Grown in Wales

Grown in WalesGrown in WalesGrown in Wales

2

April

This season

Charles Warner

The morning is appearing at my window. It's a morning to be reckoned with. It hasn't slipped from night into dawn. The sunlight has blasted into the kitchen window and cast great oblongs of light onto the slate floor. It is April but this is a winter light. Hard and brittle as stars and dry as a scythe. This would be great if it were January. We could make bread, stoke up the fire and think about the season ahead but in April......

We have to put plants onto garden centre benches. It's April and that is what we do in April. So I drive around but the garden centres look like desolate places and although some of them have customers they are not buying plants. The ornamental plants that we have are ready to flower but are stunted by the cold wind that seems to tear the colour out of everything....

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27

February

Do one thing well

Charles Warner

Last year we built a house. At least, we finished building a house. This year we are building a home.

I have spent 40 years growing plants in some form or another. I begged my parents to let me take over the family allotment when I was eight and I bought packets of seed and bags of compost and I would sit for hours in the family greenhouse on sunny spring days watching the seeds start to germinate and pricking them out into trays. Always the entrepreneur, I sold the trays of veg and bedding plants outside the family home and I got quite a reputation for it especially as I was so young. It kept me in pocket money until girls and cider began to be more interesting.

Most people don’t seem to think about the industry behind their purchase of a plant. I have seen it change from small family businesses where the knowledge of growing plants was paramount to the...

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26

November

Ash

Charles Warner

Every two weeks I get an email from a nursery in Costa Rica. They sell unrooted cutting material. They visited my nursery once. That's right a nursery in Costa Rica sent their nursery manager and two smart young women from their Spanish operation to my nursery in West Wales. I protested when they called. I explained to them that the region in which I live is not well known for it's horticulture. There probably wouldn't be many opportunities for them to sell their cuttings. I explained that I propagated my own plants from my own stock and that was one of the values of my enterprise. They came anyway. They were charming. I bet that they produce some fabulous cutting material over there in Costa Rica. I can't help but wish them well.

I guess that it's not well known that plant material is traded all over the world in this way. A grower...

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22

November

Henry

Charles Warner

I have sciatica. It's fine during the day when I'm moving about but at night, when I'm lying down it painful enough to keep me awake. So I get up , Find a David Sedaris clip on youtube and I paint the kitchen.

It's taken a long time to get from plans in an architects office to painting the kitchen and although I designed the house to be straightforward to build, it's taken a lot of work. As such I don't take any of it for granted. With the Rayburn firde up it's the warmest house I have ever lived in. The kitchen is spaceous and easy to work in and I love the slate floor . I'm reaching the final straight now so there's the fireplace to build in the Living room and a bit of tiling to do and the ensuite to finish and a vacuum cleaner to buy.

I've...

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20

November

Opportunity knocks

Charles Warner

I feel that it has been an important year for horticulture. Garden centres in the UK have been stretched to the limit by the relentless wet weather at a time when the news is a constant reminder to all of us that the economies of Europe are on the brink of meltdown. The suppliers of the garden centres have had to find strategies to overcome huge ups and downs in demand . For some the approaching spring might give little comfort because where they are able, the garden centres are holding stock that they normally would have sold by now.

For the garden centres there has never been a more important time for innovation, even reinvention. Those that just pile the stock up and keep their fingers crossed for good weather are going to be at the highest risk and will need deep pockets to get through 2013.

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