Six on Saturday 2020-15-02

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.

New seeds for 2020
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.

Ammi visnaga

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.

Cosmos ‘Dazzler’ growing at the foot of the patio
Cosmos ‘Dazzler’ was dotted around the garden in 2019

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.

Calendula ‘Indian Prince’

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.

Pale Zinnia Mix & Zinnia ‘Giant Dahlia Mix’

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.

Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’

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.




23 thoughts on “Six on Saturday 2020-15-02

  1. I love the trouble you’ve gone to with the pictures of seed packets. I rarely think to do things like that and it’s so worth the little extra time it takes. The garden pictures provided a much needed mood lift too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jim.

      Little still life photos are something that I enjoy doing. Yesterday was on my calendar as a full gardening day, but the weather put paid to that. However, I then had some free time to enjoy a few hours with the camera instead. It turned out to be a win-win situation for me. 😊


  2. Oh, Catherine, I can’t do seeds……..I have tried and tried…….I have started them indoors ( in my screened porch) I have started them outside (never came up) I THINK IT IS OUR WEATHER! I have to blame it on something don’t I? I can’t just say I am not a very good gardener…….. When I planted outside, I think I waited until it was too hot…….Our weather is not much of any season but HOT and HOTTER ! I like all the wispy plants that fill everything in! But, they have to like HOT weather!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had many failures with seeds too – and I’m trying to learn, though still with lots of failures. I keep hoping to get it right one day!

      We must be complete opposites re the weather. Everything in my garden has to be able to cope with cold, rain and wind! Though, having said that, our last two summers have been pretty good in our little corner of the globe – and I’m hoping for more of the same this year! I wonder if that is too much to ask for. 🤔


        1. Happy to let you know that I’ve been in South Carolina! It was a good number of years ago, but the one thing I remember more than anything was going to Magnolia Plantation. It was wonderful!

          We spent a couple of days in Charleston before travelling on to Savannah where we had friends. We also enjoyed our stay in Savannah – but they have moved back to CT now, so we probably won’t be back that way again.

          I have a daughter in DC, along with SiL and two grandsons. We’ve been visiting almost every year for the past 20 or so years and know the district well. 😊


  3. So wonderful to see a promise of high summer. You’ve chosen some wonderful flower seeds there. You are very wise to hold on til March. It’s the right call and they soon catch up. Can’t wait to see all your flowers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind comments.
      I remember being quite chuffed that Monty Don featuring Ammi visnaga last year and I already had it in the garden. It’s lovely and I can recommend it! (I hope that evens us up as I’ve copied your Lupin ‘Lilac Javelin’) 😁


  4. The seeds you have chosen look very interesting. The pictures of the Cosmos in your garden look fabulous. I’ve bought Cerinthe this year, which is a new one for me. I tried Indian Prince last year, and they were very disappointing (poor quality seed perhaps), but the Snow Princess did great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. 😊 I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed with Cerinthe – its leaves are very attractive, and the little hanging bells of flowers are delicate and beautiful.

      I see Sarah Raven in now selling it as part of a collection, along with Ammi visnaga and Euphorbia oblongata. It looks stunning and I’d like to think I could have some vases filled like the one that illustrates her product!


  5. Oh focusing on spring and summer beyond it has helped me to get through this weekend too 😄 I must have had a premonition as I sowed orlaya, ammi visnaga, larkspur, nigella and calendula before going on holiday in September. I had a fall on holiday and have spent a total of seven weeks since then with my dominant hand in a plaster cast. My hand is still giving me grief so I’m glad that I have already made a start. I have grown the Sarah Raven ‘Pale Zinnia Mix’ for a couple of years and have been delighted with the flowers. If you are partial to rudbeckias ‘Sahara’ is a winner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh how painful! I hope you’re getting help for the ongoing pain in your hand, you need to get it fairly pain-free before the real gardening season kicks in.

      It looks as though we might have similar taste in summer flowers! 😁 Glad to hear your comment about the Pale Zinnia Mix, it does look gorgeous on the seed packet – but often my own efforts at recreating a ‘look’ are rather dismal! I think I grew Sahara last year if so there’s probably some seeds left in the packet – I’ll have to check that one.

      Meantime, I hope you get some relief from your injury!


    1. Mostly well – germination was good with most of the seeds though I didn’t get any Chinese Forget-me-nots to germinate at all. Most are now in the garden and starting to flower now, but I suspect that current weather isn’t going to help the Zinnias grow well, and I think they just might end up being marked as a failure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just bought another packet of Chinese Forget Me Nots. I am going to put them in ice cube trays with water first, let them freeze, and see if that might help crack the seed coat.

        Liked by 1 person

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