Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ready, Set, Propagate

Man, I love this time of year. Propagation season is about to really get rocking. We've already done some from the existing plants we have in inventory but in another week we move outdoors to roses we have not had in stock this past season

Or, sadly several seasons for that matter. We had so many roses we wanted to propagate and offer to our customers but we just couldn't get to them these past few years. And quite honestly I couldn't focus enough to get us organized to get to them anyway.

Now however, we know where we want to go, Michael starts full time next week and since he is our main propagator I know I'll have a solid person out there running the show.

We have a very ambitious goal this year. 1000 varieties on the website by September 1st. I think we can do it and I've put the word out to the Red Clay Day Gang for help and I know they'll respond.

I certainly measure Ashdown's year by the business stuff like profit and loss, website stats, attrition rate of transplanted roses etc etc. But our identity and to me one of our yardsticks are the roses we offer our customers on the website.

We are privileged to care-take some lovely and special roses. And a responsibility of that privilege is to make them available to customers to keep them in commerce and in as many gardens as possible.

And for purely selfish reason I love seeing all those new babies blooming the in greenhouse. It's like seeing old friends over and over again. Talk about stopping to smell the roses!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Getting Back In Touch With My Inner Rosarian

I have a little secret to share with you. Wanna know the best thing about moving to the new retail location?

The privacy.

No, not at the new retail location but at the old location which is now closed to the public, which means on Wednesday and Thursday while Trish is at the new location I have the entire place to myself.

Wanna know what I did today, this Wednesday? Whatever I darn well wanted to thank you very much! I consolidated the roses in the large greenhouse, propagated for a while, potted up some new cuttings, did some watering, played with the cats and a few other rose chores. Since I now do all my financial stuff only on Monday, then Trish and I ship on Tuesday that means I get two full days on Wednesday and Thursday to myself to...

Get back in touch with my inner rosarian.

You see, I lost that part of myself when I was battling banks and what not. I rarely got the chance to get out into the greenhouses and the roses and well, play with my roses. I call it play because I have a hard time calling it work when I truly love doing it.

At some point we will move and I will be back amongst everyone on Wednesday's and Thursdays but right now while it lasts I'm going keep doing what I want in my roses. And rediscover why I do this in the first place.

Wanna know what I'm going to do tomorrow, Thursday?

Don't know - haven't made it up yet.

And that's my little secret!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Puzzles, Oceans and Keeping On

Have you ever been so exhausted that even thinking about being exhausted hurts both in brain and body? That's the way I feel right now. Today, April 1, was the first official day at our new retail location. Growing plants in a locale that gets April freezes means you cannot move leisurely in March. It means you look at the weather forecast March 31 and if the next 15 days are above freezing you move NOW!!

Top it off with flying up to and speaking and the Yankee District ARS convention this past weekend when I probably should have been setting up tables etc at the new retail location and you end up with a very tired rose person. I could have gotten someone to build tables but a) cash is real tight in this economy b) I like doing carpentry and c) I'm Dutch and we are not known for spending money when we can do it ourselves.

My Mother gave me a great book to read called The Dutch Puzzle. In it the Ambassador to The Netherlands from Spain off and on in the 20th century tries to explain the Dutch People. He does a decent job but how do you explain a people who in the face of not enough land to grow food simply drain the ocean. You can't.

But I do know that is why I keep moving and push. Quit is not in my Dutch DNA and never will be.

But you know what really picks me back up? An Irishman. Van Morrison. I sit here tonight with Astral Weeks on the stereo, Avalon Sunset racked up next and with every track spirits are lifted, dikes are built and oceans drained.

Heck, if my countrypersons can do that, I can move a nursery.

Tot Ziens