Nursery News - January 2014
Happy New Year to you and Happy Birthday to us!! - 2014 sees us entering our 10th year of trading and what a journey it's been! From humble beginnings in Isobel's house in Guildford to a team of 10 here in our 2 acre nursery.
And the journey doesn't stop here. Christmas 2013 was our busiest ever and we have loads of exciting plans for 2014, starting with the nursery itself. We're now making great progress on our biomass project. All the old outdated oil tanks and boilers have been cleared and replaced with a shiny, efficient and of course eco friendly biomass boiler. The wet weather has held things back a bit but we are currently installing the new heaters and looking forward to all the exciting new plants we'll be able to grow on in our new 'hot zone'.
We loved getting out and meeting our customers in 2013 and so this year we're planning to attend even more shows for 2014. First up will be the London Plant and Design Show in February, where we will be back in the RHS halls showcasing our citrus trees.
To celebrate our 10 year anniversary we will also be opening the nursery to the public for 2 exclusive open days in 2014 - please do sign up to our newsletter for more information on these.
January is a time for us to recoup from the madness of Christmas and plan for the year ahead. We will be adding new plants to our spring fruit trees range, taking a fresh look at our plant packaging and or course gearing up for Mother's Day.
Nursery News - October 2013
Whooosh - writing on the windiest day of the year, it certainly feels autumnal here in Sussex and with the turn of the seasons we're taking the opportunity for a big clear up here in the nursery. We've had the diggers in this week, taking down the old boiler house and clearing the way for new storage and office facilities in the coming years.
We've also been busy at shows this summer with our most recent visit to the RHS London Shades of Autumn Show. It's always a nerve racking experience having the rhs judges round a display but we were dead chuffed with their comments on the quality and range of our citrus trees (and of course our shiny Silver-Gilt medal)
The other big news is we're delighted to welcome a new member to the Plants4Presents team. Natalie joined us at the beginning of the month and we're delighted to have her on board. She'll be helping both in the nursery and in the office with all your customer service queries and will no doubt become a familiar voice on the phones in the run up to Christmas.
And on that note of course it's only 9 weeks to Christmas! How on earth did that happen? For all your organised folk our Christmas gift selections are already live on the website and we're particularly excited about our new 'Zestive Cheer' gift set. We've teamed up our popular calamondins with a bottle of bordeaux and sachet of mulling herbs so you can make the 'ultimate' mulled wine this christmas - complete with your own home grown oranges... mmm mmm...
Nursery News - July 2013
It felt like a long time coming but Summer is finally here! As I write this, it's stunning blue skies again in Sussex and even with all the vents open it's well over 40C here in the nursery and our plants are loving it! It means a lot of watering (good job we built that reservoir!) but everything is now coming on in leaps and bounds with even the Chillies starting to catch up after their late start.
We had a fantastic time at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show last week and were very happy with our shiny Silver medal for our 'Grow Your Own Curry' display. The comments from the judges and members of the public were fantastic and as always its great to meet so many of our customers face to face. Emily's talks on Thai Herbs and Indian Herbs went down well and we spoke to loads of people who are already enjoying growing curry ingredients and hopefully introduced a few more to the joys of these really fresh ingredients.
Our Grow Your Own Curry range is of course available for delivery too and although we have sold out of curry leaf trees we have some nice seedlings growing on in the nursery which can now be preordered for delivery in August.
Our next show is the Tri-border Chilli Festival in Wincanton this Saturday 20th July - do pop along if you are in the area. Our chilli plants are looking fantastic now we've had a bit of sunshine and we'll have at least 10 different varieties in fruit including colourful twilight and spicy scotch bonnet.
Nursery News - May 2013
This time of year is always crazy busy in the nursery but this year everything has been held back by the late spring and now seems to have all come out at once. A week ago the last of the daffs were still in flower and now the lavender, roses and wisteria are in full bloom - it's hard to keep up!
We had a great time at the Great London Plant Fair in March and were dead chuffed to win Silver in the judging. The standard at these show's is always really high but the judges were impressed with the range and quality of the citrus trees we had on show. It was fantastic to meet so many enthusiastic citrus fans and it was great to hear so many people managing to keep their larger lemon trees outside year round in their London gardens.
Our next big show will be the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show 9th-14th July when we will be back in the Growing Tastes marquee with a bigger, better and more fragrant 'Grow Your Own Curry' display. It's a great day out for all the family but you do need to buy tickets in advance from the RHS Buy tickets
Finally we are recruiting for a new part time member of our customer service team at the moment. Are you or do you know someone who loves their plants and is prepared to go the extra mile to offer excellent customer service? - If so we'd love to hear from you.
Nursery News - March 2013
Well it's been a pretty chilly start to the year, with heavy snow in Sussex in both February and March.
Our resident Mallards seemed to enjoy the cold but the rest of us our glad to see some sunshine today and to welcome the 1st day of Spring - at long last :)!
March is always a busy month for us and this year was no exception. We had some lovely coverage in the Guardian and Good Housekeeping magazine and we managed to revamp the website just before the busy Mother's Day rush. We were delighted that Mother's day is still busier and busier each year for us and with an early date this year it was primroses and camellias that proved to be the firm favourites.
Now spring is here we're moving on from winter to spring flowering plants and now have some lovely patio fruit trees, figs, magnolias and even some early hydrangeas and bougainvilleas to welcome the new season.
As we look forward to the rest of 2013, we're excited to be attending more plant shows and chilli fairs this year. The show season will be starting in earnest next week with the RHS Great London Plant Fair. It's a new one for us, if you are in the London area please do pop along. We will be showcasing our citrus trees in a dedicated citrus display and it promises to be fantastic event with many other specialist plant nurseries and displays
You can buy tickets via the rhs here or pick them up on the door on the day.
Finally we've had some fantastic entries for our greeting card competition - check them out on our facebook page and get your entry in by the 31st March for your chance to win.
Nursery News - January 2013
Wishing all our customers a very happy and fun filled New Year!
After a very busy christmas, January is always a time to take stock and plan for the year ahead. It's pretty chilly at the nursery today and with more cold weather forecast we have been bringing our container grown fruit trees and lavenders in to the greenhouses to offer them a little more protection.
Of course we're sowing like crazy at this time of year and excited to be expanding our range of organic chilli plants for 2013 with some tasty newcomers - chilly chilli, bulgarian carrot and citrus drop are all new faces for the new season. Chillies have been proving more popular every year and this year we are looking forward to taking our plants on the road to a whole host of chilli festivals up and down the country. In fact we're just finalising our show calender at the moment and can't wait to get out and about at more rhs shows and chilli fairs than ever before.
But summer is a long way off, before that we've got Valentine's Day and Mother's Day to think of and with Mother's Day on the 10th March, we are already preparing for the rush. Because Mothering Sunday falls so early this year we're expecting the winter flowering camellias, planted bulbs and early clematis to steal the show... take a sneak peak at our full range of gifts for mum here...
Finally with the new year we thought it would be fun to introduce a photographic competition on our facebook page and have been overwhelmed with the quality of entries. We have printed our own recycled greeting cards to accompany our plants for several years now, choosing images from either our favourite plants or from the Sussex countryside. For a change we thought it might be fun to see what images our customers would choose if it was up to them and the response has been fantastic. The winner will be announced on the 5th April and will be rewarded with a £150 plant vouchers, a pack of 20 of their own greeting cards to use for friends and family and widespread fame as the greeting card is available (and of course credited to them) on our website.
There's still time to enter your own photos so see the full competition details on our facebook page and email us your images by the 31st March. Happy Snapping!
Nursery News - November 2012
Brrr we've had our first frost this week in Sussex and with the shorter days it's certainly starting to feel more wintry as our thoughts turn towards Christmas.
Christmas is our busiest time of year and despite the difficult economic climate we're planning for our biggest season ever. We've been steadily expanding our range of gifts and planting amaryllis and hyacinth bulbs in their hundreds ready for the rush. This week it's great to see the first batches of bulbs are well rooted now and just starting to bud up ready to bloom in December
We've also got some lovely new gift sets planned for the festive period and have been delighted with the press coverage already. BBC Good Food, Your Home and House Beautiful magazines have all featured us in their Christmas guides this year and we're expecting a few more mentions over the coming weeks. Our favourite gift set has got to be this grow your own cocktail set 'Make Mine a Mojito' containing our popular limequat trees in fruit plus the mint, muddle and of course the rum needed to make this tasty cocktail.
On that note we're also delighted to announce that we have now been granted a premises licence by Lewes Council so we will be developing our range gifts for christmas to include some exciting new food and drink related gift sets over the coming weeks. You'll notice that when buying these gifts you will be asked to state your age and confirm that these gifts are being ordered for delivery only to those over the age of 18 but we're excited about the range of possibilities this will open to us - watch out for some exciting new vine and wine gifts coming soon :)
Nursery News - October 2012
And another year rolls by...this October sees the beginning of our 9th year of Trading and lots has changed from our humble beginnings in Guildford. After 6 years of loyal service Chris our long suffering Office manager has taken a well earned retirement this quarter. Whilst we are already missing her relentless efforts to keep us all in check, she will at least be keeping in touch and will be putting in a special guest appearance at Hampton Court next year. In the meantime, James Dalton has now taken over from Chris in the office and will be the best point of contact for any accounts queries. As an experienced bookkeeper it's great to have him on board.
The end of an era as Chris retires, special offers on pairs of olives from just £45
We've also had a little revamp of the website in the last few weeks and we hope you are finding the new layout easier to navigate. With greater flexibility on the page layouts, we have now been able to extend our range of plants to over 100 seasonal flowering and fruiting plants including special offers on pairs of plants. We have even more plans for new gifts in the run up to Christmas and we'll be posting more about these in the coming weeks. In the meantime wrap up warm and enjoy these autumn days.
Nursery News - July 2012
So will it ever stop raining? The rainwater reservoir is at least pulling its weight but the low light levels mean that many plants are much further back than we would expect at this time of year. Chillies started under glass in January are only new starting to fruit and the slow start to the summer is even more noticeable in the garden.
However it is at last predicted to clear up, with brighter weather forecast for the end of the week. Fingers crossed for an indian summer!
In the meantime we've had a busy month. Hampton Court flower show was a great success and it was fantastic to meet so many customers face to face. We won bronze for our 'Grow Your Own Curry' display and had loads of interest at the show and from the press for these exotic herbs and spices - check out our interview in the Times last week - The Grow Your Own Curry Theme has clearly touched the masses!
Emily and Isobel on the GYO curry stand; Our top tips on Growing Curry in the Times
It's been so much fun growing and cooking with these fresh herbs and spices we will be keeping the 'Grow Your Own Curry' range on over the summer months so there is still time to order these 'exotics' either for yourself or as a gift.
Free Plant Feed now included as standard
Over the years we have learnt many things about growing plants and one thing that becomes obvious is that when plants are grown or kept in pots for any length of time they need extra nutrients. In the nursery we have developed a complex feed regime which includes liquid citrus feeds, plant extracts and nettle teas combined with slow release granules to reach the optimum blance. However at home you want to keep it simpler.
To this end we've been trialling a slow release 'tonic' in the nursery for the last year or so and are now excited to be able to include it with all our potted plants free of charge. The small soluble granules are simply sprinkled on the top of the pot about a month after arrival and are suitable for a whole range of house and patio plants including citrus trees. They contain a balance of Nitrogen, Potassium and Phospate plus trace elements designed to keep your plants green, healthy and of course flowering and fruiting long term.
The tonic comes in a small sachet with full instructions and once applied the nutrients will slowly release into the soil over about six months. The tonic is also available on its own with a small charge to cover postage and one sachet covers either 5 small 1L pots or one larger tree. All our plants will still be sent out well fed and watered but we hope that this tonic will help our customers keep their plants at their very best for months and years to come.
Nursery News - May 2012
It was a late start this spring and all that rain and cloud kept things back a bit - but what a difference a couple of weeks makes! From doom and rain, to glorious sunshine it's positively tropical in our greenhouses this week and that's reflected in a mass of colour across the nursery.
A mass of summer colour; flag iris help to clean the nursery reservoir
Some scorching days have meant we have been watering up to twice a day and it's not taking long to use the rain collected in our reservoir. At the moment it's still reasonably full and looking really stunning planted with anchusa and flag irises - the dragon flies are certainly having a field day! Fingers crossed for a bit more rain to top it up for our reservoir anniversary party in June :)
In other news we were delighted to be featured in the Telegraph for Mother's Day and have had a fantastic response to our Gin and Tonic Gift sets. In fact it's been such a great response that we will be introducing more treat related gift sets over the coming months with gin and tonic lime bushes on sale for Father's Day and some great cocktail sets in the pipeline for Christmas! (Yes I know we've started planning already!)
Emily and Isobel claim fame in the Telegraph; Lime G&T gift sets sure to prove popular for Father's Day
As the months roll by we've been sowing and potting on masses of annuals already. Chilli plants are always very popular but this year we are growing more than ever as we prepare for our curry themed Hampton Court Display in July. As ever, there are some star performers and some problem children when growing from seed. The low light levels in February and March seem to have held back some of the chillies but the other tropicals are storming on ahead now with malabar spinach, lemongrass, turmeric, ginger, cardamom and curry leaf plants all doing nicely with a bit of sunshine.
In fact we've launched a new blog all about our Grow Your Own Curry display and our preparations for officially the largest flower show in Europe. Visit www.growyourowncurry.co.uk to find out more about how this project is progressing and to download tasty recipes and growing tips to succeed with these tropicals at home.
We'd love to know what you think and of course to see you at the Show! Last year
it was great to meet so many customers face to face and with a stand in the plant
village and in the edible tastes marquee at Hampton Court this year, we're looking
forward to a busy week!
Nursery News - February 2012
And another year rushes by! Christmas 2011 was our busiest ever and we were delighted with how smoothly all the despatches went. The launch of our g&t set was so popular that we've extended the offer with a Mother's Day Gin and Tonic Gift set to include not just a free bottle of Gordons gin but a free bottle of Fevertree tonic water too!
We hope these will be just as popular for Mother's day and will be available as gifts right through February and March - great gifts for grow your own tipples.
Tasty G&T gift sets; A frosty morning by the reservoir
Whilst January has been cold and a little snowy we're glad to say it hasn't caused any disruption - just some very pretty mornings on the reservoir!
January and February is when we start planning for the year ahead and we have lots of exciting plans for 2012. We've already confirmed our place at Hampton Court Flower Show this year and will be in both the plant village and the 'growing tastes' marquee this year. Even exhibiting at one show is a huge project and with two displays to design this year we are going to be busy. In the plant village we will be creating a giant present amid a wildflower meadow and in the growing tastes marquee we're really excited to be putting together a 'Grow Your Own Curry' display. Planting is underway already and we'll reveal more as the project progresses.
Our 'Grow Your Own Curry' Display for Hampton Court; turmeric tubers being prepped for planting
In fact we've been doing a lot of planting already. Under glass in our heated greenhouses we start sowing as soon as we're past the winter equinox and chillies, herbs, plumbago and eucalyptus are already up and sprouting ready for sales later in the year. As we continue to expand we like to extend our range of plants, so this year we will be introducing pear and plum trees alongside apples, cherries, peaches and apricots.
We'd also love to hear from you -is there anything you'd like to see introduced this year? anything you've had trouble finding elsewhere or something you've always wanted to send as a gift? - Do let us know we're always open to ideas and a number of current favourites have originally been suggested by customers. The very latest is a herbal tea planter to compliment our culinary herbs. New for February 2012 these robust planters are filled with more unusual medicinal and fragrant herbs including anise hyssop, lemon balm, feverfew and myrtle - we hope they'll tickle your tastebuds ;-)