Thursday, 25 June 2015

Huge Progress in the nursery

Time is going so quickly, there is lots to do but we are getting there tidying up the nursery area, the planted borders and working on the existing stock to bring it back to a sell-able state. It is tiring working seven days but I am really enjoying it and getting a kick out of running my own place. We've had customers and been working on marketing and spreading the word about what we are doing, where we are and our plans for the future of the nursery and gardens here.

Salvia in a recycled tin can

As well as the above jobs, I have been creating ideas and nice places in the nursery. The Salvia in the photo above sits with some old watering cans at the end of the potting bench where customers come to pay. Tin cans can be recycled into plant containers, this is an extra large one and I am pleased with how it looks. 

David hired a new toy for the weekend to burn of the weeds, he had great
fun, because we are on an organic farm we have to avoid chemicals

The big border at the entrance to the nursery got its back boards on last week which meant we could put the bark on so it didn't fall into the stream! The bark has really lifted the bed and plants look so much better now they have light, air and no weeds to hold them back. The bark will help suppress weeds and be easier for me to manage as well as making the place look good. It will also help retain moisture. Here is a blog I wrote on using bark in the garden two years ago.

Before the bark goes down

With the bark, which this week is now right up to where the trees start at the top of the photo

First we got these lovely hazel hurdles delivered

Then we put up these posts

Then we put the two together

The wind whips across the sales area past the office and doesn't do the plants on the sales tables much good so we decided to put up a screen. This will also hide the work area at the back and we wanted something robust and that looked good, so hazel hurdles it was. They were delivered in a few days and wired onto the posts, I am really pleased with how they look and now they provide a nice back drop to the seating area I have created.

A seating area for customers, with scented plants, plants with foliage interest and pretty flowers, you
can sit and admire the view over the gardens to the hills beyond. Today I added some pots of mint, the
scent is lovely

The guys have built more tables and I have filled them with tempting plants

There are now more tables behind with trees and shrubs

Looking up the track where I have been weeding another border and finding plants

We've had lots of this kind of delivery

Spreading the word

Colour on the sales tables

Yellows, blues and whites go well together

Our new leaflets were delivered this week

Next on the job list is to keep sorting out the existing stock, tidying the previously planted up borders and more marketing. David is also working on a project that will make a feature of the troughs that hold the water plants for sale. More of that later.

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The Quirky Bird Gardener

Quercus Garden Plants

Monday, 22 June 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day June 2015

It's been a busy old time, what with taking over the nursery and being there full time, but we have achieved a huge amount but more of that in another post. So what is flowering in my own garden? Here is a photographic round up of what's looking good. Thanks to May Dream Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.

Aliium giganteum

Asphodelus luteus

Geranium phaeum 'Mourning Widow'

Luzula nivea

Mixed Violas

A pretty pale lilac Aquilegia seedling

Persicaria bistorta 'Superba' and Primula pulverulaent

Primula alpicola

Ranunculus aconitifolius pleniflora

Rubus 'Benaden'

Saxifraga 'Spotted Dog'

Chaerophyllum hirsutum var roseum

Euphorbia polychroma

Polygonatum hookeri

Tiarella 'Morning Star'

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Friday, 19 June 2015

Volunteering at the nursery

Quercus Garden Plants
Unusual and hardy Plants for Scottish gardens

Leucanthemums, Primula and Achillea

The gardens and nursery here at Quercus Garden Plants require a wide range of horticultural skills to keep them looking great and moving forward. As such they provide a rich training ground for people wanting to learn a diverse range of gardening skills or those that want to garden and work in a peaceful, interesting and exciting nursery. Skills you can learn or expand on include basics such as weeding, general garden maintenance, garden design and creating new areas of the garden, retail nursery experience, plant propagation and much more and this makes for a varied and enjoyable work day. 

We accept a limited number of committed volunteers to work with us in the nursery. In exchange for their commitment and hard work we offer a broad knowledge base and practical experience working in a small dedicated team in a dynamic and interesting working environment. We also offer coffee, tea and biscuits which is always welcome. 

We will be doing a wide range of work in the gardens and nursery from general garden maintenance to creating new areas of the garden. Its full steam ahead to make this a fascinating garden to visit and experience gardening on the edge! 

Quercus Garden Plants is based in the grounds of Whitmuir organic farm, as well as the farm, where you can walk around and see the animals, they have a farm shop, gallery and restaurant. It is a great place to spend a day or afternoon with the family. 

If you are interested, whether for just one or two days or longer term, please get in touch through email or on Facebook.

We look forward to hearing from you


facebook:   Quercus garden Plants

Leucanthemums and Coreopsis

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

And so the Nursery Adventure begins.....

Although we've been working on and off at the nursery for the last three weeks, yesterday (Monday) was my first proper day at "work" and on my own too. Faced with the long long list of jobs we have to do I made myself a coffee when I arrived (advantage of being the boss) and sat and sorted out some paperwork. Not only is there all the outside work laying out the nursery, tidying it and sorting out the plants, there is also the paperwork involved in taking over a business. After an hour of that and some phone calls I started outside. Because the existing stock needs a lot of work to make it sell-able again I bought in some new plants, lots of flowering, colourful plants that will draw people up from the car park. My first job was to price and set out those plants.

Filling up sales tables, we got these cable drums from Pete, the farmer and they make ideal tables,
recycling and a rustic look too 

I also started clearing through all the dead plants we dumped at the weekend when we moved all the stock to the far end of the top terrace. It's a bit of an eye sore so I wanted it all gone as quickly as possible. It's all about first impressions and appearances and healthy plants. The empty pots and trays were stacked in the storage area and the ground swept up, it looks much better now. It will take a wee while to get the nursery back up to scratch but it is so exciting and satisfying to be making a difference so quickly.

Working on the sales area with the office / shed behind

I picked a vase of wild flowers for my desk from the nursery garden to celebrate
my first day

A sub tenant we found at the weekend, a rather large frog, a fine fellow that we let go in the long grass

The sales area cleared and waiting on gravel and tables

Eldest son the engineeer sorting out the water issues

Follow us on our nursery Facebook page, search for Quercus Garden Plants, I am putting lots of updates and photos on there too and of course the Quirky bird facebook page too

Friday, 12 June 2015

Progress and End of the week review

This week I am started backwards on Friday, today, we'll get around to Monday in a minute. Great news on the buying a nursery front, the sale went through today and we are now excited and slightly terrified owners of a plant nursery. Because we've been on site on and off over the last couple of weeks we are ahead in some jobs, but now we can really power ahead. As you can imagine there will be lots more updates, pictures and probably some OMG moments too as we start this new adventure. 

We have lots of exciting plans, lots and lots of work to sort out the existing stock and get on top of the weeds and bringing it back under control. Come and visit us, then come back and see what improvements, changes and new gardens we have made and of course buy plants. There will be lots of updates on the Quercus Garden Plants face book page so follow us there and I am also working on a new website. We look forward to welcoming you to the nursery.

Looking up from the car park, lots of weeding to do

If you are looking for a great day out make your way to Whitmuir farm. Not only will you find our nursery and gardens there where you can have a wander and buy plants, there is also a great organic restaurant and farm shop, art gallery, wood work studio and lots of walks around the farm where you can see the animals and enjoy the lovely views and countryside. We are 16 miles south of Edinburgh on the A701 at Lamancha.

The sales shed / office and top terrace of plants

In other news Monday was a domestic chore day, then we went off to the nursery for the afternoon where I did more weeding up the side of the drive and uncovered more plants. David built more sales tables from pallets, great recycling and cheap too. 

Tuesday was gloriously hot and sunny, productive and a very enjoyable day in my garden after a trip to Lanark to do some errands. I planted out the veg seedlings at last. Red cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, kale and dwarf beans and sowed the last of the veg seeds in the new vegetable patch (lettuce, beetroot and spring onions). I earthed up the tatties and planted out squash plants into pots in the greenhouse and the spares to chance their luck outside under the runner beans. There was a lot of watering done, it being so dry and I moved the last of the patio plants out of the greenhouses and onto the patio, updated the data base, took photos, lay on the grass with Bracken in the sun for a while relaxing. A most excellent day.

Aquilegia vulgaris in the garden

The exotic corner on the patio

Ranunculus aconitifolius 'Flore Pleno' and Chaerophyllum hirsutum var roseum

Veg seedlings planted out

Wednesday found us back at the nursery, another hot, sunny day with great views over the Pentlands. I sorted out more stock, weeding, top dressding and rowing up plants and David built more table tops. Bracken as always found a sunny spot to relax in. We got lots done and are making a difference already.

Its a hard life being Bracken

We also got our wandering cat Milly back, she was back at the same farm again.

Thursday was again hot hot hot. I did the food shopping in Biggar, discovered a new antique shop has opened, bad move, and enjoyed wandering around the town. In the afternoon I weeded the big bed in the back garden, leaving the annuals I had sown last month. I planted out the annual seedlings coming on in the greenhouse and sowed the last of the annual seeds here. I'm looking forward to seeing how this annual bed turns out, it has lots of different Poppies, Nicotiana, Nigella, Calandulas, Larkspur, Ammi and Myosotis.I got the tomatoes potted into big pots and in the greenhouse and did more watering. We had dinner outside it was so lovely.

The greenhouses have natural shade in the middle of the day under the young trees

Bracken making sure the annuals are planted correctly

Squash plants have their first flowers

Tomato plants potted up

Friday was exciting with the completion of the nursery sale and we spent the whole day there working, it was hot and sunny again, which means we need to adress the watering ssues (lack of water and preasure). Daniel and I started moving stock together so that we can make room for the first lot of sales table infront of the sales shed. David and Ben got the pallet boxes David built last week in place behind the office. these are to store all the pots and trays. Having spent 12 years in retail horticulture I know the mess they can get in! So storage in place right from the start and some one can have the job of sorting out the piles of pots and trays now.

Have a great weekend and hopefully this great weather contnues.

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