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I was thrilled to receive a free gift from my  Gardener’s World Magazine; a packet of Cosmos Purity seeds. I was reminded that tucked away in my new seed tin (a Christmas present from my lovely sister) in the garage,  were the seeds I had collected last year. I must admit, I wasn’t as diligent as I have been in previous years in carefully drying  and separating seeds from flower heads then labelling and dating. It was more a case of stuffing the complete flowers into envelopes, hurriedly scribbling some identification on the front with every intention of sorting them out later and not getting round to it. Part of me was thinking, ‘why am I bothering with all this fuss? Surely, if left to their own devices, the seeds will be dispersed and germinate without any help from me and probably more successfully’. However, the ‘control freak’ in me decided that this important task could not be left to chance.

Anyway, it gave me an excuse to go out into the garden on a cold, damp and miserable day, fill some seed trays with compost and open my treasure chest. It was then that I wished I’d taken the time to separate the seeds. I knew at the time of gathering, but didn’t seem to be able to stop myself from collecting dozens of seed heads, each in themselves containing dozens of seeds.  The problem is, I just can’t bring myself to throw them away and I end up with far too many plants which I end up giving or throwing away.

I started with the Cosmos Purity as they came conveniently packaged. Next, I opened my own collected Cosmos mixture which I had grown from seed last year with seeds collected from the previous year. Once the seeds are ripe, they are so easy to identify as they are contained in little ‘pockets’ and are hard and slightly crescent shaped.

centaurea_cyanus_snowmanHaving sewn as many Cosmos seeds as I dared, my attention turned to an envelope marked Centaurea Snowman. A lovely upright, airy cornflower with fluffy white flowers, I grew these for the first time last year. Again, I was greeted by a jumble of brown seed heads to sort through. These were a little more tricky as, although the seeds have a little beard, they are hidden amongst lots of other fluffy stuff.

The final envelope was Coreopsis. Either I collected these at the wrong time, or the seeds are so small they are impossible to pick out from the rest of the debris. I had no option but to sew the debris as well!

Still hundreds of seeds left if anyone wants some?

All are now safely tucked up under a layer of bubble wrap in the conservatory – time will tell.


We wet our plants!


My lovely neice brought a smile to my face when she posted this on Facebook.

We have had some glorious sunshine for the past couple of weeks, but we should know it won’t last. The forecast for this week is very much cooler during the day, frosty nights and the threat of rain, or even snow, mid-week. We are desperately in need of some rain.

The garden is at that magical Spring stage where something new comes up every day.

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I spent some time removing all the ugly ‘Honesty’ planted last year. The seeds were free with a magazine but the leaves are so big and unattractive, they had to go. I finally got around to digging up the pink phlox which was badly in need of splitting. It has now been redistributed to the new border and shared with Raewyn. The Gaura seeds didn’t take long to germinate and have now been potted on.  The Night Phlox looks a bit delicate but is beginning to stand up a bit more while the cosmos are now producing proper leaves. I sowed the white sunflower seeds collected last year as well as the nicotiana so am now waiting with baited breath. I received a free packet of centarea ‘snowman’ which also germinated really quickly. The Orlaya Grandiflora is yet to make an appearance. My previous sowing of verbena bonariensis came to nothing as I think I covered them too thickly with vermiculite. The additional seeds I scattered over the top seem to have made the required response.   The free tomato seeds received with Gardeners’ World magazine have been sown and I am intending to grow them in hanging baskets. The chilli seeds kindly donated by James and Rin have been planted in a hanging pot. I’m not sure whether they will germinate but thought it worth a try.  The echinacea seeds haven’t germinated, I think I planted too deeply. The trollius has been retired to the fridge for a couple of weeks. I couldn’t resist ordering Cerinthe Major Purpurascens and some Schizotylis, Pink Princess and Fenland Daybreak which are due to arrive at the end of April.

The carrots have been sown in their usual bag and purple mange tout in Quadgrow. The donated onions are doing well and the beautiful white blossom suddenly appeared on the damson tree. The two apple trees are about to burst into blossom also, I just hope the forecast frost doesn’t kill it.

Finally, I dug up three heucheras to split and redistribute.

A busy couple of weeks but I suspect activity will be curtailed with the deterioration in the weather. However, having turned the conservatory into a small nursery, I will have plenty to keep my eye on.