Summer potting: Newly-potted stock will benefit from an application of Orosorb or Wiltpruf S600. Both these products are anti-transpirants and allow plants to establish in new growing media without the risk of drying out.
Phygelius: Small grey insects with a white head and two dark spots on the back can sometimes be seen feeding on the foliage and flowers of Phygelius. It is the figwort weevil and might also be found on plants such as Buddleja, Verbascum, Digitalis, Penstemon and Mimulus. The slug-like larvae usually feed on the topside of the leaf surface, creating a skeleton. Control adults and larvae with bifenthrin, Decis or Toppel 100EC. If you are using predators, then consider Chess WG (SOLA 2008-2834).
Mist systems: I see many mist systems that malfunction through lack of maintenance of the leaf sensor. Keep it clean by regular use of a medium sandpaper on a level surface. Avoid wiping the surface with your skin - it can leave behind an oily film that alters the characteristics of the sensor. Nozzles that have last year's algae growth on can be taken out and put in a tank of Jet 5 and cleaned up. Horticultural Development Company work on the Evaposensor is proving very good at regulating mist systems and is research to watch closely.
Hellebores: Coniothyrium hellebori continues to cause large black spots on the leaves. Spray at least twice with Cercobin WG (SOLA 2008-1384), Scotts Octave or Switch.
Water: Water-pumping electricity costs in the summer can be quite high. You can save summer electricity costs by changing the switchgear to an inverter controller in place of a direct-on-line or star-delta starter. This allows you to run the pump only at the speed necessary to provide the water needed. Existing pumps can be used without any pipework changes and the whole system is subjected to far less stress during start up and shut down.
Level crossings: Network Rail's Don't Run the Risk campaign highlights these important points: look, listen and cross quickly and safely; make sure the far gate is open before crossing; where required, get permission to cross using their telephone; do not stop vehicles on a crossing; do not leave gates open after use and make sure vehicles or equipment can pass through the gates easily.
www.HorticultureWeek.co.uk/nursery for recent articles.