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Autumn at Yellow House

What a summer we had, surely not an omen of things to come, I hope your gardens are now revitalised after some lovely rain, isn’t autumn just the
best season? Summer was a challenging time for everyone, particularly those with
nurseries, while it’s easy for me to focus on plants that have been lost, there
are also many positives too.

I’ve learnt a lot about different plant species and their ability to cope with what I assume is climate change. So many surprises, plants I’ve considered tender didn’t miss a beat, while some hardy drought tolerant ones rotted, cooking in plastic pots. A combination of high humidity and me being an idiot and sympathy watering at inappropriate times. Plants in the garden fared much better with few losses, it turned into a bit of a jungle as I just watered as time allowed and mainly left them to support each other and get on with it! Overall it just reinforced my constant mantra of plants want to live as much as we do and with a bit of help and love will cope just fine.

In the nursery Francoas, Geums, Geraniums (cranesbills), Digitalis and of course Salvias are alive and well, even some little treasures like Meadowsweet, Woodruff and the English Primroses are fine, particularly after being tickled up by some rain.

Now it’s autumn and the orders are coming thick and fast, gardeners are ever an optimistic lot, give them a bit of rain and thoughts immediately turn to ‘what can I get to plant in the garden now’? While many plants are sold out I’m in the process of preparing to put lots of new ones on the website as well as some old favourites that are now back in stock.

The task of seed raising begins in May, it’s exciting to see the first tiny green heads appear, I always rush to the poly tunnel first thing in the morning to see what’s popped up overnight. I import many seeds from Europe and reckon our winter is probably equivalent to their spring so sowing them now makes perfect sense and it works. Most seed is stored in the freezer and it’s a good way to retain their viability.

Having recently received a number of emails addressed to the sales department, packing department, the nursery manager etc, I thought I would tell you a little, yes, they’re all me, `with a little help from my friends’! The nursery takes about half of my old classic quarter acre block in the NSW South Coast town of Nowra, which apart from growing at a rather alarming rate still manages to retain some of its country town atmosphere.

Plants are grown hardy with only some areas having a light shade cloth cover,
so they have to cope with whatever our weather throws at them, I don’t want to
send you delicate little plants that will turn up their toes at the first challenge.

The potting bench is quite my favourite place and where I can usually be found, in fact friends never bother to check whether I’m in the house but just head for the propagation area. While it is a large bench it’s never big enough as trays of plants are always encroaching, I even have lights so I can work in the evening and early morning. All potting mix is made on site adjusting ingredients to suit a particular species.

So there you have it, just an old-fashioned cottage garden nursery, a very
personal nursery which is definitely hands on, growing the plants I like rather
than what is the newest eye-catching sensation with the wacky title.

For mail orders all plants are packed bare rooted and travel extremely well, as plastic pots are becoming an environmental problem with many ending up in landfill, I do my best to use environmentally friendly packaging.

In the nursery at the moment Francoas are looking great, Tracheliums are back in stock, some of the perennial Digitalis, unusual Aquilegias, lots of Geums, some new Campanulas and more grasses too.

A good hint for you comes from Penelope Hobhouse, if you have cuttings and no time to fix them up, just wrap them in dampened paper/paper towel, seal in a plastic bag and pop them in the fridge overnight, even after a few days they are usually fine.

You are welcome to visit the nursery, just ring (0417 433 357) or email me () to make a convenient time.

Happy gardening


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