My Garden This Weekend – 10th March 2013


Any one would think we are heading towards Winter with the amount of time its possible to garden decreasing and decreasing rather than heading towards Spring.  Having been excited by a couple of warm days and thoughts of starting to harden off the perennial seedlings which were overwintering in the cold frame we are now back to bitterly cold and any hope of gardening dismissed.  The daffodils though are continuing regardless and have  started to flower which is a welcome sight.

I did spend a couple of hours in the greenhouse on Saturday re-jigging plants and moving things around so I can start seed sowing.  The cyclamen have been squirreled away under the staging and the pelargoniums have been brought up to the top of the staging so they get better light.  They have been watered and tidied up and next weekend I will give them a good feed to really start them off.

In my tidying up I discovered signs of a peony starting the germinate.  The label tells me that I sowed the seeds nearly a year  ago.  I know that peonies take a while to germinate and I read somewhere that they put their roots down well before showing any sign above ground so I tucked the pot away over winter and ignored it.  I don’t know which peony it is as it was in a packet of mixed peony seeds from either the RHS or the Hardy Plant Society seed distribution schemes.  The trillium seeds I  thought had germinated the other week are now looking to be very much like the real thing and I think, or I hope, that what has appeared in the meconopsis poppy seed tray are indeed meconopsis poppies and not some random weed seed that has blown in.

Having had a rejig and moved some plants into the garage until temperatures rise I found I did indeed have room to start seed sowing.  So for those of you interested in such things this is what I sowed this week:

Allium karataviense ‘Ivory Queen’
Cosmos ‘Purity’
Didiscus ‘Blue Lace’
Digitalis trojana
Gentiana sino-ornata
Geranium yeoi
Geranium yoshinoi
Linaria ‘Canon West’
Nemesia Masquerade
Nomocharis aperta
Primula x chunglenta
Saxifraga grisebachii (Macedonia)


I also pricked out the Ricinus seedlings.  These germinated within days when I sowed them in a propagator back in January but I hadn’t got as far as pricking them out and consequently lost 3 of the 6 – a lesson to learn.  But the biggest lesson I learnt was not taking into account the size of the seed when choosing a pot to sow them in.  Next time I will sow them in individual pots as I would beans or peas.  Finally  before I completely lost feeling in my fingers I potted up some Francoa which I grew from seed last year and which will be a good size to plant out in a month or so.

Sunday proved to be even colder and my fingers were frozen within 10 minutes when I went out to take some photographs so I retreated indoors so dream and wish for sunshine and warmer days.



24 Comments Add yours

  1. Your seed sowing and germinating operation is very ambitious. I am not familiar with most of these flowers, I’m eager to see how they look in bloom.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Ambitious or mad maybe!! Most of them are alpines which is a new area for me but fascinating to discover a whole new range of plants

  2. hillwards says:

    Hasn’t it been a miserable weekend (again!)?.And after some promising teases of warm sunshine earlier in the week when we were hard at work, sigh.
    I must confess it has given me the opportunity to work on some indoor projects without feeling guilty, but it would have been lovely to get outside for more than a few minutes!
    You’ve still managed to be busy though. I’ve only sown a small number of early seeds so far; I have some Didiscus to sow too, they look so pretty. The Linaria ‘Canon Went’ was one of my favourites here last summer, very long-flowering and such delicate colourwash.
    Let’s hope that we have a warm, dry, weekend of spring sunshine soon!

  3. The pots in the greenhouse all looks so hopeful and happy Helen! Make me want to get sowing too. I am so behind this year. I had to work indoors today and we had scattered showers, then sun. I was itching to get outside. Thanks for the ray of spring sunshine your post brought!

  4. Roger brook says:

    You seem a bit like me, sowing things that are lovely surprises, I am afraid in my case my labels are rather tatty and I forget what I have sown. I do know Canon Went however, with its lovely pink flowers. When you get it going in the garden you will find it self seeds to make lovely naturalised plants

  5. Yvonne Ryan says:

    What a mad lot gardeners are! Struggling with or against the weather. Here north of Auckland at Omaha beach it sure is a lesson in what will survive a hot sandy element!! The ones who have built up gardens and put lots of soil etc in seem to be doing best – especially if sensible and planted with NZ coastal plants! The techomanthe vine (rare NZ big glossy leaves – found on a remote northern island – bonus bell like cream flowers) looks as if is going to survive with all the shower water put on it. My youngest daughter in the Auckland -Titirangi rain forest area (still dry – but not as) has a couple of new ones and they are zooming ahear – better soil – clay and in shelter and shade. I have had one swim today in the estuary – lovely – tide going out so had to watch where I went. I am going to attack the surf soon – but will be sensible – yesterday a strong sideways undertow. Am getting fitter and less tired. The sea so healing for me!

  6. Spring is such an amazing time. Each year I have come to appreciate it more. It is so full of such anticipation and then wonder as each new plant pokes up through the ground or breaks bud and puts out leaves. I can fully understand your sense of frustration. All I can say is it will come.

  7. Pauline says:

    You have certainly been busy, such a lot of plants ready to be potted on! My Canon Went turned up all by itself as did the purple Linaria and my Meconopsis Lingholm seeds are now up and almost ready for me to prick them out into plug trays. All we need now is some warmer weather, it even snowed last night!

  8. Cathy says:

    This ‘Canon Went’ is clearly popular Helen – I will have to look out for it. Well done for getting to grips with all that sowing. I am just deciding whether I want to freeze my fingers and go and do some of mine in the greenhouse as well!

  9. Do you know of a Lunaria with black leaves, Helen? I may have misread the labels on the snowdrop display at the RHS plant show in Feb but it looked like the plant in question was labelled as a lunaria. Stupidly, I photographed the label with a leaf over the name of the cultivar – duh!
    I wish you luck with your Ricinus seedlings – it’s a spectacular plant and grows so quickly – one of my favourites in the college gardens where I study. (I must remember to collect some seed this autumn!)

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Caro
      Yes have a look at this post on John Grimshaw’s blog. I am pretty certain that he is referring to the sme Lunaria – scroll down, there is a picture towards the bottom

  10. happyoldbag says:

    How lovely to see your pots! What a cheerful sight – alas my greenhouse is still empty but the conservatory windowsills are full of seed trays – no signs of life yet but I’m hopeful!

  11. Plenty going on there and all your seeding and other plants look so healthy. Those benches are so neat and tidy. You must be very disciplined!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Angie
      disciplined or bored waiting for the weather to warm up

  12. Dreadful, isn’t it, this sudden return to winter. Lovely list of things you have sown though.

  13. Anna says:

    Enjoying reading all about other people’s seed sowing activities Helen 🙂 You have been busy. ‘Canon Went’ is most pretty and does not seed about as much as its purple relative. Have been home for a brief pit stop – long enough to sow some tomatoes and some nicotiana. Traveled in an easterly direction again yesterday where I had the dubious pleasure of a 50 minute wait in an unheated waiting room at Nuneaton. I’m still thawing out.

  14. Hannah says:

    The fine weather lulled me into a false sense of security and I foolishly planted out my carrot seedlings. I’m glad none of your perennial seedlings were subjected to the sudden cold snap!

  15. Nell Jean says:

    I love seeds and seedlings, too. And cuttings and divisions. Surprises are the best of all.

  16. Marc says:

    We recently moved. It is a surprise every day to find out what the previous owners left in the ground for us. I can’t wait to build and start my own greenhouse. This very inspiring. Thanks.

  17. kininvie says:

    Interested to know if p.x chunglenta germinates, and epecially if it comes true (which I doubt) Candelabra primulas are extraordinarily promiscuous – but always worth growing on to flowering in case you have some wonderful new colour that has never been seen before – though usually you just get a muddy pink or a vapid sort of orange.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Oh dear kininvie that is a depressing comment – I have a fascination with Primulas generally and love seeing what comes out so I doubt I will be that disappointed.

  18. Dya says:

    Hows your didiscus? I’ve tried sowing them, but nothing pop up at all. it had been 2 weeks already.

  19. lynnepearce says:

    I’m just about to sew Linaria having never grown it before. My slight worry was that it might not flower this year, so should I wait until August or September? But nothing ventured and all that…

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Lynne
      I dont do too well with autumn sown plants, they tend to suffer from neglect over the winter so am sowing now and crossing fingers

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