NEWS & CURRENT TOPICS
As usual I have missed the summer update and now, as the work slows down at the approach of winter, I have time to catch up with you all.The summer weather was not very good, here at home we had no opportunities for any barbecues, but there were a couple of occasions when we were able to eat outside on the patio.Work has now started on the rebuilding of our shop and storage areas; the foundations have been dug out and the base concreted in. From the size and depth of the foundations you would think we were building a skyscraper. Hopefully, the building should be completed just after Christmas, in time for the new season in 2013.In my Spring update I mentioned work that we were carrying out in the woodlands here; what I forgot to mention was that we have invested in fifty ‘Nordmann’ fir Christmas trees. These were planted in the gaps that have appeared in the woodland, it will be a good few years before they reach a decent size (hopefully I will still be around to see them mature); when I last checked all of them were doing well with a couple of exceptions.The vegetables planted this year struggled to germinate; I have been told that the poor weather conditions at planting time affected the germination. But the cabbages, carrots and onions have done well eventually. The beetroot, tomatoes, cucumbers were also very good and our courgettes/marrows were excellent and cropped well. The potatoes were a bit “hit and miss”; the ‘Desiree’ cropped well, but the ‘Bambino’ did not crop so well although the taste was very good.
Work has continued slowly, the recession is still affecting us as well as everyone else! All of the schemes mentioned in the Spring update were finished on time and on budget.
The completed play garden, with the secluded areas has gone all according to plan, it was requested that the planting scheme had a tropical feel and this has been effectively enhanced with the use of mist-makers.
The north London landscape scheme finished well and had some additional work of supplying and planting a 1·8m high semi-mature hedge. We now have the contract to maintain this garden and have given the hedge its first cut and have a bulb planting schedule to carry out for the spring flowering period.When I look back at the work schedules for the year it does appear that the maintenance and soft-landscaping work has been more prolific than hard-landscaping work; it probably had a lot to do with the completion of the second wild-flower meadow. This time seed was used rather than the wild-flower turf, so this will be slower to mature; I will give you a further update on its progress in the spring.
We have also had the pleasure of working on a “minimalist” style garden; black fences, silver birch trees and Eucalyptus trees with plenty of box-hedging. There was a lot of lighting installed to enhance the plants at night. The front garden was planted along similar lines and included a large, mature “cloud” tree as the centrepiece. This had to be craned into position and all went according to plan.
Our design department is now working on another, larger garden for the same client. The same colour scheme is being used (black/grey/green/white), but in this scheme there will be a “letter-box” water feature, a glass-covered rill within the patio area, the glass will finish flush with the paving. The area of paving around the rill will have dancing water jets, which will be individually lit with colour changing lights to give a different effect at night.
Last, but not least, is the complete overhaul of a school football/playing field. The old grass will be killed off and the ground rotovated, a stone burying machine will be used to bury the larger stones. The area will then be reseeded so that the playing field is ready for the spring/summer of 2013.
Staffing remains constant, although all of us are working harder, more efficiently and more flexibly! We can now move from landscaping to maintenance with minimum disruption. We have had to make use of temporary staff during the height of the season in the summer, as the weather conditions made it a good growing season for grass and we could not keep up with it sometimes. We, also, had to replace one of our older mowers. Retail Sales:
Turf and topsoil sales maintained a good level during the summer months, but keeping the topsoil dry and workable was a big challenge for us.
We are now stocking up with salt for winter gritting; we will be ready for whatever the season brings!
However, just because it is winter the garden work doesn’t completely stop. Now is an ideal time to plan for next year’s garden and to move or divide any shrubs and perennials that need it. It is also a good time to get any garden building work done.
Should you need any assistance or advice, please, do not hesitate to contact us.I wish you happy gardening, Colin