Seedlings and snowdrops romping ahead

It may be snowing today, but the previous mild weather has made the garden romp ahead. The show of snowdrops is weeks ahead of last year. Although I don’t know much about the varieties I grow – a mix of singles and doubles, tall ones and short ones – they thrive here and each year I have many more of them.  Last year I divided the clumps and redistributed them and it has really paid off.  It is looking so pretty, I must indulge in a snowdrop montage:

Or maybe two snowdrop montages!

snowdrop montageAll these shots were taken today (18th Feb) – the alternating heavy snow and brilliant sun was more mad March than February!

Until today – isn’t always winter at the weekend? – it has been beautiful gardening weather. Shame I’ve been deskbound and not able to partake.

I’ve gone seed sowing crazy!

The one indoor job that is easy to fit round the day job is seed sowing.  Lulled by the mild weather, every window sill is already a propagation production line. Space is going to be tight be late April!

The usual over-ordering of seed is complete.  For the first time I have bought a lot of my seed from Nickys Nursery.  I haven;t used them before, but I was particularly keen to grow Stevia and they were on of the few suppliers.  As it turned out they have a really interesting range of stuff and I bought a lot of herbs and pretty things.  The seed and instructions are nice and clear and I’ve been impressed so far.

I’m probably unlikely to succeed with Stevia – even Basil finds my windowsills too chilly – but a sugar substitute herb with no calories….  You have to try, right?  I shall indulge it with heat like a rare orchid!

I have refined quite an efficient little system of seed germination. The hot progator gets things started.  Then they move to the cool propagator, which helps them onwards gently so they don’t die of shock in my freezing house.  Then they move onto the windowsills.

I find that on the hot propagator, plastic bags (especially sandwich bags) – rather than the tray lids that came with the propagator – are ideal for keeping the humidity and temperature right.  The seed tray lids seem to result in the germinated seeds cooking to a crisp, whereas there is rarely a loss with in the sandwich bags!

No doubt I have over ordered the seed and have probably started sowing too early (the first batches started last week in January) but it makes me happy!  And right now the all seedlings are looking pretty happy too.   Growing nicely so far:

  • Sweet peas (loads of varieties, especially scented ones)
  • Chillies
  • Diasca
  • Training pansy
  • Stevia
  • Geranium
  • Salvia
  • Basil  (goodness knows why, it never thrives & I end up buying plants from the supermarket)
  • Perennial cornflowers

And as soon as one lot move off the hot propagator, that makes space for something else!  My challenge is never at the seedling stage, it is in the finding space where they get enough light during the hardening off process.  Any tips?

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Perils of a Garden View

The reason I am a wistful gardener, as opposed to an exhausted or thoroughly satisfied gardener, is that however much I love gardening, it is a hobby not my livelihood.  My efforts are largely confined to the weekends, summer evenings and the odd half an hour grabbed during the working week.

Instead I spend my home-office-bound days gazing wistfully out at my garden, noting the never-ending lists of tasks I could be completing and observing how the plants first knit together, then soon start jostling for precious space.

Gradually the plants encroach indoors too.  Right now window sills brim with geranium, begonia and fuchsia cuttings that have survived the window and tiny seedlings, fresh from the window sill propagators are starting to harden off indoors.

Bursting window sills

Seedlings, cuttings and seed potatoes fight it out

Though with late snow falling as I write, it seems forever before they will be outdoors.

So this wistful gardener spends rather more time observing and longing to be gardening, than she would like.  But maybe I’m a better gardener because of it.  The first few years of building my garden (started 8 years ago) involved a rush to plant in random things in random places with too little thought.  Many of those plants have since been moved or have grown into bigger handfuls than I imagined.  Plus not taking the time to fix the structure first was a big mistake.

But as a wistful gardener, I get to plot and plan and of course think about all kinds of things I could buy or grow from seed.  These days I have a more accurate sense of the final look in my head before I plant things.

This blog aims to be part diary, part planning tool and part advice exchange as I share how my garden evolves over the coming year.