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   

2015 Plant Catalogue Now Online

 The New 2015 Plant Catalogue for Abriachan Nurseries is now online and landing on doorsteps around the country.
We hope you enjoy this years selection, the plants we list in our catalogue have proven their worth as good garden plants, or are part of one of our collections such as Auricula & Helianthemum
We also like our plants to have a little “je ne sais quoi” whether that be lovely scent, a flash of subtle colour, or just looking right in the place or association where they grow.
Click here to download the pdf of the catalogue
This year has the addition of a new Falkland Island Page where we have increased our selection of plants from this remote, unique and beautiful part of the world.

And my garden ideas for this year, I am going to re-read the books of Christopher Lloyd. As his years matured he introduced more colour into his garden. And that is where I am in 2015, the year of colour. I love annuals and will be planting all I can, additionally Dahlias and Lilies and who knows what else.
Watch our Flickr site and my blogs for ideas and progress.
I am also working up some “planting recipes“, a selection of gardening ideas for you to consider trying, along with instructions and prices.  They will be on our web site.
Good gardening
Margaret Davidson
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