Saturday, April 29, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - April 29, 2017

This weekend is the opening of the main greenhouse of flower and vegetable plants, tropicals and herbs.  To me, it is still too early to plant and if any of the customers do ask all salespersons as instructed the answer that “yes” it is too early to plant except for ‘cold weather’
plants like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, pansy and violas.  The extra burden on us is the daily required high maintenance of the greenhouse consisting of watering, spacing, cleaning and of course serving customers.

In addition to this work above, more plants have arrived from Michigan to be potted in which some of these shrubs will be available late this summer.  If that weren’t enough, the perennial house still needs “filled to the gills” and maintained.  Then there is weed control in the plants and the ever present garlic mustard weed starting to bloom along the nursery that must be destroyed before this invasive weed spreads everywhere!

The azaleas are blooming about 10 days earlier than usual with colors galore in the nursery and flowers blooming everywhere on the grounds.
In the Wolf Creek Garden, weeds are finally getting under control and color from Eastern Redbuds and the spill of pink and blue colors down the 18 foot vertical wall on the north side of the Owl barn light up the grounds.  In the garden, the azaleas are just at a hint of color except for the full bloom of Rhododendron ‘Aglo’ and the old-fashioned and rare Azalea Ethylwyn which is an old Gable hybrid.

Spring is wonderful time at the nursery although sometime’s it’s too much work!


Friday, April 21, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - April 21, 2017

The second half of April at the nursery is an even faster ramp up of activities as the perennial house and annual flower houses must be readied for opening at the end of the month. Then too is the receipt of tropical plants from Florida that require almost everyday watering plus the at least 2 initial successive treatments to eliminate or at least check the “Florida bugs” so that they are not present on the plants when they are purchased and to eliminate the possibility that they will contaminate the flowers and vegetable plants grown in the greenhouses over the winter.

For other business, the receipt and then potting of thousands of small shrubs from Michigan must be accomplished so that stock will be available later in the summer and next year. Some of the small shrubs will be continually repotted into bigger containers in order to achieve larger finished sizes which might extend over a 3 year period!

Growth of plants in the annual flower house is amazing as the warm, much longer sunny days of the winter. Some shipments of small flower “plugs”
(as they are called) were delayed by the grower from which we purchase many of the patented flowers so that it looked as though the pots and hanging baskets would be delayed which now is not the case with the favorable weather. Fortunately rain has been adequate as the outside stock has to be irrigated almost everyday with water that is both recycled and the result of rainfall runoff from the nursery property.

The thousands of tulips for May bloom may come early as a late April bloom due to the warm push of weather this spring. While not quite the Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, they still make quite a show as these bloomers “show off their skills.”


Friday, April 14, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - April 14, 2017

How strange an April with about 3-4 inches of snow last Friday and a low of 26ยบ F at the nursery and the very next day it’s sunny and warm!

Many shipments of stock are arriving from Lake County growers as well as being moved out of the overwintering huts. Unfortunately, many customers have been asking for items not out of storage yet which can make things difficult as much of the stock is tightly jammed in the huts making it difficult to access one or two items. Then there is the preparation of Easter flowers this week in addition to the receipt of nursery stock! To make matters more exciting, the irrigation system needed some major emergency repairs in order to water the overwintering huts and sales yard as some plants were very “thirsty.”

The new digital catalog seems to be of interest with gardeners as over a four-day period there have been 6,000 views. Another positive note is that the new plant kiosk call the Perfect Plant seems to be working faster as it has been hard wired to the “system” instead of depending upon the wifi.

As anyone can see, spring preparation in a nursery is a lot of work! As my friend and mentor Mr. John Ravenstein who was the head propagator for Losely nursery had said long ago: “I had four daughters and if I had had a son I would never tell him to go into the nursery business.” When I ask Mr. Ravenstein why not, he stated, “this business is too much work!”


Friday, April 7, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - April 7, 2017

Next week starts the beginning of filling up the sales yard at the nursery as shrubs will be pulled from the over-wintering structures and truck loads of stock will be received from nurseries in Lake County.

This past week though has seen the repotting of about 1500 small azaleas and yes even more perennials and blueberries. Mountain Laurels are next to be potted and must be placed in a special site so that they are not irrigated with the other plants as they must be kept drier by receiving only one-half the irrigation.

After the seemingly never ending set up of the sales yard comes the shipments of many varieties of shrubs from Michigan nurseries that will be potted for later summer, fall and spring sales. Many of these shrubs are of the proven Winner brand that require the white Proven Winner pot. These pots are such that the nursery grower will only ship enough pots for the particular plants ordered. In this way, it would be difficult to propagate new plants from the ones received from the nursery and thus the patent on these plants is better protected form illegal propagation. In fact, when ordering the patented Proven Winner shrubs or flowers, the nursery grower makes it quite clear up front that the order confirms that the customer (Dayton’s) agrees to place the plants in the PW pots and will not illegally propagate the plants!

The hyacinths and narcissus at the nursery are in bloom to be followed in a few weeks by the thousands of tulips planted last fall. It’s too bad for the deer though as their tulip salad was sprayed by another application of deer repellent last week!