For three years, I wrote a monthly article for a local magazine. My aim was to tell a bit more about what goes on behind the scenes on a nursery and to dispel the idea that plant production is an easy task. It is, of course quite the opposite .In a lifetime of working on nurseries you accumulate a large number of skills in administration, finance, computing, building and machinery and above all, in learning what makes plants grow well. Nursery manager, Lee, has persuaded me that it would be a good idea to use this blog to give a glimpse of what generally goes unseen.

Like any other product, winter flowering pansy seed comes in different qualities. I have always been of the opinion that if a gardener takes the time to come out and buy a plant, prepares the ground and plants it, and provide the subsequent aftercare, that this effort should be rewarded by a plant that will deliver the best and greatest number of flowers for the longest period. You don’t get these qualities from cheap seed. As good pansy seed is now so expensive, it pays us to go one step further and buy in many of the plants as plugs, which are not that much more expensive than the seed.  I was surprised when these turned up last week in a refrigerated articulated lorry. This makes perfect sense. The research organisation, originally called the Horticultural Development Board, had been doing research into the holding of bedding plants using cold storage. They found that certain varieties could be kept for long periods without damage. Winter pansies naturally tolerate the cold well. They arrived ‘as fresh as daisies’, and I can hear the whirr of the compressor, as the plants go through the potting machine. They will be ready at the beginning of September.