Autumn Shrub Sale 2016


A very small selection of our shrub sale plants:

Mahonia x media Charity

Dwarf Rhododendrons & Larger Hybrid Rhododendrons

Decaisnea fargesii (The fabulous blue bean Tree)

Escallonia rubra Macrantha, Griselinia Littoralis,
Hebe John Collier,
 
And many many more.....................

A Slow Snowy Spring

It is still cold.
Real Lambing snows this year……snow showers on Friday and Saturday , and frosts at night. Brrrrrrrrrh. 

The grass is growing but very slooooowwwly  even the dandelions are slow to open. There is an upside to everything, that gives you a fighting chance to get on top of them!
 
There is of course still much to be glad of and the photographs give a feel for why spring is such and heart lightening season.
 
And in case I forget the dawn chorus is a good as ever. We should bottle it and let it out on gloomy low light days.

March White Rabbit

Oh dear, oh dear…I find myself waking up and thinking about everything there is to do and panicking just like the white rabbit…I’m late I’m late.
Well, the only excuse is it has been a cold month. Well, in truth not even that, it has been a rough old switchback of a month, one mild sunny day and the next back to snow showers.
We have snow forecast on the tops again tonight.  So I have let other things dominate my time and energy; but the balance must shift back now and 'just get another layer of fleece on and get out there woman!'

I have been around the garden looking for signs of spring and my goodness they are all there.  The other evening I had a walk around and several “oh my goodness look at that” experiences.
Here are a few of them:
White Daphne mezeron, this just gets better slowly every year and of course a scent to knock your head off. 
White Daphne mezeron - Abriachan Nurseries

The snowdrops and snowflakes are giving way to the daffodils, and this year more than any other I have loved taking the daffodils indoors to watch the buds open. They are wonderfully cheerful.

Some nice crocus tomassinianus here and there, but for every ten we plant, the mice and voles find and eat nine. Still onwards and upwards, and let’s hope they have a population collapse this year..…the mice not the crocus. 

The Rhododendron praecox has defied all the odds and has avoided the frost on its ridiculously early blossom. It is a wonderful cloud of violet  purple. Bravo. 
Rhododendron praecox - Abriachan Nurseries

Hellebores are everywhere. Where we remember, or when they look too spotty, we cut the old leaves off and that lets the flowers show off really well and the new leaves seem to accelerate through. All sorts of flowers; doubles, dark and pale singles, white and spotty ones and some robust excellent hybrids like ericsmithii. Such great garden value.
Margaret Davidson
Hellebore - Abriachan Nurseries

Abriachan Hydro scheme - March Update

Despite a cold, occasionally wintry month…there has been really good progress with the new Abriachan hydro scheme.   (Click here to read the first explanatory blog post)

The cement arrived for casting the base for the turbine and was pumped over the stream ( the Kilianan)  by a 120ft long elephant’s trunk.

Abriachan Nurseries Hydro Scheme

The turbine building has been making steady progress and walls all in now. 
Abriachan Nurseries Hydro Scheme

The pipe to carry the water was welded together in sections and dragged down the hill to lie in its ditch like a giant black anaconda. 
Abriachan Nurseries Hydro Scheme

And most exciting, the new 99kw turbine arrived on a very sophisticated lorry and was craned into the new building and connected. The old turbine made its way out on the same day and was trucked away.  A small wistful glance from us all watching it go, when it operated well it was a good friend.
Abriachan Nurseries Hydro Scheme
Abriachan Nurseries Hydro Scheme

So, so far, good progress but quite a bit to go yet.

A New Abriachan Hydro Scheme


When we came to Abriachan in 1983 there was a small hydro electric scheme operating.
The stream it ran off is the Kilianan and has a fantastic 100ft plus head of water.
The scheme was put in in the late 1940’s, by the then owners the Woodwards and was installed by an engineer relative of theirs, Mr Mackenzie. He ran an ice factory in Inverness and was obviously very able and put the scheme together.
The piping was sources from pipes that were laid around Inverness in the 2nd world war to provide emergency water supplies, when needed. Real post war imagination and innovation.


It gave about 20KW and was a Gilkes of Cumbria turbine. That was more than enough for our house and the nursery for about 9 months of the year
We kept the system going for quite a number of years, but the age of the systems and the increasing costs of repairs made it increasingly uneconomical, and we closed the system down in about 2005.

And then along came support for renewable energy and feed in tariffs and the whole economics of small hydro schemes changed. And now, DHG (Dulas) hydro is installing a new hydro scheme in the Kilianan. The design and capacity is now more advanced and it will be producing up to 100kw and feeding electricity into the grid.  It should be up and operational by the end of 2015.
All very exciting.  We will put up photographs as things progress.  Lots of folks are asking what’s going on….so here is the keep up to date space.




Margaret Davidson   
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