Kingcup, Caltha palustris var palustris and the graceful foliage of Iris virginica 'Pink Perfection' bringing a welcome splash of early colour to our display pond

Spring Update 2024

Hello everybody; we have enjoyed some “interesting” weather this winter, our polytunnels have been damaged and re-covered due to the gales, we have been inundated with the most rain on record and the temperatures have been unseasonably high. Every year the orders seem to come earlier and earlier, and we have had a record February with sales up 300% on last year! It’s important at this stage not to jump the gun, since new shoots are often savagely cut back by sharp frosts in March and April, and plants are much better off being planted into warm soil than cold wet mud. We don’t mind sending out plants which don’t look their best early in the season, since we know that they are good plants and will soon start into growth; most garden centres only want perfect plants, ideally with a flower on top, usually straight from a greenhouse, so they only have them available for short periods after which they begin to get cherry-picked, neglected, and forlorn. Our constant turnover and outdoor growing policy means that you will get nice tough, fresh plants which will grow and flower when they are ready.

Our popular Bare root pond packs will become available shortly, but they are always delayed by the oxygenator availability. Early in the season there is usually only Callitriche, and sometimes Ranunculus aquatilis and Hippuris available, so the availability of some pond packs is delayed. Also, we do not guarantee which species of oxygenator will be supplied in the packs, except to say that they will be native ones. Oxygenators are highly seasonal and cause us more grief than any other plant, so for pond packs we will supply what is at its best at the time of the order. Again, if there is a particular one which you require, please order it separately when it is listed as available. Our best advice is to order the larger pond packs without oxys when listed, and then order summer growing oxygenators later when they are looking good. Other bare root pond pack components that hold things up are Myosotis and Veronica, neither of which can be sent too early, as they can fail to establish at low temperatures as bare root plants. In general, plants which are just sprouting, like Butomus, are very fragile at that stage and best left until sizeable before disturbing and re-planting.

Often, if a pond pack is showing as unavailable, you will be able to order most of the components separately, so if you need to get on with a project, do consider buying the plants as a Pick and Mix or a la carte selection instead – the price won’t be very different. However, once available they are almost invariably available all season so there’s no risk in waiting for another few weeks.

If you are planning a project which is likely to require many hundreds or possibly thousands of plants, please don’t wait to ask us until the day before you want them. Early indications are that this season will be even busier than the last two and there may be some availability issues later on. Currently we have large stocks, but these disappear very quickly once the season gets under way. Judging from our current stock and the early start, there are likely to be few special offers this year.

On the subject of availability, please let us remind you that we don’t sell anything that we don’t physically have. Many suppliers will take your order and your money and then tell you that you should get the plants in several weeks or months’ time.

We have noticed a strong uptick in the number of plants we are selling in 3 litre sizes, do consider these, as they are excellent value, giving you a large and strong mature plant producing plenty of flowers. By the time you have bought compost and pots, the differential between buying a smaller one and potting it yourself is quite small.

It’s our first opening day of the year today, so I had better get out there and tidy up before you all arrive!

All the best from David and Ruth at Devon Pond Plants.

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