Follow our progress running the nursery, watching wild bees, keeping honey bees and creating our own bee-haven in south Oxfordshire

rosybee - peat free


All our plants are grown in a peat-free  professional-grade compost. We have always used peat-free as a matter of principle so its very hard for me to comment on its effectiveness compared to other composts. I suspect the seedlings take a little longer to get established but once they get going in our large cell trays they are very happy and healthy.

So, we just keep being peat-free and dont really know what all the fuss is about from everyone who is not.

Our environmental credentials


We dont make any big claims about being organic because it is fundamental to our ethos; there is not much point in trying to help one bit of the environment and damaging another in the process.   This are all the things we do to try and make a difference: * only use peat-free compost

* use organic, seaweed-based plant food

* capture rainwater from the polytunnel roof to provide 90% of our water needs

* minimise use of fuel by only providing heat when it is freezing outside or for specific young plants

* no more than on litre of bug-spray per year

Construction is now more or less complete at rosybee but we have also been very careful to minimise the use of concrete and to use recycled crushed concrete and road planings for all of our track and hard standing areas.

Poor weather delays plant growth


I had planned to start sending orders to customers either first or second week in April but the weather has been so awful that the plants are just not ready yet.  We aim to keep the polytunnel temperature above freezing but we don't heat it more than that. The result is that all the plants are fine but the roots are not sufficiently established to makes sure that they stay safely in their pots while being couriered. Having spoken to several customers, fortunately most agree that the conditions are also too cold for planting into the ground anyway.

We will all just have to wait a few more weeks; it will warm up eventually.

New stock growing

I love this time of year in the polytunnel: we take all our stock that has been growing over the winter in tiny plug cells and pot them on to the big plugs in trays of 10 that we sell them in.  In the process of 'potting up' the plants suddenly take up 3 times the space and the polytunnel fill rapidly, turning in the a sea of green shades. Now we just need to manage the temperatures and water levels (and worry about deep frost days) until they are ready to send to customers.

Plant production at rosybee


We are just entering our busiest time of year; I have been potting up all the new stock from tiny plugs into the trays of large plugs that we sell them in.  This year 50% of the stock has been propogated in-house, mainly from seeds but some cuttings too. The other 50% are bought in as plugs from very specific nurseries that stock exactly the right varieties. Here you see my potting bench with some beautiful purple sage plugs making their way into their next home.

From now everything grows very fast; over the next 6 weeks it will begin to get warmer and the daylight will reach 12 hours per day (hopefully with some more seasonably mild weather). The roots will grow rapidly in the new compost and the plants will be ready to start deliveries in early April.