Tuesday, 1 May 2012

And sow it begins,

Dreadful pun, you would think I'd know better . . .

The last couple of years I have found it too hard to resist all the seed packets waiting quietly in the fridge and started sowing tender annuals in April.  Seeing as it is too cold to put any tender plants outside before the end of May/beginning of June I then spend weeks nursing babies which badly need to be outside and trying to prevent them getting leggy, drying out, getting a growth check, or whatever.  I'm forever reading online that later sown seedlings always catch up so I planned to wait a little this year . . .

As our American friends might say "and how's that working out for you?"

Not well, not well at all!

I cracked and started the first seeds on 23rd April and sowed a load more over the weekend of the 28th/29th.   It was so cold in the greenhouse on Saturday morning* that I had to run an electric fan heater for an hour whilst wearing three layers of fleece.

Seed sowing always leaves me with a feeling of tremendous excitement.  I have trouble suppressing the urge to look at these little trays and giggle.  Actually, it is more of a gleeful chortle** combined with a sense of wonder at the potential contained in a tiny seed.

This year is even more exciting; for the first time I ordered seed saved from RHS gardens. I chose a selection of hardy perennials, some of which could take a year to germinate and demand treatment such as bouts of cold stratification to break dormancy.  It would (theoretically) be easier to just buy these plants from a nursery.  It would also be a lot harder - some of them are difficult to find and my experience to date of buying plants online has been less than satisfactory.  It would also be prohibitively expensive;  stocking a garden this large from scratch needs an awful lot of plants.  I don't mind buying shrubs which take ages to get started and there are some perennials I can't resist but any gardener will tell you there's something very special about the plants which they grew from seed.

The plastic greenhouse has been tucked into a sheltered corner of the nursery and I'm using it as a cold frame until such time as I get real ones.  Fingers crossed!

* of course it was bloody cold, I was out there at 7.30am!
** I've been reading too much Charles Dodgson


  1. What I want to know is why you were running a fan heater that was wearing 3 layers of fleece? Isn't that a bit dangerous. (Asked from behind a tall fence so you can't throw things at me.

  2. Sue, I'll get back to you on that one ....... when I can think of a suitable response!

  3. No heat in our greenhouse so am surprised that the seeds that have germinated haven't curled up frozen to death! The way this Spring is going it will be August before anything tender gets outside!!! Have you ever grown sweet woodruff ,,, just come across it by accident and it looks as though it looks nice, smells good and can tolerate dry shade!

  4. Hmmmm!!! Just written a comment and it vanished!

    Take 2! With no heat in our greenhouse it's a wonder the seeds that have germinated have not curled up and frozen to death. At this rate it will be August before anything tender gets outside!

    Have you ever grown Sweet Woodruff, it looks as though it looks nice, smells good and tolerates dry shade (not that there is any dry shade at the moment but I'm sure there will be!)

  5. Jill, both your comments are here, thank you, and Blogger emailed them both to me. You're right about how cold it is. I bought a couple of Gunnera Manicata last week for the pond area and they're waiting in the nursery. The frost on Friday night has made a right mess of the new leaves.

    Will investigate Sweet Woodruff because I have got a patch of dry shade under the magnolia tree by the drive.


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