Friday, April 26, 2013

The Definition of a Scotsburn Plant

Primula Hot Pink

Please click on the image to view a quick video of next week's spec load.

How do we describe what we grow? How do we decide what to grow? When Mark says "That's not us", what does he mean?

1. Courtyard Plants.  We grow a broad range of plants, some ornamental, some culinary.  The one feature that they have in common is they are suitable for growing in small spaces.  That's not to say they couldn't be massed or field grown, just that our focus is on their use in a courtyard setting.
2. Plants we like. I have been know to say (on many occasions) "it doesn't matter what you like as long as it sells". I am now convinced that it does matter.  Of course it's subjective and often contrary, but we do a better job when we are doing what we love. 
3. The environment.  We are proud of our EcoHort accreditation. We believe that plants are generally environmentally positive but some are not and some practices used in producing plants commercially are equally inappropriate. We consider the environment when selecting varieties. Wherever possible we will choose a biological and environmental controls in preference to chemicals.
4. Garden Ready. While we want our plants to look fantastic when we dispatch them it's more important that they perform when they are taken home by a gardener.
  • Focus on the roots.  Get the root system strong and balanced with the shoot growth and the plant will look after itself.
  • Grow in the appropriate container.  Choose a container to suit the plant not a price. We prefer to grow fewer in the right container than wrestle a large plant into a small pot.
  • No PGR's. Plant Growth Regulators (hormones) help to squeeze plants into small containers so the can be turned over faster. Beyond a vague uneasiness with controlling growth with hormones, we also believe the effect of the PGR is often residual in the plant so it won't grow to it's potential in the garden.
  • Slow and steady. Don't over fertilize and grow in the appropriate environment. Plants must be acclimatized before dispatch.
5. Propagation.  Refer to point 2.  There is a special satisfaction in knowing we have raised a beautiful plant from seed or cuttings we have struck ourselves.

This is a first draft of a "Definition of a Scotsburn plant".  As a first draft I am looking for feedback and I have to concede that some of the items are aspirational rather than factual, but once we can describe what we do and hopefully why, then perhaps we can pull the contradictions into line.

Let me know what you think.

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