From staple guns to staff rooms…we’re all tooled up

From staple guns to staff rooms…we’re all tooled up

Aconites flowers resisting the cold

A triad of aconites

Snow this morning and this little cluster of aconites are sure fire sunshine from the ground up. Part of the buttercup family, aconites remind me of Chinese dancing dragons with their amazing leaf frill.

Not much chance for shivering as we were all running around getting different things done. The packing shed is coming together, the final bits of bubble wrap and gravel flooring went into the glasshouse and I went shopping. Most people who know me, know that I am not a typical woman (if indeed there is such a thing) I hate shopping. Give me customer service over a scanner any day of the week. Such was the length and nature of my list today – galvanised bins, staple gun, cable ties, duck tape (you get the idea) – that my most feared shop had to be entered. The wholesale builders’ merchants. Staple gun, tick, staples…oh dear. They come in SEVEN different sizes and all fit the gun. Which did I need? the assistant wanted to know. Uuuuummm. And which size cable ties?

All my plans went out of the window and before I knew it, the list I had so confidently memorised was out on the counter with staff hurtling around and me phoning my team back at the ranch. Indeed, the staff at this particular store could not have been more helpful or patient, completely defying my below zero expectations. They even offered me biscuits and when I declined said ‘we won’t poison you, we’re not as scary as you imagined, are we?!’ the fear must have been written all over my face!

cyclamen leaves

Someone beam me back to my comfort zone! These heart shaped leaves of cyclamen are amazing for their form and pattern.

My experience at the builder’s merchants was a great warm up for what was to come later in the day. Portakabins. Who knew there was a whole world of these things lurking out there, complete with what I can only describe as portakabin ‘enthusiasts.’ I had the good fortune to stumble across one, while filling the gas bottle (another first) at a local equestrian centre this morning. Within seconds of my saying I was off to view portakabins for our new staff HQ, I was being shown around what can only be described as the Ritz of cabinland. I was briefed on price, what to look out for, what to poke and prod, how to arrange transport and offered the details of friends of friends who ‘knew’ people in the cabin world.

Fired up with all this new information, I armed myself with the best person could want in all matters mechanical, Martin, and headed out to Portakabin hinterland.

There’s no getting away from it these things are not attractive. But as Dave, the Portakabin chief reminded me, I had insisted on coming out before these things had been pressure washed/cleaned/tidied up, indeed, the cabin in question had barely touched down on Suffolk soil. Would you like to see?…

Merriel, the head gardener

No, it’s not a scarecrow…I’m trying to give a sense of perspective/size to the Novikov team! And remember, it’s snowing outside, so I’m probably looking three times wider than usual thanks to my five layers – honest.

This will be the main staff area for break times and meetings. There is also another room earmarked for Head Gardener’s HQ where joy of joys, I can arrange folder upon folder of seed catalogues, gardening reference books, set up the computer and printer, arrange budgets, timesheets etc. I’m not going to show you the outside yet because we are having it colour matched our specific requirements and it WILL be a drastic case of before and after.

On the way back Martin and I passed the bakery. I could never resist a good cake myself, so seen as it was one of the coldest days of the year, I got a box for the team. Well, I’ve got to keep them sweet haven’t I?

the sweets

Ssssssh. Don’t tell the Head of Patisserie at Novikov what we’re eating up here. Guess who snaffled the pig?

I must just mention Charlie’s mammoth planting session. He’s now on day…let me think, it’s around fifteen, without a break AND burning the midnight oil to check on temperature. Yesterday was Sunday and I brought in my friend, Fairy to cheer him on. This particular friend can light up a room, or should I say a garden, with her smile. She heads up her department at a secondary school with a challenging catchment area and is a constant inspiration to me. If she can whip those kids into shape, I’m sure we can do the same with plants who don’t answer back!

Merriel and a friend

Fairy and I on cheer up Charlie’s overtime mission!

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