Getting ready for another great year

Welcome to our winter blog. At last, we have managed to catch up on all the propagation tasks; the warm mild autumn has been a lifesaver for us. We are very pleased that despite the very high workload this summer, we have some super plants growing on well for next year, and we expect no particular shortages. Rare and unusual plants are of course always in short supply, but we have some really super water irises and water lilies coming on, and an increased range of larger potted sizes. The nursery is looking a lot tidier, and we are a lot less fierce too! We have completely refreshed and updated our website and hope you like the result. There is still the same easy to navigate layout and it should work better on some of the smaller devices, but if you notice a glitch or find there is something you don’t like or understand, please let us know; there are always a few gremlins after such a major change.

From now on we will doubtless get constant enquiries as to when such and such a plant will be available, and we always get a surge of people pressing to get plants as early as possible in Spring. A guide to availability appears just below the main plant description, e.g., from Month 3 (March) to Month 10 (October). If an item is out of stock, if you click on the product, you will be given an option to be notified when the item is next listed.

However, we strongly recommend not buying any plants in December, January, or February, since they don’t start to establish until active growth begins. While they are dormant, they have very little ability to fight off pathogens, particularly fungi, and transplanting them too early is therefore highly inadvisable. It’s much better to wait until they are growing strongly in April or May; then they will get off to a really good start. All through the year there will be plants that will come and go, so it is unlikely that you will be able to purchase all your plants in one hit, though in May to July typically everything will be available subject to stock remaining. Our low carriage charge means that it will not be too painful to make several purchases at the optimum time of year for the plants concerned.

Once again 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. Just click on Options 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.

We are making a few changes to the components of our Pond Packs this year to avoid the bottleneck caused by waiting for certain plants to become ready for sale. We will no longer include frogbit in the packs, as this is the prime culprit in holding everything back, and we will include oxygenators appropriate to the season rather than a fixed variety. If you simply must have a particular variety not listed in the pond pack, please purchase it separately when available in the main listings. Please don’t ask us which oxygenator is currently being supplied in the packs, as this may change at short notice depending on what we have in good condition.

We are rapidly approaching the point where on smaller orders the cost of packaging and transport exceeds the value of the plants, so from the New Year, our minimum order will be increasing from £15 to £20. We regret that this is necessary and understand that some customers with tiny ponds may only want a single plant, but unfortunately that doesn’t work for us. If you are local to us of course there is no minimum order for collection. On that note, we do hope that in 2022 we can open for browsing and purchases on at least one day a week, probably Fridays, but at present the picture is far from certain. We will continue to keep you informed through the Home page and Information pages on the website.

We are really looking forward to next year and hope that it will be a lot less stressful than the past two.

Seasonal greetings to you all and we look forward to hearing from you when the warmth returns.

David, Ruth and Sharne

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