Thursday, 13 May 2010

Cuckoo

Finally, I’ve heard the cuckoo: the nightingale has been singing for a good fortnight, but I suppose that the gowk is like me, and can’t stand that bloody northeast wind that has been blighting this part of Kent for what seems like weeks.
May is a busy time for plant sales and events, but we’ve never been so cold as this year: the absolute limit was at Charing country fair , on the race course under the Downs. The wind rushed over the Downs, bearing sleet, hail and all else in front of it. The Bank holiday crowds stayed at home in front of the fire, or ventured out briefly, and then went home, and didn’t buy any plants. Other sales were slightly warmer, perhaps our favourite was the Horder Centre Spring Fair at Crowborough where we were looked after royally, and met regular plant lovers.
The prolonged dry and cold spell has slowed grass growth down-the cattle have to work hard to find enough to eat. Calves are making good use of the shelter provided by our new hedges. Nursery stock, too, is suffering, and we are still find what has succumbed to the winter frost.
There has been much comment in the blogosphere about the reliability of peat free compost. As a fairly new enterprise we decided that we wouldn’t use peat-for both environmental concerns, and because we are lucky enough to sell plants at a National Trust property. We have had problems with peat free, especially that based on municipal waste: I’d probably use it on the farm if it was free, but we’ve had reasonable results with a coir based product, and we were complimented on our plants at a fair last week by a fellow nurserywoman who’d noticed our spanking new blackboard extolling the virtues of coir. Fame at last!
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