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About us and our plants

2012-04-25 15:31:49


We are a small, specialised, family run nursery, based in North Wales in the Vale of Clwyd, about 10miles from the Irish Sea, at an altitude of 60m.

 

The Vale of Clwyd

The Vale of Clwyd (from its Southern end to NE)

 

The climate around our nursery is much drier than the surrounding area. In the east, on the Clwydian Range, the annual rainfall reaches 1200mm while in the West, the Cambrian Mountains and Snowdonia sucks a lot of rain out of the clouds which puts our valley in a „rain shade”, so total rainfall rarely exceeds 700mm/year.

 

Our nursery is situated in open countryside

 Our nursery is situated in open countryside

  

The nursery is situated on a hilltop in quite a windy position but we use windbreaks and our plants are used to light winds.

As the sea is relatively close, we have more sunshine hours than the average for North-Wales.

 

...around farms

 ...around farms

  

Frosts are frequent in Winter (and sometimes in early Spring) but are lighter than deeper in the valley; on many occasions, snow falls on the hills around us but – thanks to the sea – if snow falls, it usually melts on the same day.

We use unheated polytunnels, unheated greenhouses and raised beds outdoors to grow our plants. The outdoor area is slightly shaded because the sunshine can be strong in the summer and can dry the small pots out very quickly.

 

Our new seedlings started to emerge

 Our new seedlings started to emerge

 

We grow only the largest plants on ground level so no waterlogging can occur and we can reduce slug damage (this is impossible to avoid fully though, as we use as few chemicals as we can). Field mice are a big enemy of young plants, but we do not have any problem with them: we have recruited 3 cats who live on the nursery! We provide them with food and shelter, and they keep our little seed-loving mammals away.

 

One of our gards: no chance for the mice!

 One of our gards: no chance for the mice!

  

We propagate and grow all of our stock on site from seed or cuttings, we do not import or buy any of our plants. Instead, we take care of the plant from its very first day of life.

We do not propagate only from cuttings as we regularly order or collect seeds from different European countries. Propagating from seed is a great way to maintain nature’s diversity and gene pool. Although cultivars may be identical when propagated by cutting, we would have very few varieties of ornamental plants without selecting them from seedlings first!

  

Young Metasequoias on one of our benches

 Young Metasequoias on one of our benches

  

Our busiest season on the nursery is from February to April, when we pot up our stock and seedlings from last year. Of course this is the time for sowing too; some seeds require dry storage, some of them have to be sown straight after seed collection, but most of them will germinate in March, April and May. Some Acer species and some perennials are usually the first to emerge, with the most difficult-ones requiring more patience: Hamamelis seeds for instance need a full year (with 2 winters) to germinate while Davidia, Acer opalus may stay dormant for 2 years!

 

Sarcococcas in 9cm pots, just after repotting

 Sarcococcas in 9cm pots, just after repotting

  

Late spring, early summer is the time for pricking out the seedlings and this is the ideal time to make softwood cuttings (almost every plant can be propagated by this method).

Although we never get bored, late summer is a quieter time on the nursery.

 

Range of seedlings after germinating

 Range of seedlings after germinating – the netting is to protect the seedtrays from the cats,
as they love to wlak on high spaces

  

When autumn arrives, it is time to harvest the seeds and sowing starts in October. We usually finish cleaning our seeds around Christmas – just to have enough time to enjoy the festive season.

 

Seed collection and cleaning is a vital part of our propagation

 Seed collection and cleaning is a vital part of our propagation

 

We sincerely hope that you will like our plants as much as we like to work with them!