ever thought of keeping your own rare-breed pigs, I really can reccomend Berkshires. Drop me an email for more details.

Our on-line shop should go live within the next week or two. That’s a real step in the dark. We really have no idea wether we might sell one or two plants by post, or sell hundreds of each variety, so we’re doubling up on all our most popular varieties. When they’ve gone, they’ve gone.

Final thought – if 2012 is to become an average year, the next three months need to be hot, sunny, dry, and free from high winds, mist and fog. What chance ?

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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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