Grown in Wales

Grown in WalesGrown in WalesGrown in Wales

12

September

The worst job on the nursery

Charles Warner

People often make the mistake of thinking that the plants that they buy in garden centres are grown by gardeners or at least by garden enthusiasts. This is not really so. The people supplying your garden centres are business people. Some of them running quite big businesses. many of them outside the UK. If I was a gardener I might think that the worst job was double digging the asparagus bed or clipping the laurel hedge or something. As a nurseryman, you may think that my least favourite job is labelling plants on a freezing February morning or spraying the plants for thrips. For me it's non of those. When I get to do a bit opf horticulture it's like a holiday compared to my least favourite jobs. I spend an hour every morning as soon as it is light weeding and although my fingers a freezing it's far more enjoyable than what I have to do now. I'll tell you in a minute.

This year has been special. I have worked...

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29

March

On being small

Charles Warner

I can hear a nuthatch.

Selling plants to garden centres has its own set of challenges. Probably the biggest of these is the seasonality. A grower spends 9 months preparing for the three months in which he or she can make a profit. If you can break even during the other months then you are doing well. That applies to us all, big or small. There are also a raft of practical problems related to the production of a living product. These are all there to be overcome by the concientious grower and it's why we need experience. In recent years the trade that supplies your local B and Q and your garden centre Group store has changed beyond recognition compared to that which I entrered in the early 80's. It's a global business now with plant material shooting around on trucks and aeroplanes from one side of the globe to the other. Garden centres have become meccas for colour hungry shoppers and have begun...

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16

January

New Cardigan

Charles Warner

Elvis is in the house (Costello that is) and sourdough is drying on my fingers as I type. The sun has yet to get it's shoes on and the wind is like an overtired toddler that doesn't know what the hell it wants.

It was 1989 when I came to live in Cardigan. I was an incomer, a foreigner, a stranger. I'd settled into city life for a couple of years before coming here and it took a while to get the sound of night buses and the waft of the curry house on every corner out of my system. I soon took to Cardigan though. Stuck out on the West coast it had the feeling of separation, like an island or peninsular might although it was only an island in the sense of major roads. It had a glorious coastline, a rich history, proper pubs and a taxi rank where you might, if there was noone inside, pick up the radio mic and summon your own taxi. It had a bit of a reputation mind. Like all country towns it was punch up central...

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13

January

Antisocial ?

Charles Warner

I get up early in the morning. I always have. For years I fought this urge simply because it seemed so antisocial. Social stuff happens at night-right ! When I was a kid I always missed out on the television that all the other kids would talk about at school. The Sweeney, The professionals, Not the nine o'clock news, were all unknown to me because at six AM I had been out in the countyside wondering why it was that noone else was around. I can't say that it was much of a problem then and I lived with it through my teens and twenties often by having a quiet time early evening and then coming alive again later at night. It was more difficult in my marriage. I had a business to run and children to care for and a bigger need to fit in with everyone elses more standard timekeeping. I went through a period of quite deep depression in my mid thirties when the strain on me was most intense. I sought medical help and saw my local GP. He focused on what he saw as...

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3

January

Skills

Charles Warner

It was the build up to Christmas. We don't go in for Christmas in a big way. We have a £10 limit on presents (I managed to find Duke Ellingtons Far East Suite on Vinyl which was a bit of a triumph). We don't do decorations or Christmas trees but with the money that we save we treat ourselves to a couple of special bottles from a proper wine merchant (it took a trip to Cardiff) and some nice bits and pieces to eat. The favourite bit for my partner and I is probably choosing the christmas cheese. We didn't have to go far. Wales has a growing food culture these days. Twenty years ago there were few cheese producers but now we are a bit spoiled for choice. six miles or so from us is a producer of national renown. They have a multi award winning range of cheeses that have graced the halls of some of the largest food retailers in the UK as well as some of the poshest. I remember Derek Cooper describing their Caerphilly in such glowing terms on...

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