Wednesday, 17 February 2016

From beautiful clear blue skies to more snow

The  view from the nursery, Pentland hills bathed in sunshine 

All good things and weekends away must come to an end and it's back to auld claes and porridge again. Porridge is certainly needed for these cold, frosty morning this week. But I much prefer them with their blue skies and sunshine than the low cloud, rain and gales that have dominated this winter. I always feel it's a measure of how much you enjoy (or not) your job when you face going back after a break. I was looking forward to getting back to the nursery and getting on with the list of jobs and catching up. Which I guess is a good thing when I own it and have to make it work. The blue skies and sun helped the feel good factor too with glorious views of the Pentlands from the nursery. Having made sure everything was as it should be after our time away I got on with the cafe flowers, going for a more romantic look with a nod to Valentines day on Sunday. Making the most of the dry weather I carried on with the willow weaving on the bottom terrace. It is almost done and I am determined to finish it this week. 

Our advert in the Caley handbook

Later on I watered the tunnel, the plants don't dry out so much in winter, but as they are undercover and don't get any rain, it pays to keep an eye on them and a light spray helps. I am really pleased with how the tunnel has filled up with all my propagating over the past months. This is the basis of stock for the next year or so, including new introductions to the stock list from seed I have sown which is beginning to germinate in the tunnel already. David came over later and started painting the covered area. This is a project I'm excited to see done as it will improve the look of the nursery again. More on that later once it is finished and I can do before and after shots.

Never too old for a bit of romance

Since it was pancake day this week, we had home made savoury crispy pancakes for tea on Wednesday night when Adam was over and then sweet pancakes with caramelised banana, ice cream, maple syrup, nutella and so on. needless to say there were none left.

It's always a pleasant surprise when I find a creme egg I didn't know I had

On Thursday we headed to another nursery to pick up a collection of dwarf conifers I had ordered. These will add colour and interest to the sales area at this time of year and give our customers another range of plants to buy from. There are a range of shapes and colours, that will add interest to the garden all year round. Once we got back to the nursery and unloaded the car I got on with the willow weaving as the weather was dry again and I finished them, yeh! It's been a job and a half as I started before Christmas, but due to the weather it's been a bit here and there since then. Reducing the height of the willows and tying them in has really opened up the space on the terraces. Lots of people have commented positively on how much better it all looks too which is nice.

Conifers now for sale

I re-arranged the shrub tables in the sales area and set out the conifers, pricing and photographing as I went. I also put a selection on the display table at the front of the sales area so customers can see them from the car park, hopefully it will entice them up. I re-did the other display tables at the front with colourful grasses, Bergenias and the lovely little Crocus 'Herald' below. Other spring bulbs are beginning to show through and will be available for sale soon.

Crocus 'Herald'

In between other nursery jobs I have been tidying, clearing, brushing down and re stocking the sales tables. The front display tables are re-done with seasonal interest ad grasses, trees and shrubs have all been done too. The perennial tables are cleaned and awaiting looking good plants as I tidy through the stock beds once it either stops raining, snowing or defrosts so I can get on. There are lots of interesting evergreens, coloured foliage, coloured stems and winter flowering plants now looking good and available for sale. 

Coloured foliage and spring flowers

Sunset driving home from work

Friday was another dry day with blue skies and sun, I could get used to this! It was not a working outside day  as the ground was frozen solid. I did finish the last of the sales tables and tidied up the grasses on the table, top dressing them and putting them back. We had plenty people come up and have a look around and good to chat to other keen gardeners. I labelled potted bulbs for sale and friends were over to see progress and bring a few things over. Then it was home for tea and to open all the parcels the posty had left. Baskets for the nursery, an electric blanket for me (finally given in as I am fed up going to bed and it's freezing) and a new bread maker. I regret getting rid of the last one a few years ago and as David is such a bread fan we felt it was worth it again. We've stashed away the money we have saved from being under the food budget every week and could finally get the one we wanted. It's a great machine and the bread unsurprisingly is very more-ish!

Snow again at Quercus

We woke up to snow on Saturday, I'm beginning to get a bit bored of winter now. What should have been a simple half hour journey to Biggar and then to work turned into a almost two hour marathon. Knowing I needed to get petrol and some shopping I thought I'd head to Biggar first before the snow got worse, only to get to the petrol station in Biggar and the pumps weren't working! Not good when the petrol light has come on and the nearest station in work direction is Penicuik half an hour way. After a very slippy sliding journey up the A702 with the petrol light glaring at me I glided into the petrol station. Car filled up and shopping bought I made it to work and treated myself to a large mocha and a chat with Linda. It snowed on and off all day and I did paperwork, admin and working on setting up the new to me laptop that needs everything put back on it. I went through a pile of Quercus stuff in the silage shed to be kept or thrown out, potted some Aquilegia and then headed home mid afternoon. I sometimes feel a bit guilty about going home early, but there's not a soul around shopping and I know come spring and summer I will be working seven days and long hours.Still a couple of bonus hours at home allows me to catch up and do the ironing and clean out the fish tanks.

Trees on the hill at Whitmuir

Behind the nursery

The snow was still lying the next day so worked on putting together pot orders and helping David finish the covered area. We got the tools and shelves up and it looks fab, exactly how I wanted it to look. Practical, quirky, vintage ............. sounds like me actually. So here it is, before and after.




Watering can and rosehips

It's great to get another job of the list and keep moving forward, despite the weather. We headed home for valentines dinner cooked by David. One of his signature dishes with home made bread followed by a DVD, the Book Thief. I was given it for my birthday last year and finally we've watched it. It was different, I really enjoyed it, but much too sad for valentines night! 

Monday and my catching up at home day, unfortunately not a catching up in the garden day as everything is still frozen solid, Is everyone else thinking the garden tidy up is never going to happen? But I did get lots done non the less including finally getting the car cleaned and new mats put in. It Looks a lot better, though I think half the nursery was in the car on the floor! The house also got a good clean and lots of admin done including a plant list for the scented garden and and a couple of buying lists for plants.

Tuesday brought rain and more strong winds, not ideal when you have family visiting and want to show off the nursery. my sister, nieces and nephew arrived after lunch and we all bundled into the cars and headed to Whitmuir. We had a lovely coffee, hot chocolate and cakes while catching up with everyone. It was lovely to spend time together after so long and to see how well my sister looks after her cancer treatment. The kids are so grown up too where does the time go? After a big picnic tea and much hilarity they headed away. It was a great day and a good end to another busy week. I am hoping the weather will improve to get much needed jobs done soon.

Have a great week.

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  1. Glad to read your sister is looking well Rona. And nice she is able to visit you and the nursery. It's all go there at Quercus and chez Rona. I love the look of the covered area - you've made a hell of a difference there. I was looking at the snow on the Pentlands from this side the other day and thought of you over there. I hope the remainder of the week is productive.

    1. Hi Angie, thanks for your kind words, she's a long way to go but has also has come along way too. It is all go despite the weather, there's always lots to do in the background, so I'm really caught up on planning, paperwork and admin. Thanks re look of the nursery, it's great to see how far it has come already, lots more in the pipeline :) Have a great week.

  2. Hey Rona,
    I've loved this breakdown of your week at the nursery. Obviously no snow or frost here, but wind and rain aplenty. Thankfully we've also had some bright spells this half term week. It's good to hear that your sister is responding well to her treatment. It's a horrible time for all concerned. As for the crème egg.....that never happens here.
    Leanne xx

  3. Lol Leanne, it's very unusual for a creme egg to escape, hence the photo :) We had a dry and sunny day here today but bitterly cold and snow still on the ground. It's been a difficult year fr the family but she has a lot of support which helps with 3 young kids. I am envious of your wonderful beach photos. I' be on the beach every day if I could, have a great weekend when it comes xx

  4. A lovely read, thank you. We have managed to escape the snow so far, I'm hoping it stays that way :) xxx

    1. Thank you Fran, the snow has melted over night and we are back to heavy rain and strong winds :( still there is lots of potting to do and seeds to sow, have a good weekend x