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Progress report

Sunday, 26 May 2013

It's a month since I added a few picture to my blog, oh except for my rant about Royal Mail.  The late spring has meant that everything needed doing at the same time.  I usually start potting my carnations on into final 8 or 9 inch pots in or around mid April and after finishing that job I plant out the onions, then in mid May I start on the chrysanthemums.  Well this year the carnation cuttings were late going out because of the snow, this meant I was later potting my own plants.  The spring was the coldest recorded in my lifetime so plants were slower growing and all the cash in my pockets was disappearing paying the gas and electric bills.  I eventually started potting the carnations by the 25th April and its been non stop ever since.  2,000 litres of compost mixed for the carnations and soon afterwards another 2,000 litres for the chrysanthemums.  We both had two bouts of bronchitis so trying to continue was both hard work and was certainly not pleasurable. Potting the carnations is usually very enjoyable, all the windows and doors open in the greenhouse and the birds singing in the trees outside, what more could anyone want.  When my parents and my aunt and uncle built the bungalows at Mace Lane I wonder did they ever think that I would get 40 very pleasurable years here in our garden.  Well it makes you appreciate your parents and it makes you appreciate good health because potting those carnations this year was certainly not pleasurable at all, to add to this I knew due to the late spring everything was queuing up.  Fortunately by the time I got started on the chrysanthemums in mid May the bronchitis had gone.  The severe cold at night (75 consecutive frosty mornings since Christmas day) has left the foliage on the chrysanths with dead little brown patches on the lower leaves.  The onions are definitely a good 2 weeks behind.  Never the less things are starting to take shape.

Miniature roses grown in florists buckets           Roses in florists buckets grown for sale at

                                                                           the Rhondda Rose Society's show, also

                                                                           Rosa laxa rootstocks for budding more roses

 

               

Chrysanths in final 9 & 10 inh pots under cover. Looking down.

  

  Looking up.

  

Duke of Kent & Sports                                         Jessie Habgood & Sports                                 Amber Gigantic, my most consistent variety.

              

McKinley, John Nevill's new cultivar, released by me this year.  Good luck to everyone who has bought it, I'm looking forward to showing it this coming November.  Just a word about John Nevill, Thank you John for all you are doing raising new cultivars.  It certainly makes the hobby much more interesting for all us growers.  Now that all the commercial breeders have gone, its the likes of John, Richard Coles, Harry Lawson, Gordon Dowson, Don Horn and others who deserve a great debt of gratitude from us all.

  

  When I'm housing chrysanthemum pots into the greenhouse in September, I'll also be eating these autumn fruiting raspberries 'Polka' a vigorous easy to                    

  grow autumn fruiting raspberry.

      

 The new mixed border I planted last year is filling out nicely.  Its nice to have friends

 like Maurice Woodfield who gave me some of his Delphinium raisings and some excellent

 Lupin seed which turned out better than anything you could buy.  I planted about 15 plants

 and no two were the same.  All top notch and some lovely colours

 

Some step-over apples I grafted on to M27 rootstock on the bottom wire and a few

on M9 on the upper wire,  in hindsight the M9 are a bit more vigorous and easier to grow.

Every time I ran a grafting course I kept a few mementos, and here they are. 

I spotted a few Cabbage White Butterflies and rushed to get the net over my Brassicas.

Just in time.

 

Likewise a net to stop carrot-fly, last year we had some lovely carrots.

A greenhouse full of bits and pieces waiting to go out in June.

The onions look OK but about 2 weeks behind.

Potatoes are making slow progress due to cold nights, please no more frosts!!!

Joanne's Highlight and sports for the September shows.                                                  Greenhouse with earlier varieties and also leeks

    

Some chrysanths that won't fit under the cover. ready to line out in a few weeks when

they've made more root into their final pots.                                                                         Next years new ones from John Nevill,  Patton & McTell.

     

Lastly, after last years very wet summer when my strawberries rotted before they ripened

This year, new plants in florists buckets, under cover if it rains.

 

 

Posted by: ivormace@hotmail.com at 14:56

What are Royal Mail up to

Friday, 26 April 2013

My chrysanthemum orders went out from early February and late March. However I posted one late parcel after 1st April when Royal Mails new prices had taken effect.  They've come up with a slot like they use for letters. My box is now a MEDIUM PARCEL and cost £5.60 for under 1 kg.  I contacted my box supplier and they are well aware of Royal Mail's new size guide. They sent me 3 samples of boxes that fall into the SMALL PARCEL at a £3.00 charge.  Two of these boxes have a much bigger volume than my 4 inch x 4 inch x 13 inch box that is now falling foul of Royal Mail's SMALL PARCEL size.

Now I've got to make a decision.  Either burn 3 or 4 hundred boxes and restock with the new shallower boxes, and prey Royal Mail don't come up with another scheme that causes me yet another problem.  Or find an alternative carrier.  I've found one closer to home than the Post Office, that guarantees next day delivery, any size box under 2 kilograms for £3.99.

Its a bit of a no brainer really. All those customers who I had to send two boxes to, could now go in one bigger box and all the others can go in my old boxes. all under 2KG for £3.99. So by doing this I won't have to put my Post & Packing prices up.

 

The bottom box is one the largest size that will go through Royal Mail's SMALL PARCEL Slot. The top box is my normal box that I've been using for many years, now a MEDIUM PARCEL.  I bet like me you cant believe it.  You couldn't make it up. If Royal Mail was your business would you do something like this.

I still can't believe it's true.

All the boxes on the left would qualify as SMALL PARCELS while my old box on the right has to go as a MEDIUM PARCEL.  No it's not April Fool's Day.

 

Posted by: ivormace@hotmail.com at 21:02

It's a busy time in the garden

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

It really is a busy time and to top it off I've had a really heavy cold.  My energy levels are low and I have a lot of jobs falling behind.   It's a great relief to see the end of the continuous frosty nights.  I've cultivated the garden and planted my potatoes, now I need to plant out some other vegetable plants I have here.

I'm in the midst of getting my onion bed ready in the tunnel and tomorrow when I finish I will close it up for a week to warm the soil before planting out.

The chrysanthemums are all in 5 & 6 inch pots in the cold-frames and the carnations are ready for potting on, so I must get on with mixing the compost.

 

Garden cultivated and ready for planting.

 

Most of the Chrysanthemums are out in the cold-frames, now there's room to start potting the carnations

Cold Frames

Peggy Ann

Gigantic's

Onions & Leeks are lagging behind.

Getting ready to plant out onions.

Posted by: ivormace@hotmail.com at 20:43

R.H.S. Growing Succes Talk, A first for the Rhondda Valley and a great success.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

What a good night we had last night at the Maes-yr-Haf Hall, Trealaw.  It was a privilege to be there to hear someone who really knows her subject.  I'm sure anyone who is remotely interested in growing herbs is now hooked.  Personally I'm quite looking forward to visiting Jekka's Herboretum. 

Posted by: ivormace@hotmail.com at 09:07

R.H.S. Growing Succes Talk

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Rhondda Gardening Clubs have an R.H.S. Growing Success Talk on Wednesday 17th April 2013 at 7.15pm at the Maes yr Haf Hall, Brithweunydd Road, Trealaw, Rhondda CF40 2UD  Tickets £5 RHS Members, £6 Non Members. 

The speaker is Jekka McVicar the Herb expert from Alverston, Avon.  Jekka runs a Herb Nursery and has won numerous awards at RHS shows, she is acknowledged as one of the countries herb experts.  The talk will be 'Growing Herbs & Herbs at RHS Shows. 

THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR JEKKA,  AN EXPERT IN HER FIELD.

Tickets from Ivor Mace, 01443 775531.  ivormace@hotmail.com.  or send to 2 Mace Lane, Ynyswen, Treorci, Rhondda, CF42 6DS

 

Jekka's exhibit in the 2007 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower show, her exhibit was awarded the Tudor Rose Award for best trade stand in show.

  

  

Posted by: ivormace@hotmail.com at 23:17

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