Seeds for the Summer Garden
Patience isn’t my strong point when it comes to sowing seeds. At this time of the year, after my seeds have arrived in the post, I just want to go into the greenhouse and start sowing them. This year, I’m waiting until March. I’ll rephrase that…I’m trying to wait until March…but it’s not easy! They’re whispering to me ‘sow me now…’
In past years, seeds that I’ve sown early in the year haven’t been a great success. My unheated 8 ft x 6 ft greenhouse is too cold, and at this time of the year where I am, there isn’t enough light to help them along. Days are short and light levels are low. I’ve tried indoors too, but natural light, even on the brightest window ledge, doesn’t seem to help.
So I’m waiting. I’m going to be disciplined. I’m trying really hard…but I’m itching to get started!
New seeds for 2020
So here is what I have, possibly an odd assortment of seeds, but this year I really want to have the garden bursting with flowers, (family arriving for a family wedding – I want it to be colourful!), and there are plenty of little pockets throughout the garden that would benefit from a bright splash of summer colour.
Ammi Visnaga and Orlya Grandiflora
Ammi Visnaga and Orlya Grandiflora are two that I sow every year. I usually put some Ammi into the rose bed, because I like the look and, to a certain extent, the roses help support the plants. I love the white delicate appearance of both those plants.
Cosmos ‘Dazzler’ was the star of the garden last year, along with a few Cosmos ‘Purity’. I had fewer ‘Purity’ because they didn’t germinate as well as ‘Dazzler’. I also grew ‘Bright Lights’ but only managed to get two or three plants from the seed that was sown.
There are leftover seeds of Dazzler and Purity from last year and are still well in date, so I’ll grow those again. New this year is Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Double Click Mix’. Their ruffled blooms are very different from those of Dazzler and Purity, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they work out.
Isn’t it strange how your thinking changes over the years. I’ve never liked Calendula, but after getting them as seedlings in a summer collection a few years ago, I’ve found that I absolutely love them. Particularly ‘Indian Prince’. In 2019 I sowed it, along with ‘Snow Princess’ and ‘Sunset Buff’ and they looked great. Some of them grew in among the Cosmos, perhaps an odd combination, but I loved them. There are still seeds in last year’s packets, but I’m sure they’ll have self-seeded in the garden, hopefully in areas where I want them to be. The small plants are easily recognised and most are able to escape the razor hoe as I weed.
I don’t know why I haven’t grown Zinnias in the past. I’ve always thought that they were short little plants, but the two that I have are not, and grow to around 1m tall. Perfect. I have Pale Zinnia Mix and Giant Dahlia Mix from Sarah Raven. If I’m successful in germinating and caring for them, I know that they’re going to look fabulous, and I’ll be more than happy to welcome them into the garden. I’m actually quite excited about them.
Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’ is a Hardy Annual that grew in this garden, perhaps about 4 years ago, and were bought as seedlings, so this will be my first attempt to grow from seed. They’ll go well with Calendula Indian Prince. Like a number of other plants that I often have in the garden, they’re self-seeders, but in reality, they don’t survive the early spring weeding. Most seedlings get pulled out with the weeds.
I’ve accepted that the garden will never be weed-free, much as I would like it to be, and I’m not alone in wishing that! They come up fast and furious when the soil starts to warm up, and even now, after a fairly mild start to the winter, I can see them in all the borders and I’m itching to get outdoors and clear them out.
Other new seeds
Helianthus ‘Vanilla Ice’, Helianthus ‘Sonja’ and Verbena rigida are new for this year along with Polemonium ‘Blue Pearl’ and ‘White Pearl Mix’, Rudbeckia ‘Marmalade’, Rudbeckia Mix, Lupin ‘Tutti Frutti’, and for next spring, Aquilegia ‘Lime Sorbet’.
I’d love to hear what you are sowing for summer, I’m always looking for new ideas and lots of inspiration!
About Six on Saturday
Six on Saturday is like a weekly journal. Take six photographs and post them to Twitter. You can get all the details from The Propagator who kindly set it all up. If you want to join in and see what everyone else is doing in the garden, just follow the link!
All photographs copyright of Catherine Wood unless otherwise stated.