Sheesh, it's been months since I've posted anything. Everybody loves spring except those of us in the nursery business; there's never enough time, and everything has to be done NOW. But the rush is almost over and I can finally stop and catch my breath. The good news is that I am getting stronger and have been able to keep up with the work. Stooping and bending is still difficult, and I still have peripheral neuropathy in my feet that drives me crazy, but I can work three or four hours before I have to take a break and do something easy for the rest of the day. Hopefully, the bending and stooping will get easier, although it's now a race against time before the body gives out due to old age. Medicare kicks in in July and I am feeling my almost 65 years. The problem with my feet may never get better; one of the wonderful side effects of chemotherapy.
So, the good news for you, our customers, is that the Specimen Catalog really has got off the ground. Not a lot of species included yet, just Chinese elms and 'Hachi Gen' Japanese Black Pines, but there are a lot of them. Both have been selling well even without any announcement, so if you have been waiting for these, you should act quickly. I just updated the section today to show which are already sold. It's very rewarding to have folks so excited about these incredible plants. I am excited too, and motivated to keep adding more now that the spring rush has slowed down. The next large section will probably be the five gallon Shimpaku junipers. I have about twenty of them that are pruned and ready to go. I want to get them photographed soon before they break out in new spring foliage so that you can see the trunk lines and structure. This summer, I will photograph everything again after the flush of new growth begins to fill in branching close to the trunk. Later this summer, I will try to get assorted other deciduous species added.
The new greenhouse project got interrupted by the late rains and then the spring rush, but I am about to get back to it. It's a half size, 20x50 foot structure that will finally gives room to overwinter the few delicate things we have, and give me a warm dry place to work in winter. I will try to get pictures soon of the frame. The ground posts are in and waiting for the steel bows. It will be a double wall inflated poly greenhouse with passive (water bag) solar heating and maybe some active solar as well. I should be able to overwinter a few Prunus and Wisteria stock plants, and also overwinter all the tender new rooted cuttings. I really want to offer a few mume cuttings again. I have a few 'Peggy Clarke' listed in the catalog this year, but they will go fast. Cold greenhouse overwintering seems to be the trick in our fickle freezing late spring weather. It was below freezing just one week ago, and this is zone 8! The overhead sprinklers have worked wonderfully so far this year in protecting the rest of the nursery. As long as it doesn't fall below about 28F, we should be ok. It's the price we pay for living in a beautiful, but cold deep valley.
We are getting a volunteer helper for the month of June from Canada! He is another bonsai nut who took time off from his real job to study several months in Japan, and now wants to learn the basics of the bonsai nursery trade to round out his education. It's a great opportunity for both of us.
That's all for now, but I hope to get back to you soon with the greenhouse update and cutting propagation news for next year's selections.