Sow Gypsophila seeds on the surface of the compost in spring. Make sure that the compost is moist but not wet and seal in a polythene bag until after germination which usually takes ten to twenty one days. Do not exclude light which is beneficial to germination. Transplant when large enough to handle and grow on in cooler conditions. Later plant out in a sheltered spot. Plant out at about a foot apart. They may need staking against the wind if in an exposed position.
I have tried to grow these beautiful, herbaceous perennials before without success. This will be my year with them. These seedlings grow a deep tap root so need starting in a deep pot. They prefer not to be disturbed though. In March I may sow some seeds directly into the white border.
26th January 2017 about thirty tiny seeds sprinkled onto moist compost in a pint pot and enclosed in a polythene bag. All my seed pots are in the computer room and I try to keep the light on during these short Winter days. It is -4 outside this morning. 30th January and it looks like 100% germination already after only 4 days. I have taken them out of the polythene bag and moved them to the window ledge for light,
Well done Higgledy, 1000 seeds for £1.95 and 100% germination. I can’t wait for them to mature. Twelve weeks from germination I believe.
Like its parents, Verbena bonariensis Lollipop ,boasts the same tight clusters of floating purple flowers but has short, compact stems that reach only half the height. Well shaped, uniform plants with an open airy habit that attract butterflies to their glowing blooms from June to September. This hardy dwarf verbena is perfectly proportioned for patio pots and the front of borders where it creates a wonderful delicate airy effect. Seedlings and information from thompson-morgan.com.
Three of these seedlings have survived the winter but look quite straggly with only one strand each. I will research and see whether I should pinch out the growing tip or not. I have potted them on all together in a pint sized pot for now. Update October 2017 – These short compact flowers ended up at about eight feet tall. However, they are very beautiful and are still flowering now.
This is another of the seedlings overwintered and just becoming ready to pot on. Five survivors have been put together in a ten inch pot.
Heart shaped foliage makes an attractive backdrop to the yellow flowers of this hardy perennial daisy. As the name suggests, Doronicum caucasicum ‘Little Leo’ is neat and compact compared to some of its taller relations making it perfect for the front of shaded borders. Leopard’s Bane, as it is commonly known, makes a pleasing cut flower and proves to be a magnet for pollinating insects in the garden. Height 12″.
Apparently this is the plant used to produce Arnica which from my limited medical knowledge is used to treat bruising.
Internal and external preparations made from the flowering heads of arnica have been used medicinally for hundreds of years so says Wiki.
This hardy perennial, Verbascum, was amongst the tiny seedlings, bought from T&M last year, that have been overwintering on the window ledge. All four seedlings look healthy with a good root system and I have transferred them into a 7″ pot. They will stay in the office until the last frost has passed. I believe that these flowers grow quite tall. I have never grown them before but on reading up about them I am looking forward to seeing them in the garden and hope that as they self seed that I will enjoy them for many years.
Verbascum Hybrida common name Mullein is a gorgeous flower in lovely shades of apricot, lilac, buttermilk and sugar pink.. It will grow to four foot. It is a short lived annual that self seeds well.
Six out of six of the Foxglove seedlings made it through the Winter. I have potted them on into 7″ ceramic pots and the roots when I lifted them were huge.
Pot up digitalis plants and grow them on in frost free conditions for transplanting outdoors later on. When plants are well grown and all risk of frost has passed, acclimatise them to outdoor conditions over a period of 7 to 10 days, before planting them in borders and containers in sun or partial shade. Although foxgloves prefer a fertile, moist soil, they will happily tolerate almost any soil except those that are excessively dry or waterlogged.
Foxglove, also called Digitalis purpurea, is a common biennial garden plant that contains digitoxin, digoxin, and other cardiac glycosides. These are chemicals that affect the heart. Digitalis is poisonous; it can be fatal even in small doses. It was the original source of the drug called digitalis.
Digitalis ‘Dalmatian Mixed’ looks magnificent in cottage gardens and woodland borders but thanks to their uniform branching habit, these statuesque foxgloves make fabulous annual bedding too. These short lived perennials will happily seed about to create dramatic drifts and attract wildlife to their nectar rich flowers. Height 20″. Information from T&M.
Today, 23rd January, I have potted on the Delphinium Magic Fountain seedlings that have been overwintering on the window ledge. Five out of the six survived and I am hopeful that they will grow on until I can get them into the garden after the last frost. I can’t wait to see what colour they are. 29th April – I have lost the Magic Fountain to frost. I shall replace them on Sunday with a plant from the garden centre. I shall endeavour to find the same variety as they look lovely. Well, I popped to get some brassica seedlings this afternoon and spotted a Delphinium Magic Fountain White just sitting there waiting for me. It’s now sitting on my desk where it will be nurtured until all risk of frost is gone.
Delphinium Magic Fountain is a lovely delphinium with a smaller more compact stature than some of the taller delphiniums. It is ideal for where space is at a premium, grows to a height of around 90cm. Because of its short stature and healthy thick stems, it does not require staking. It produces sturdy flower spikes throughout the summer. Blooming from June to September it is attractive to bees and is a wonderful cut flower.
Delphinium Pacific Giant. A distinguished delphinium producing strong spikes of semi-double blooms in a dreamy blend of pink, lilac, purple, violet-blue, sky-blue and white. Delphinium Pacific Giants are excellent for cutting and add structure and presence to the back of cottage garden perennial borders.
The Pacific Giant were potted on at the same time as the Magic Fountain but two of these have survived the frost. The lesson here is that out of twelve seedling I only have two strong plants so I put them out to soon. They were very cheap though so I suppose you get what you pay for. Delphiniums are self seeding so I look forward to collecting my own seed eventually.
Delphinium Cultorum Magic Fountain White – bought today from Webbs of Wollaston for £2.00.
I have received 300 Sunflower seeds from Seekay at a cost of 99p. I have washed eleven containers, recycled plastic pint beer glasses, I plan to put holes for drainage and fill with sandy compost to sow the Sunflower seeds. Having done a bit of reading it seems that March is the earliest time to sow. Although most advice says sow where they are to grow this would be difficult as the garden is in the process of being rearranged this year. Sunflowers grow a long tap root which prefers not to be disturbed, however, the seedlings are targeted by slugs so it may be safer growing on in pots until stronger.
This morning. 26th January, I have started a sunflower seed germination experiment. I have removed the husk from three seeds and put the seeds in wet kitchen towel, I have included one intact seed and then put all inside a plastic box. I have also sown one seed intact into a pot of compost and put the pot into a polythene bag.. They will be kept warm and observed. Update – 28th January – In just two days all of the seeds in my kitchen towel have germinated, the ones with the husk peeled off and the one left intact exactly the same. The one put into compost isn’t showing yet but I am hopeful that the root has emerged the same.
Cleome Violet Queen will be the next seeds to go into some damp compost. These half hardy annuals were £1.99 for 200 from Higgledy who recommend sowing between January and March indoors. Best sown on the surface of moist compost and can take up to four weeks to germinate. I shall sow just twenty of them tomorrow 19th January. It seems that these plants can grow as high as six feet so I shall have to be careful where I put them. Eye catching and strongly scented, the deep violet flowers and palm like leaves of this beautiful plant will add a tropical look to the late summer garden. so say the people at Crocus.com. Twenty tiny seedling are now fighting for survival on the window ledge. Germination was great at 100% and took only ten days!. Let’s see if I can get them through to flowering.
Cleome spinosa Violet Queen is a sumptuous purple, which looks good with almost anything, particularly good with verbenas, dahlias and sunflowers. Cleomes are an elegant, very long lasting annual, flowering longer than all the other half-hardies. Sow early. The only downside to Cleomes are their thorns. Information from the Sarah Raven site.
I have bought new seeds from Seekay of two other colours of this beautiful flower. On doing a bit of research I see that I can sow these directly in the ground now, May/June so I am looking forward to doing just that. The two new varieties are Helen Campbell, White and Rose Queen, a subtle pink.
Despite it’s recent revival in popularity Cleome hassleriana ‘Rose Queen’ is actually an heirloom flower having been grown in gardens since 1817. A beautiful variety with deep, rose-pink flowers that fade to light pink. The large, open, airy flowers have a strong scent and bloom throughout the summer until frosts. Eye-catching spidery flowers and palm-like leaves add a tropical look to the late summer garden. Cleome are very easy to grow are generally free of pests and considered drought tolerant. Despite that fact they grow their best in moist but well drained soil and full sunlight. The spidery flowers make attractive cut flowers and the seed heads can be dried and added to bouquets. Frost and cold winds are lethal to this elegant South American annual. If you wish to start them early in the year do so under glass and only plant out after the danger of frosts has passed. Sow indoors in April or outdoors May to June. Cleome like good light levels and germinate quickly if sown quite late. Start them in April or early May. If planted too early the seeds will not germinate and may rot. Sow indoors 4 to 6 weeks before last frost, or sow directly where they are to flower after all danger of frost has passed.
Cleome is a genus of annual flowering plants with 170 species. Cleomaceae are a small family of flowering plants in the order Brassicales comprising about 300 species in 10 genera. Cleome are native to southern South America. This heirloom flower has been grown in gardens since 1817. The genus name Cleome is derived from an ancient name of a mustard like plant, in reference to its seed pods. The species hassleriana is named after Emile Hassler 1864-1937 a Swiss botanist and plant collector. The synonym Spinacia is taken from the Latin spina, meaning a prickle or thorn. Because of their unique flower clusters, these blossoms got the nickname spider flower. Although most flowers have a multitude of meanings cleome one. An old-fashioned expression that asks the recipient to elope or run away with the giver.
The white Cleome Spinosa Helen Campbell looks good in large drifts on its own or intermingled with white cosmos Purity. It’s 16th May and a warm rainy day so I am about to go and sow seeds of both in the white border. The advice is to put seeds on the surface of the soil as they need light to germinate.
This morning the seeds from Higgledy arrived with a very clear explanation for the delay in delivery. They were well packed and look of good quality. First to sow will be ten Sweet Pea Beaujolais They are sitting in a little warm water to soak ready for sowing tomorrow. I received twenty seeds at a cost of £1.99 so more expensive than Seekay. I plan to sow the next ten in March and compare the results. Update – seeds were sown on 19th January and to date, 30th, only four have germinated
Along with a hand written notes Higgledy’s Benjamin enclosed a free packet of Phacelia Tanacetifolia.This plant is completely new to me but I am assured that it attracts bees and hoverflies to the garden so I shall give it a try.
Every garden should have Sweet Peas somewhere, they are lovely to look at, smell amazing, last a long time if they are dead headed and, when you’re ready, will provide seeds for next season.
I have grown Sweet Peas often over the years with mixed success. The best results that I can remember were from seeds bought from Alan Romans, chitted and started off at home then planted around an obelisk at the allotment. This year I have bought seeds from Seekay and from Higgledy so it will be interesting to see which seeds perform best. Both are Mammoth Mixed. The Seekay seeds were delivered quickly but the Higgledy haven’t arrived yet. My plan is to grow some at home in the garden and some at the allotment.
Today, Saturday 14th January 2017, I am swishing ten seeds in a little warm water to soften the outer shell. I shall sow them tomorrow or Monday. Five each to a small pot of compost, It’s a start. Update:- It’s been a rainy grey Sunday but the ten Sweet Pea seeds are in their pots and ten more are soaking. Another ten seeds went into the compost today, Monday 16th January. update 20th January The first pot sown 15th Jan are pushing through today. 5 days to germinate as promised by Seekay seeds. All three pots are through now and the single pot of Beaujolais are pushing through too. 26th Jan.
Growing sweet peas couldn’t be easier. You can sow them into small pots of compost in Autumn and overwinter the young plants in a cold frame or cool greenhouse. Alternatively you can wait until Spring and start planting your sweet peas in pots, or sow directly into the ground.
Before you sow them soak in tepid water to rehydrate them. It helps them get off to a quicker start but it isn’t essential as they will still germinate well in moist compost. If you soak them overnight you will notice that they swell up and turn a lovely chestnut colour. Use a good quality compost and sow several sweet pea seeds to a pot. Sow them about 1cm deep, cover the seed with compost and water them well. If sowing Sweet Pea seed seems like too much effort you could always buy sweet pea plug plants. Place them in a bright position and when the shoots appear keep an eye out for slugs as they love young sweet pea shoots. Information from Sue Sanderson at T&M.