And we're off! The 2022 Seed Sowing & Growing Marathon has begun here. Greenhouse shelves are full of Sweet Peas, other Hardy Annuals are popping up in the propagator & on the heatmat. Undercover space is at a premium already.
I'm sowing Hardy Annuals (such as Cornflowers, Nigella, Phlox, Ammi, Delphinium, Molucella, Rudbeckia) this week.These are tough enough to be put outside when a little bigger, before the last frost. I'll sow another batch of the same next month to keep the flowers coming all Summer. It's so tempting to tip the whole seed packet on compost at once but taking this disciplined approach means flowers keep coming longer.
It's often said you know when to sow direct into the ground when weed seeds start popping up. Well, the weeds are doing up in numbers now so I'llit's time to start a few toughies in an outside bed too. Poppies dislike being moved so this is the easiest way to grow them. Lots for the bees & pretty seed pods for me!
Hold steady on sowing the less Hardy seeds (such as Cosmos & Sunflowers) until the end of the month though. Our last frost here is usually the end of May so I protect many of the baby seedlings until then. It takes a lot of space but otherwise, one late frost could kill the lot.
I'm often asked; 'Seed left over from last year - can I still use it?' Of course you can! How successful it is depends on the type & how well it has been stored. If stored somewhere cool, dark, dry (like a plastic box in the garage) it's got a good chance. In an opened packet on the kitchen windowsill, above the hot radiator - maybe not.
But seed is expensive, so what's the worst that'll happen? Maybe the number of seeds germinating is a bit lower, maybe you'll waste a bit of compost. Give it a try now & if nothing has popped up in 4 weeks, there's still time for a fresh packet of seed. Tomato & Lettuce seed lasts years, Parsnips are legendary for being weak - you need fresh seed every season or nothing grows. I've sown seed from opened packets already & have Sweet Peas, Calendula, Nigella from them. Experiment!
Defence against Mice has been stepped up. After losing so many Anemone & Ranunculus corms, the next batch planted are defended with great care. Sweet Peas are on the high shelves, Seed trays on the heat mat are covered in wire mesh or plastic propogator lids. Seeds liking darkness to germinate are wrapped in old compost bags or covered by upturned greenhouse trays. Two feral cats on the payroll & I would like to know what they're doing... Enjoying a daily plate of Tesco's best cat food & sitting in the sun mostly, I think. Somewhere I got their training wrong...
I'm hoping for a run of dry days so I can divide many of the perennial plants. It's a big job, overdue because last Spring I couldn't do it because of my broken arm. It'll delay flowering this year but rejuvenate plants for the next few years. More plants too!
I've been quiet on social media in recent weeks. In part when world news is so overwhelming, my wittering about seed sowing & flowers seems frivolous. I wonder whether to grow Sweet Peas or Beans? No right answer, of course. So believing beauty makes the world a better place, I just keep on keeping on.
But also because we've been busy, trying to get ahead & those February Storms slowed us down. Storm Franklin was by far the worst as we lost power for some time. Lightning struck the telephone exchange, knocking out the phone lines to many locally. Each morning after a storm, I walked down the garden with dread expecting to see the tunnels shredded & our greenhouse glass blown out. No major damage, thank goodness - we were lucky.
Mothers Day is later this month & we'll be delivering flowers on Friday 25th March only - over half the slots are booked already. On Sunday 27th, Mothers Day, we'll be at Kirkcudbright Farmers Market with plenty of small Posies. Bouquets can be pre-ordered for collection.
Again looking ahead - the 'Cut Flowers From Your Garden' workshop on Sunday April 3rd has just 2 places remaining. BOOK HERE
And a date for your diary - the 'Flower Farmers Big Weekend' is on Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th August. We plan to open for Garden Tours again & details will follow nearer the time.
Spring is springing even if the cold wind doesn't feel like it. The birds are pairing up & there is Toad spawn in the pond. Our first weddings of the year have been delivered (picture above was of a Flower Crown made for our Bride yesterday). The Flower year is now underway & the first of our flowers are going out in bouquets again.
I hope the fresh shoots of new growth are appearing in your garden too - it's an exciting time of year as it changes fast!
Until next time,
Jobs for the Cutting Garden in March;
Rosie Gray of Galloway Flowers. Artisan Florist & Cut Flower Farmer near Castle Douglas, in South West Scotland. Using 100% Flowers & Foliage grown in British Isles, all year round.