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Westcountry Nurseries (North Devon) Ltd Donkey Meadow, Woolsery, Bideford, Devon, EX39 5QH, United Kingdom.

OUR NATIONAL COLLECTION OF LUPINS
As well as all our other large range of plants, we have held the National Collection of lupins for the UK since 1997. Our lupins are all bred by Sarah Conibear and are available from some of the major garden centres. Here is some information about lupins for you.
PICTURE - CHELSEA DISPLAY 2015 Gold

L U P I N S

by S a r a h C o n i b e a r

INTRODUCTION
Few amateur gardeners have created the sort of sensation achieved by one elderly George Russell when, in 1937 he brought 25 years of work to the infamous RHS Westminster Show in Vincent Square. But this is exactly what happened when Russell (whose name is notoriously linked with Lupins in a way few other plants are so commonly known) put on a display of his new hybrids in big copper bowls, the like of which nothing had been seen before.

Astonishingly by the time Russell showed in London, he was already the ripe old age of 80! His lupins showed the characteristics now so sought after by keen breeders - the straight backed stem, the fully opened standards, the rounded bells and the new breaks of colour. Russell is entirely attributed with the breeding of the bicolour range naming his particular favourite a pink and white after himself.

But how did he, a gardener for his employer during the day, make such changes to an insignificant herbaceous perennial originally brought over from North America by David Douglas some 100 years earlier. With a dedication often found in the over enthusiastic gardening fraternity, Russell grew thousands of lupins on his Yorkshire allotment, spending every spare moment lovingly caring for them. More importantly, he was ruthless in his selection process, rogueing out any plants not coming up to muster, any blues (too close to the original polyphyllus strain) and any annuals (too close to the hartwegii strain) - a case of survival of the fittest.

Russell wrote no notes, did not approve of hand pollinating (the bumble bees were allowed full responsibility for the job of cross-pollination), took no cuttings and wouldn't go out in the rain. No one was allowed to buy his precious plants despite lucrative offers but his reward was adulation from his public, an MBE and the Royal Horticultural Society awarded him the Veitch Medal for a lifetime's achievement in horticulture

OUR LUPINS
Growing lupins must be good for your health - George Russell started breeding them during his 50's and lived on to the ripe old age of 96 after storming onto the horticultural scene in 1937 at the RHS Show Westminster. If the exotic beauty of these magnificent plants has not yet captured you, I urge you to take a chance and have a go - even if it is just a packet of seed. Each seedling will be unique in colour, form and habit and you can call it what you like because no one else will have it!

Yet despite all his efforts, the lupins on the market today bear little resemblance to those bred by Russell. Out of a genus of 200 species of hardy perennials and half hardy annuals few are grown today. Of those that are, they resemble a feather duster rather than the exotic plumes of a true Russell specimen. Without the constant renewal of good varieties through taking cuttings the mother plants disappear having dropped seedlings of all types of genetic disposition around her. The strongest (often the blues) and unfortunately the gappiest usually claim their parent's pitch which should answer the frequent query about lupins mysteriously 'reversing' or changing colour. They don't'; their offspring take over.

Astonishingly, lupin seed has been used as a form of protein as long ago as the Roman times. The newer garden hybrids of today are highly poisonous because they are full of toxic alkaloids and should never be eaten but the Romans ate the roasted seeds of sweet white lupins (Lupinus albus) and made them into coffee. More recently Chile produces sweet white lupin flour used as a base in soups, stews and milk shakes in school meals whilst in the USA spaghetti is made from the same flour base. With the close of the first world war, German officials held a lupin feast with invitations printed on paper made of lupins and a table cloth of lupin. Delicacies such as lupin soup, lupin cutlets, lupin cheese and even lupin coffee were served and I promise this is not a sketch from monty python!

All our lupins make a statement with a capital S in borders, their spires giving focus and early colour between the late tulips, paeonies, poppies and alliums. Instantly recognisable, many people remember lupins from childhood in their parents or grannies garden. Elton John asked Rosemary Verey to design a rainbow border with delphiniums, hollyhocks, paeonies and of course lupins, all flowers he remembers from his boyhood. Many of our customers comment on the scent which they remember with a sense of nostalgia.
It has been fascinating to hear from lupinophiles who have first hand experience of Russell's original plants including a gentleman who was general manager for Bakers of Codsalls, Wolverhamton. It was James Baker who eventually persuaded Russell that he was being selfish not to allow his lupins to be sold and having secured Russell's stock, in their hey-day, Bakers attracted 80,000 visitors in June to see 40 acres of lupins in flower.

Buy from a good source, keep hoeing to keep the moisture in the soil, spray at the first sign of any insect attack and feed a little bonemeal or seaweed before and during the growing season. You will be rewarded with great spires in every colour, the humming of bumble bees during the glorious summer days as they go about their relentless quest for nectar, and flowers which look great in the borders, fantastic in a vase. Their perfume is distinct, filling the air with a heady peppery, mossy scent and very much more noticeable indoors. Strip the foliage and side shoots first or the florets will drop. Plunge into water and enjoy a big, colourful display for a good week.

Soil
The latin name for lupin, Lupinus, is derived from lupus meaning wolf or destroyer. Because lupins will grow in poor soil they have also attracted the misleading idea that they can destroy the fertility of the soil. This is not true; lupins make their own nitrogen enabling them to grow in poorer soils but not chalk. Ideally a well drained, neutral to slightly acidic soil will ensure 100% success but most soils will be fine.

Climate
Pretty much any climate will be tolerated by lupins. They are very hardy herbaceous perennials, withstanding frost to at least -25C. In very wet conditions, lupins may succumb to crown rot but if well established, will survive most conditions.

Position
Just like us lupins love the sun and their flower spikes will follow its movement east to west on a bright day. However, we have lupins growing on a north facing site which thrive just as happily. Full sun is said to improve the colour of the flower spikes too.

Uses
Because lupins flower primarily in the month of flaming June they coincide with a popular time for couples tying the knot. If you want to be original take some beautiful lupin florets as confetti, strip the blooms just before you set off. As a statement plant in the border, few plants can match the tall, colourful lupin spire. They make excellent pot plants too which is not an idea usually associated with this genus. Put one or two on your patio and enjoy a heavenly morning and evening scent reminiscent of peppery moss.


News
We won our third gold medal at Chelsea with our lupins. The deep purple Lupin 'Masterpiece' was much in evidence in many of the show gardens and even behind the presenters for the BBC coverage.

Chris Beardshaw, TV presenter and designer has used our Lupinus 'Masterpiece' and Lupinus 'Towering Inferno' in his garden and Rachel de Thame has used them on the Royal Barge. We have a lovely pink and white one named after her.




Behind the scenes
We are not open other than for a few months March to June for collection of orders. Our mail order service is however available all year round and our staff will be pleased to help you with your queries or should you wish to place an order.



About lupins
CULTURAL NOTES - Plant out as soon as the soil is warm enough, usually mid to end of April (obviously, as soon as you receive them if it is later than this). Plant firmly into ground prepared only with bonemeal or calcified seaweed, although this is not necessary. Do not use farmyard manure as this will rot the crowns. Water in but do not overdo it. You must place slug pellets around the plant in its young stages OR TRY STRULCH (in our sundries section). There are now safe forms called Advanced slug pellets which contain Ferris Iron and are 100% safe to use around wildlife, birds, cats, dogs and humans. Other organic alternatives include caffiene, garlic, gravel, bran, copper filings but only slug pellets really work and even these have to be put down on a fairly regular basis until the plant is established. ASTRANTIA are suggested as companion plants as slugs do not like them. Also drench the soil with Slugclear liquid at the end of winter.

DEAD HEAD your lupins as the flowers go over and they will continue to produce more flower spikes all through the summer.
SITE AND SOIL
Lupins prefer to be in full sun but will grow in part shade. It is no good, however, growing them under dark, dank trees in deep shade or waterlogged sites. Very chalky soils are not recommended, but anything else is acceptable.
FLOWERING TIMES
Plants will give you one flower in their first year and as with other herbaceous plant, are at their best from year two onwards. After a few years they will have made up a good sized crown which you can split with a spade early spring and replant. If you want seeds, remember the mother plant does not produce the same colour plants as herself and the seed will give you a rainbow of different coloured seedlings. These should not be named after the mother plant even if some turn out similar in colour. Only splitting or cuttings give the identical or cloned plant.
SEED
If you want a few seed don't allow the whole stock plant to set seed or you will exhaust it and shorten the life of your lupin. Take off flowers as they go over, leaving just the bottom half to set. Staking is not necessary.
BUMBLE BEES ESSENTIAL
Only the bumble bee has the strength to open the lupin flowers and pollinate them. This amazing and vital insect can fly to over 10,000' and have been seen flying higher than Everest! They cope with the thinning air by swinging their wings in a wider arc rather than faster.

EARLIES - 3rd week May to first week June
MID season - first week June to 3rd week June
LATES - 3rd week June to early July


WESTCOUNTRY NURSERIES - Frequently asked questions and suggestions.

1. Buy quality hardy lupins and/or quality seed.
2. Sowing Seed - sow from February to September either in a seed tray or if only a few seed, sow altogether in a deep pot. This can be done in a cold greenhouse, coldframe or window sill. When your lupin seedling has at least 4 true leaves, pot on into a 3"/9cm to grow on. When rooted, plant your lupin firmly where it is to flower, be it in a pot (yes, you can grow lupins in pots) or in a garden and water it in. Lupins do not come true so yours will be a lovely rainbow mix of colours.
3. Plugs. Your plugs needs to be potted firmly into a 3"/9cm pot and grown on till the roots show at the bottom. Water sparingly and from the base if possible. A general purpose peat based compost is ideal.
4. Planting out 3"/9cm pots- make sure you plant firmly and water in just once. Don't keep watering - let the plant's roots find water and so establish properly.
5. Feeding - Use bonemeal in the autumn and calcified seaweed. A high potash feed of tomato feed or Vitax will give good flower colour if in pots. Do not use farmyard manure, even well rotted, as it will rot the crowns. Lupins do not need feeding once in the ground as they have nitrogen fixing nodules on their roots which capture all the nitrogen they require from the air.

QUESTIONS - I HAVE GROWN LUPINS BEFORE BUT..........

They did not come up the following year - Your lupin may have been an annual, or it was loosely planted or the ground was too wet i.e. boggy conditions in winter. Lupins like a well-drained soil (including clay or sandy as long as it is well worked first but not chalk/lime)

They were covered in aphids - Lupin aphids must be sprayed at the first sign - usually April or May and again 7-10 days later. Any brand of aphid killer will see them off - systemic types are best such as Tumble bug, Roseclear, Polysect. Savona soap, a clove of garlic crushed and watered on is an organic option. Cut off flower spike, clear the leaf debris and allow to reflower if infested. A protective fungicide is advisable when the leaves first emerge in the spring.

Slugs or snails ate them. Use bird friendly ferris iron based slugs pellets. You must keep putting them down too, especially after very wet weather. Also try liquid Slugclear or Sluggit watered onto the plants after a heavy shower. Put pellets down in the autumn too when slugs are laying their eggs to overwinter. Organic alternatives are copper rings, coffee granules, egg shells, human hair, grit, beer traps, copper filings and cooking bran.
Lupins make great pot plants as they are highly scented and pest control is easier by spraying WD 40 or applying Vaseline around the rim of the pot.

The leaves go yellow after about a year - your soil is likely to be limey/chalky which lupins do not like being calcifuge (lime haters). Try growing in pots instead using compost mixed with loam, added grit for extra drainage.

The plants grow tall and leggy - lupins like to be in full sun or semi-shade. If yours are under trees or a dark, wet corner they will not thrive.

Lupins are robust, hardy herbaceous perennials, don't mollycoddle them!

My lupins reverted/changed colour - no they didn't!! Lupins do not revert contrary to popular folklore. As the seed from the mother plant does not come true to colour, you must not let the flowers set seed and drop them around the original plant. If you do, the seeds will grow amongst the mother plant and seedlings will come up a different colour making it appear that the original has reverted especially if the original dies. Basal cuttings in February or splitting big plants in March is the only way to propagate your favourite lupin and ensure the same colour. They make a lovely cut flower if you plunge straight into water after picking to avoid an airlock forming in the stem.
When the order is placed at our website, credit card numbers are encrypted using 128 bit encryption. They are only decrypted after they reach our computer. They are not held in clear text on any web site.

CREDIT CARDS. Your card MUST BE registered to your name and address.
If you pay online we do not see your card details at all and thus we cannot store them. Cards are validated by Cardsave and processed by Streamline (HSBC). State of the art secure servers at the highest security levels available are used for all online transactions. We cannot take payment later for online orders as we never see your card details. WE DO NOT TAKE AMERICAN EXPRESS.

If your card is refused it may be due to one of the following reasons..

No one likes this, of course, but it happens. This is not our shop - it is your bank declining to make the payment requested. There are many reasons why this can happen:-

The card type may not be valid for mail order, e.g. some Electron cards.

Over-zealous security by your bank. If you have recently used the card overseas, it may be refused when you try to use it within the UK.

The card details you have given do not match those on record. You MUST enter the exact and full details which appear on the actual card, even if the delivery address is different.
WE CANNOT TAKE CALLS ABOUT THIS MATTER
Contact Us Page
If you wish to contact us email is the best way

If you need to contact us, please email us at info@westcountrylupins.co.uk;

YOU MUST BE IN TO SIGN FOR YOUR PLANTS between 9am and 6pm so please do not order if you or someone else cannot be there. We cannot specifiy times for your delivery and even if you have put a note on the order to leave plants safe we cannot guarantee Parcelforce will do so and may take them back to their depot for your collection. Held at depot means awaiting instruction so please contact 03448 00 44 66 with your parcel number and supply the parcel number to them. If your parcel has not turned up within 48 hrs of ordering PLEASE CONTACT US by email immediately

FOR NOTIFICATION BY EMAIL OR TEXT OF YOUR PARCEL
We only send out email and text when given this information (email and/or mobile phone number) by you on placement of your order. We can then advise you of despatch of your parcel for over 3 plants when sent by courier (Parcelforce). The driver will attempt delivery and either the customer must be in to sign for the parcel or you have 3 options (delivery to specified neighbour, delivery to post office, or redelivery on a date specified by you. These you can text back to the driver (after the 2nd sms text). With deliveries without SMS text notifications the drivers will either re-attempt the following day or take the parcel to a Post Office.

Sometimes, despite our typing your instructions on the parcel label, Parcelforce will not always leave in the place designated if they feel it is not safe or cannot find your property and take them instead to your local post office from where you will have to collect them, they will not be re-delivered. This is the policy of Parcelforce not us and it is normal procedure with many courier companies therefore we cannot do anything to change this.

If there is some damage externally it will be due to the rough handling of RM or Parcelforce, not our packing or boxes. Even then, it is rare for the contents to be damaged.


EX39 5QH for sat navs
Press Information
Lupinus 'Masterpiece' is the favourite lupin with all the designers at Chelsea, seen in many of their beautiful gardens.




Happy customers
Wow! That was quick! My plants arrived almost as soon as I pressed send. They look great and I shall be planting them out this afternoon and maybe taking another peek at the website to see what else I fancy.
Thank you for such an efficient service and please add my details to your list for a catalogue in the New Year. Mrs Alison McRase Spencer

Many thanks, my plants arrived yesterday. I don't think I have ever received such lovingly and well-packed plants, which were in tip top condition too! kind regards. Marie Webb

Just a quick note to thank you for my 3 x Argyranthemum Vancouver, which were ordered on Thursday 2nd April and arrived on Saturday 4th April. The plants were in excellent condition and I am looking forward to seeing them in flower.
I was most impressed by your website easy to navigate, the acknowledgement of my order by e-mail, and the speedy delivery. I will recommend your nursery to my gardening friends.
Best wishes, Rosemary Rickard

Dear Westcountry Nurseries
I am delighted to advise that my order arrived today. The plants of excellent quality and I am very pleased with them.I would like to complement all at Westcountry Nurseries for the truly outstanding l service I have received. I will be ordering more from your company when I need I need any more plants.Kind regards Chris Snow

Plants received this morning, beautifully packed and looking healthy. Thank you - what a pleasure to find such a professional supplier! V. Lewis

Ordered 10am Monday. Delivered 11am Tuesday. All planted by 12 noon. What fantastic service. And the plants are amazing. Healthy new top growth, strong root stocks, not a blemish in sight. So purrfect. Many thanks. Graham

Plants in season
When summer is here and with it come the lovely flowers we associate with this time of year - lupins make lovely cut flower displays with a heady perfume.


"The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives." Gertrude Jekyll
How do I propagate plants
If you wish to try your own propagation, lupin cuttings can be taken in February and March - basal, taken from the base of the crown and root in a cold frame or tray filled with well drained composts - 50:50 sand to compost. Water in and leave to root up. Should take about 4 weeks.

In your greenhouse, start watering in moderation from March as all plants are just starting to come to life after the winter.

Seed can be sown in a heated propagator from February or if you do not have heat, wait till March when the days lengthen and the air temperature warms up.

Our area
We live in a lovely part of the UK, with a beautiful coastline for walking, sailing and visiting gardens. As part of the South West Way it is a regular haunt for exercising the fluff balls (dogs) and we are only a couple of miles from Clovelly. Artists and musicians are drawn to the area and there are plenty of courses to do..

Woolsery sits over 600' above sea level along this section of the coast so we tend to get the wind, rain and the snow.

Clovelly boasts a picturesque cobbled street leading to a quaint harbour where we enjoy rowing in the Clovelly gigs and walking the fleet of Bichons along the Hobby Drive. The gardens are worth a visit too (I was head gardener there for over six years and oversaw the renovation of the greenhouses and planted up the espalier trees around the high walls).

Hartland (land of deer), is 60 miles from the nearest motorway and twenty-five miles from the nearest railway station. It is of course, accessible by bus or by car.

Hartland Abbey which was disestablished by Henry VIII is just a few miles further on where a lovely walled garden sits, enjoying the microclimate created by the old walls. The snowdrops and bluebells are a picture in the spring.

Hartland Quay boasts a rugged coastline and is a favourite for surfers and forms the toughest part of the The South West Coast Path. Lundy island is visible from here which has been described as the island of the Severn Sea. Roe deer and grey seals form part of the fauna and more rarely puffins on the shore and peregrine falcons above. Hartland Point is a sharp, stunning cliff and treacherous for sailors. The rusting wreck of the Joanna, a Dutch ship can still be seen which ran aground and met its fate over twenty years ago. Looking out at the Atlantic ocean, at the seas edge are oystercatchers and cormorants skimming the waves. At Spekes Mill Mouth where the water falls 100ft, follow the stream inland to Lymebridge and then to Docton Mill for a devonian cream tea.

Postal rates, deliveries, what to do if your parcel has not arrived
FOR UK MAINLAND ONLY (Sorry NO orders sent outside the UK mainland)

1 plant £4.50, 2 plants £7.00, 3 plants £9.50, 4-48 plants (courier rates apply) £12.00, 49-100 plants, £35.00 (or place two separate orders of 48 plants so each box would be £12), Over 100 £50.00

If your postcode falls into zone 2 we can send out your order by courier if it is over 3 plants. Orders of 1-3 plants remain at standard Royal Mail charge:- BUT

ZONE 2 SURCHARGE you must choose the drop down option for your area if it falls in the following postcodes when checking out and paying otherwise we cannot despatch the order. This only applies to orders OVER 3 plants in 9cm pots. 1-3 plants remains at Royal mail standard rate.

Zone 2 Highlands and Islands of Scotland, Isle of Wight and Northern Ireland. Zone 2 postcodes include the following - IV, HS, KA27-28, KW, PA20-49, PA60-78, PH17-26, PH30-44, PO, ZE. Choose the drop down button for Zone 2 for postage when checking out.

YOU MUST BE IN TO SIGN FOR YOUR PLANTS between 9am and 6pm so please do not order if you or someone else cannot be there. We cannot specifiy times for your delivery and even if you have put a note on the order to leave plants safe we cannot guarantee Parcelforce will do so and may take them back to their depot for your collection. Held at depot means awaiting instruction so please contact 03448 00 44 66 with your parcel number and supply the parcel number to them. If your parcel has not turned up within 48 hrs of ordering PLEASE CONTACT US by email immediately

FOR NOTIFICATION BY EMAIL OR TEXT OF YOUR PARCEL
We only send out email and text when given this information (emaill and/or mobile phone number) by you on placement of your order. We can then advise you of despatch of your parcel for over 3 plants when sent by courier (Parcelforce). The driver will attempt delivery and either the customer must be in to sign for the parcel or you have 3 options (delivery to specified neighbour, delivery to post office, or redelivery on a date specified by you. These you can text back to the driver (after the 2nd sms text). With deliveries without SMS text notifications the drivers will either re-attempt the following day or take the parcel to a Post Office.

Sometimes, despite our typing your instructions on the parcel label, Parcelforce will not always leave in the place designated if they feel it is not safe or cannot find your property and take them instead to your local post office from where you will have to collect them, they will not be re-delivered. This is the policy of Parcelforce not us and it is normal procedure with many courier companies therefore we cannot do anything to change this.

If there is some damage externally it will be due to the rough handling of RM or Parcelforce, not our packing or boxes. Even then, it is rare for the contents to be damaged.

DO NOT ORDER IF YOU LIVE OVER ANY STRETCH OF WATER WITHOUT CHECKING THE DROPDOWN BUTTON FOR POSTAGE FOR ZONE 2.

WE DO NOT SEND ABROAD

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