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Posts Tagged ‘ordering seeds’

Ever since I wrote about year round scent a few weeks ago, I’ve had it in mind to look our for some Iris unguicularis at this week’s show. ‘Mary Barnard’ is a tallish variety, up to 12inches in height and spread, and comes with a gentle scent too. I’ve planted these at the bottom of a south-facing wall as they like sun and poor, well-drained soil, and right by the back door so as they clump up over the years, I’ll have this cheerful sight and delicate perfume at the beginning of each year.

I saw these Irises along with the sumptuous and uplifting display of  Snowdrops on the Avon bulbs stand.

Helpful as ever and always supplying quality bulbs which return year after year, I also caught sight of the exquisite Crocus tommasianus and have written a note to self to order these in the autumn for a lush pink carpet in our community front garden come next spring.

Ashwood Nurseries always delight and I particularly liked the gorgeous simplicity of this Hellebore ‘Anna’s Red’,

shown en masse on their stand this year. Hellebores, Crocus tommasianus and snowdrops are also great for pollinators who will be on the hunt for food early on in the year so doubly worth planting.

Further back in the hall was Sea Spring Seeds, supplying a tempting selection of veg seeds which have been put through their paces in their own market garden. I picked up some interesting Japanese leaves, such as Red Knight Mizuna, Golden Streak Mustard leaf and Tatsoi Yukina Savoy and also got chatting about their comprehensive selection of Chili seeds. Chili seeds can be sown indoors now and into March and grown on indoors in a greenhouse or sunny windowsill. I also wanted to know if Sea Spring seeds supplied any varieties that could be grown on outdoors. Joy Michaud recommended ‘Super Chile’ as it’s such a fast grower and hopefully it will ripen out-of-doors if given the sunniest of spots. Worth trying as part of our community veg growing project this year for some neighbours who like it hot.

Further travels around the show revealed the creative use of recycled objects and pots on the D’Arcy and Everest alpine stand,

and I did purchase a few Sempervivum to try out some recycling of domestic objects at home too.

And finally, couldn’t resist buying a Rubus lineatus on the Crug Farm Nursery stand for its crinkly yet soft palmate leaves. Rubus is such a great family of plants including the Japanese wineberry, Rubus phoenicolasius, Blackberries, Rubus fruticosus and I did spot a rather intriguing plant,

Rubus ulmifolius bellidiflorus, wild, but with amazing pink pompom flowers, at the Hampton Court Flower Show last summer. Can feel an obsession coming on.

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As Van Morrison said, ‘No guru, no method, no teacher, Just you and I and nature…………….   in the garden’ (‘In the Garden’ from No Guru, No Method) . I love going out every morning before I head off for the day and seeing what’s new, especially at this time of year where new growth appears daily. This Hacquetia epipactis (originally bought from Beeches Nursery near Saffron Waldon in Essex) is a mad little mound of luminescent daisy-like yellowy-green flowers which is happiest in semi shade or full shade. Being a woodland plant it likes a moist spring and a drier summer. It certainly made my day!

Would look great with the pinks and blues of Pulmonaria officinalis (and I’ve just dug up a clump and planted them nearby)

or the strong deep pinks of these Cylamen coums.

My Clematis armandii is stunning with its mass of star-like flowers, although this year I’ll give it a bit of a prune when it’s finished flowering as its exuberant nature has it climbing up trees and spreading far beyond where I originally planned it to grow. Performs best on a sunny wall. Specialist Clematis growers, Thorncroft nurseries have 3 different varieties of Clematis armandii and an enormous range of the most beautiful Clematis for all seasons and aspects. Definitely worth a look.

The snowdrops are over, but the Hellebores are still looking gorgeous,

and I have noticed a clump of Nigella (self-seeded) seedlings which are happily growing despite the recent frost and colder nights. They’re obviously more hardy than I thought. Must dig these up and pot them on sometime soon.

I received a good list of ‘things to do in the 3rd week in January” from Andrew Babicz’s blog today too, including sowing sweet pea seeds and tomato seeds indoors, which I did about a week ago and happily all seeds have germinated  (thanks Nicky’s seeds). Still time to order seeds and to start planting in the garden too! (blog to follow)

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If you haven’t already ordered your bare rooted roses or bare rooted raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, apple trees, espalier fruit trees etc, it’s time to do so now.

Bare rooted plants can normally be ordered from November until the end of March, but don’t leave it too late as the varieties you’ve decided on may well sell out. Why order bare rooted plants? Well;

  • It’s the best time to transplant bare rooted plants while they’re dormant and so that they’re in place and settled in ready to grow in spring.
  • Secondly, there’s a greater choice of  varieties of roses, fruit bushes and trees, bare rooted, than in pots.
  • And thirdly, it’s cheaper.

Fruit trees and bushes have been dormant all winter, but growth is starting soon, so nurseries need to send out plants and trees before they start producing new growth and will often dig plants up from their nursery beds when you order them. As their roots are not in pots, they are easier and much cheaper to transport , but need to be planted in situ or potted up soon after arrival.

I’ve just ordered some autumn fruiting raspberries from Ken Muir and they should be with me late January/early February to plant straight into their growing position.

Also, I’m just getting my seed orders finalised. Have been lovingly leafing through catalogues for the last month and now it’s time to make those calls, send off forms or order online. I still have some mustard leaf seeds and cooler season lettuces, which I shall start growing undercover now, and will start my tomatoes off too in my heated propagator soon, but once the weather has warmed up (and who knows when this will be) I shall want to have my seeds ready so I can get planting annuals and my vegetables straight into the beds.

Must say, my favourite seed catalogue has to be Chiltern’s Seed Cataologue (which is £2.00 to order, but will be sent out free next year if you order from it in during 2011). They now have 2 separate catalogues, one for veg and another for flowers. Not only do Chiltern Seeds have a enormous range of seeds, many of which are lesser known plants and varieties, but the descriptions are very witty and hugely informative-just a great read . Also, I often take this slender volume with me when visiting gardens as it gives me instant information on most new plants that I spot on my travels.

Also, a quick plug for Rebekah’s Vegetable seeds. I bought a few packs of red and green mustard leaves at Hampton Court last summer. All plantings were very successful, very  delicious and carried on to produce leaves throughout autumn. They have even made it through the recent frosts and snow.Go to the website and download a pdf list of ‘old fashioned and unusual vegetables’ at very reasonable prices.

I’m a big lettuce eater and I find Sarah Raven’s Website and catalogues have a very comprehensive list of different lettuce varieties with great photos to help you choose too.

In 2009 and 2010 Garden Which? did their annual round-up of best seed catalogues. They scored not only on seed viability, but also took into account the quality of the growing instructions and the amount of photos to look at. Chilterns didn’t get into the top 6 as they have neither photos nor growing instructions. Dobies came in 1st  last year and 3rd this year (with 91% seed germination in 2009 and 81% this year), but in 2009 Nicky’s Nursery came in 2nd,  with a whopping 94% on seed viability. I haven’t ordered from Nicky’s before but I’m  certainly going to give them a try this year. This year’s No.1 seed brand was the  Organic Gardening Catalogue, and other top scorers were Wilko, Marshalls, Suttons and Mr. Fothergill’s.

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