“Gardeners World” at Cramden Nursery.

“Gardeners World” at Cramden Nursery.

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On the 4th August Cramden Nursery had its debut tv appearance on “Gardeners World”!

It was amazing to see our nursery and beautiful Pelargoniums on national TV.

So how did it all come about?

Well the origins of this wonderful experience and national exposure were set up back in the spring of 2016.  We were asked to get involved with a Pelargonium Trial that the RHS were running during the summer of 2016 at Wisely and Kew gardens.  They needed different varieties of Pelargoniums to be sent down for this trial.   We were very interested in the trails and happily got involved supplying them with some of our favourite varieties we grow here At Cramden Nursery.

These trials looked at plants grown in containers and in open ground.  The judges graded the plants on how well they grew, how many flowers they produced and how well they performed throughout the summer.  One of the varieties that we sent down, Abelina, was awarded the “RHS Garden Award of Merit”.

The RHS also wanted to take in the public’s opinions of the plants, so visitors to both gardens were encouraged to vote for their favourite varieties.  Two of the varieties we sent down came in the top 3 as voted by the public, (“People’s Choice” award) these were Abelina and Flower Fairy White splash.  It was great to get these results, these are varieties that we grew here at Cramden Nursery and are firm favourites with staff and customers alike.

It is from these results and awards for these plants that “Gardeners World” got in touch and wanted to know more about the specific varieties and our nursery.

On a very sunny day at the beginning of July a BBC camera crew pulled up here at Cramden Nursery.  I had already had a good chat on the phone with the producer so I had a rough idea on how the interview was going to run.

Spending a whole day (yes they were here all day from 8:30am till 6:30pm) with the film crew was a real eye opener on how they put these features together.

Up until that day I had always thought of our nursery as a quiet and peaceful place, the sound man however may have had a different opinion.  I had not noticed how many aeroplanes crossed over head.  Filming had to be stopped for every one of them.  The nursery is adjacent to a cemetery, quite neighbours you would think, apart from when the lawn mowers come in to cut the grass that is. So filming had to be stopped and the lawn mowers asked nicely if they could start at the other end of the site that morning.  Thankfully they agreed and we were able to complete filming the main interview and then headed into the green houses to look at our beautiful Pelargoniums.

I had a lot of fun that day talking about my favourite varieties, explaining the different types of Pelargoniums we grew and looking at the award winning varieties from the RHS trials.  The sound man however was still finding too much back ground noise to his liking.  The injector we use to incorporate liquid feed into our hose pipes as we water clicks repeatedly. The moving of boxes of plants to refill benches scrapes along the trolley shelves.  The bagging up of compost (we sell our own mix of compost here, it is exactly the same as what we use on all our Pelargoniums), from the potting bench with the bench squeaking every time it is lent against.  Then the blinds start to move overhead to shade from the sun.  The till pings and beeps with each plant sale. We got through it all with a lot of laughter, it has really made me listen more to the noises of our working nursery that I have never noticed before.

Then there was the heat, wow it was a hot day and therefore even hotter under glass, I am quite used to working under glass in this heat but it soon became apparent that the Camera crew were not, they did really well with plenty of water stops and a few breaks to find a little shade to get their heads back together.

A full day of filming and talking, re filming with more talking was quite exhausting but a lot of fun.  The film crew and producer made me feel so relaxed and at ease with them, it felt like I was just chatting to them about our nursery and explaining all about Pelargoniums to just them rather than nation.  It was nice to tell them all about the history of the nursery and about Dad who started it up and how we have developed and changed over the years.

By the time they packed up their Cameras they had captured lots of beautiful film footage of our nursery. The producer’s job was to now sit through it all and condense it down to a 5-6 minute feature; I didn’t envy his job they had been with us all day!

As we sat down on Friday 4th August to “Gardeners World” we were excited to see what had made the grade and what had been left on the cutting room floor.  We honestly had no real idea how it was going to look and what was going to be shown or for how long.  We were thrilled with the result. The crew had managed to capture our nursery and our beautiful plants perfectly.  We were over the moon that they had used the picture of dad, a fitting tribute to get him on national TV.

And although I had sent them the picture of dad I was still caught out by seeing his face on the screen.  I just know he would be so pleased to see the nursery and our plants on national TV.

We have been bowled over by the response from existing customers and new customers alike since the feature on “Gardener’s World”.  We have had new customers coming from far and wide to visit the nursery.  Local people, who had just never found our nursery before, amazed that we are actually on their door step, in their town.  The website traffic has been high and the web shop busy taking pre orders for next spring delivery.  So many well wishes through face book and lots of questions on Pelargoniums; from taking cuttings, identifying varieties and over wintering techniques.  It has been a wonderful response and a wonderful experience.

 

Time to put your Pelargoniums to bed!

Time to put your Pelargoniums to bed. I hope you have had a wonderful display from all your Pelargoniums this summer?

As the days begin to draw in it is time to begin to think about putting the garden to bed for the winter and that includes your Pelargoniums. They are not frost hardy so will not survive our winters.

Ideally they would like you to pack them up and send them off to the Med for the winter months.

However if Mediterranean residency is not a possibility then I can give you some good advice on how to overwinter your Pelargoniums here in England. So, the most important point is that wherever you choose to keep your plants for the winter is that it is frost free and dry. So a cold greenhouse will not do, nor will a shed if we get a cold winter. Neither will stay frost free for long.

If you have a heated greenhouse or a conservatory that will be heated through the winter, these are ideal places for your Pelargoniums to be overwintered as green plants. Many will continue to flower well into the winter for you if they get enough winter sunshine and food.

If neither of these are an option for you then a garage attached to the house (to benefit from some of your residual central heating warmth) or a spare room will do nicely.

For this option you must prepare your plants for the winter. They need to be allowed to dry out in their pots and then with clean sharp secateurs cut them back hard. Now, this is where you will need to be mentally strong, you will feel awful, after all summer feeding and watering your plants, I am now asking you to cut them right back. Cut them back to about 3inches and then take off any leaves that are left, you should be left with just stumps.

They will look dreadful but by removing the aerial part of the plant you are removing the need to water them and all that material that would offer perfect conditions for botrytis (grey mould) to grow during the winter months. These ‘stumps’ now need to be kept frost free and dry for the winter, so no watering, not even a little bit! You are putting them into hibernation for the winter. They do not need light so a garage will work or a spare room. The most important point is to keep them dry and frost free from here on.

Do not cover them in plastic to give them extra frost protection they will just sweat in there and the dampness will encourage grey mould which will just kill them off. Fleece can be used to offer a little extra protection but it would be good to make sure it is removed occasionally to allow fresh air round your plants to ward off any possibilities of grey mould.

Now here is the tricky part: You have to leave them alone till the end of the winter, no well meaning watering after New Year when we all get that ‘January itch’ to start doing things in/for our gardens. A well meaning watering at this point will just lead to a soggy mess of grey mould for you to find at the end of winter, leave well alone!

Now this is not a failsafe system, sometimes for reasons unknown plants do not survive but if you can get say 50% through the winter then it is well worth a go.

For a video with step by step instructions showing you how hard to cut your plants back follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE8wzXwZ51s

Summer colour starts here.

Summer colour begins here for your borders, pots & hanging baskets.

One of the most popular groups of summer bedding and pot plants are Pelargoniums, you may know them as Geraniums. They take the form of either upright or trailing varieties. With their bright colourful blooms, that will be produced all summer long and well into the autumn, you can understand why they are one of gardener’s favorites for summer colour.

Here at Cramden Nursery we grow over 40,000 Pelargoniums each year, with over 50 different varieties to choose from. You’re bound to find the right colour combination for your garden.

A great economical way of filling your garden with colour is to start off with young plants or ‘plugs’ as we call them. You will need somewhere to grow them on with plenty of light away from the last few frosts of winter and if you can give them some heat too your little plants will sprint away. A greenhouse, a conservatory even a sheltered porch will do.

Our plugs are grown from rooted cuttings. These are cuttings that have been rooted for you in our propagation greenhouse, so the technical bit has already been done. When you are buying rooted cuttings you need to be looking out for nice healthy, fresh white roots.

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At this stage they are ready to be potted up but not ready for the outside world just yet. Pelargoniums are tender and will not stand up to the cold night time temps of April. So, whatever you are planning for your plugs, be it for baskets, pots or bedding for the borders it is best to get them planted into pots so they can form good strong healthy root balls before planting out in mid-May.

Choosing the right size of pot for your plugs will depend on how much space you have   A 1litre (13cm diameter) pot is a good starting size and this will have enough room for the compost to hold on to plenty of water for your young plant and there will be enough room to grow lots of healthy roots.

The quality of compost you use will reflect in the health of your plants, like they say “you get out what you put in”. The compost after all is where the plants will find all their food they need to get growing.

At this stage there is no need feed to your plants, the potting compost has all it needs already. Your newly potted plants will soon begin to grow new leaves and shoot up for you. Keep up with regular watering to keep them growing, new roots form much more easily in moist compost. As your plants grow they may need spacing to ensure they grow into well branched bushy plants. Keep them inside until the risk of frost is gone.

So, if you’re looking for a colourful range of Pelargoniums then pop into Cramden Nursery to find your young plants this spring. If you have any questions or would like some advice on growing on your ‘plugs’ then just ask a member of staff who are on hand to help.

Happy Planting from Emily and the team at Cramden Nursery

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Regal Pelargoniums

Beautiful Regal Pelargonium Aristo Petticoat.  Breed by Elsner Pac from Dresden in Germany. Their range of Aristo Regals are outstanding, they have produced compact plants, which flower beautifully from spring although the summer.

So very pretty, keep them well feed with a high potash feed like our “Geranium Elixir” we sell here at Cramden Nursery or a tomato feed to promote the bud production.

Aristo Petticoat