Welcome to our late autumn blog. After a very warm autumn the heavens have opened, and everything here is absolutely waterlogged. Several late summer and autumn pond construction projects have been delayed, which has meant that the scheduled planting has not taken place. However, we strongly recommend not buying any bare rooted plants in December, January, or February, since they don’t start to establish until active growth begins. The process of harvesting, cleaning and trimming inevitably results in some damage to the fine roots, and while they are dormant, they have very little ability to fight off pathogens, particularly fungi, and transplanting them too early is therefore inadvisable.
Potted plants can be planted any time that the ground isn’t frozen as there will be little disturbance to the plant, but there is little advantage to planting now as they will basically just sit there until Spring arrives. This particularly applies to smaller soft stemmed or creeping plants and most oxygenators. It’s much better to wait until they are growing strongly in March, April, or May; then they will get off to a good start.
We also recommend that, if possible, you do not fill your new pond to the brim with tap water and leave it unplanted until Spring. This is because tap water often has high levels of phosphates and nitrates, which will encourage the growth of algae. This will grow even when the higher plants are dormant and can get out of hand before the pond is even planted. Rainwater contains far fewer nutrients and allowing this to accumulate is not so much a problem. However, do watch out for autumn leaf build-up, this applies equally for new and established ponds. Dead leaves contain few nutrients but can contain high amounts of substances like tannins, which are toxic. If you notice that your pond water is looking dark, brown or black, this is probably the cause. We noticed this week that a holding tank containing Persicaria amphibia had done exactly this, and the reason was that the nearby sweet chestnut tree had dropped a lot of chestnuts into the tank; these are starting to break down and could potentially have killed off all the plants due to a combination of light deprivation and toxic compounds.
Most of our stock is now dormant, but there are always a few stalwarts which give a bit of interest in winter, these include Baumea rubiginosa variegata and Iris virginica varieties. The former is a very good example of a plant which is not native but is used by native wildlife. On our display ponds, moorhens invariably build their first nest of the season in the Baumea clump, as this is the only tall plant providing sufficient cover early in the year.
Vouchers are available for those Christmas gifts, but please don’t leave it until the last moment to order. Vouchers can be found in the Plant Shop under Baskets and Sundries, on page 2 – click here. Just click on Options there to see how it works. Vouchers have an unlimited lifespan and can be used for any purchase, so they are the perfect gift for any aspiring water gardener. You might also consider buying my new book as a Christmas gift for the pond keeper in your family. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the incredibly low rates of carriage that Amazon pay, so you might find it cheaper there if you only want that one item!
As ever, Devon Pond Plants should be at the top of your list when buying plants for your pond and garden. There will be few changes next year, thank goodness the prices of packaging materials have eased a little and we do not foresee any significant price rises to come.
WHAT WE DO
We at Devon Pond plants have built a well-deserved reputation for healthy, good-sized plants, competitive prices, and brilliant service. Unlike many of our competitors, we explain exactly what you should expect to get to avoid disappointment. We know what we are doing because we have been doing it for a long time and we are always happy to offer advice without obligation. We aim to answer all emails the same working day; long and detailed requests for advice will be dealt with as soon as possible.
An enormous amount of information is available on our website, and we encourage customers to read this thoroughly before ordering to avoid common mistakes. All plants are described fully and honestly to avoid the accidental purchase of tough and invasive plants where they are not wanted; such plants are necessary in large wildlife schemes but to be avoided in smaller garden ponds. Pictures are nearly all our own unedited ones.
We aim to have most plants available in multiple formats on a year-round basis, but some, such as oxygenators, are strongly seasonal and may only be available in season. Some plants, especially rare and unusual ones, are only available in a restricted range of formats.
We offer a huge range of plants in both bare rooted and potted formats and plants are promptly delivered all over the UK. Many professional customers such as the RHS, National Trust and garden design companies trust us with their business, and we do not compromise on our standards to offer cheaper or inferior products or service. We keep large stocks at our Devon nursery ready for immediate dispatch and occasionally in busy periods we also source plants from nurseries that we trust to match our standards. We grow a particularly strong range of native plants for use where wildlife promotion is important and have large stocks of these available for immediate dispatch.
TRADE AND BULK DISCOUNTS
We are introducing a very competitive tiered discount list for larger orders of delivered potted plants which can be accessed via the Trade page. These discounted prices are based around full box quantities of potted plants (x24 in P9 and x15 in 1 litre sizes), also water lilies in the most popular 3 litre potted size. Plants must be purchased in multiples of three of any variety to qualify, and these can be mixed to gain access to the full box discount levels. These orders will be processed separately and cannot be ordered direct through the website, please send us your list and we will contact you to confirm availability and price. These discounts are available on the vast majority of our range but please note that some rare and specialist plants do not qualify for discounts.
Trade customers can also make smaller orders direct, and in these cases, website prices apply.
Retail customers can order direct through our website for prompt delivery or can collect from our nursery to benefit from discount prices (available as a download from the website and displayed at the nursery) and zero carriage cost. For novices, our ever-popular range of Pond Packs offer an easy introduction to water gardening; we have done all the work for you so that you get a trouble-free start. If you have a large project, please contact us in plenty of time to get free advice and discount prices.
We are VAT registered and this tax can be reclaimed by those who are also VAT registered. A VAT invoice will be provided.
PURCHASES AT THE NURSERY
Potted plants and accessories may be purchased at the nursery on the Open days advertised on the Contact page, or by prior appointment, or when collecting pre-ordered plants. If you have not booked or pre-ordered, please do not just turn up on days when we are not advertised as open for retail sales; we are often very busy with mail order and can’t generally drop everything at a moment’s notice.
We aim to open for visits without appointment on Thursdays and Fridays, 10 am to 4 pm during the 2024 season between mid March and mid September. Visits by appointment at other times can usually be accommodated too (weekdays only).
Seasonal greetings to you all and we look forward to seeing you when the sun returns.
David, Ruth and Sharne