Whilst our esteemed leader is scratching his itch and beginning to sow a few seeds I am still at the pottering stage. The cold of January does not often entice me out into the garden but there are one or two things to be done. Here I should state clearly the level of my gardening skills: pottering amateur. So what I do in my garden is not a recommendation or a ‘how to’ guide. Here’s what I’ve been up to:
I have been buying a few seeds. These are my Sweet Pea choices. Last year was the first summer in a new garden. It was a garden that needed clearing of weeds and then planting up. I put in some roses and some 9cm pots of a few perennials and some plants brought from the old garden but I needed to fill in the spaces. So I grew annuals. My wigwam of Midnight Blue sweet peas were a great success and I’m growing those again. I’ll also grow a mix of Gwendoline, Anniversary and Black Night for a second wigwam. I’ll start them off in root trainers in February. I also have a pot of autumn sown sweet peas in the greenhouse which are doing well and need to be potted on soonish. Eventually these will be planted out amongst some climbing beans on the veg patch.
Of course buying a few seeds is nigh on impossible. Another success from last year was Calendula Indian Prince and I will sow these again but I also discovered, late in the season, the wonderful Tithonia. I saw a great cloud of tall orange flowers at a garden I visited and was smitten. I am trying out Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’. The seed packet says height 1.2-2.5m and a flowering period of 3 months. If I am successful it will be a bargain splash of colour.
Zinnias were my other success of last year. I planted zinnia Lilac Rose and after nurturing them through the early days of slug attacks they put on a dazzlingly long lived display. This packet of seeds is a mix of Benary’s Giant Lime, Benary’s Giant White and Benary’s Oklahoma Ivory. Sorry, I can’t tell you who Benary is. I will need to find the right spot for them as the flower height is 90-100cms, taller than last year’s zinnias which I used for edging. I’ll be finding a space for Lilac Rose as well.
Featured in an earlier six was the wildlife attack on my old sink filled with succulents. I wasn’t sure that I really like them so the fox or squirrel did me a favour. This year I am going to fill that sink with a cascade of nasturtiums. I hope they will enjoy the gritty mix of compost that remained after all that furious digging.
I have also bought my seed potatoes. May the chitting commence. I put out a potato poll on twitter and had a lovely number of great suggestions. I was influenced by the thumbs up for Sarpo Mira as the floury main crop choice and by the loyal support for Arran Pilot, a waxy first early. The other two choices were Ratte, a waxy second early and Belle de Fontenay, a waxy maincrop which caught my eye at the nursery.
And just when you were thinking I hadn’t been out in the garden at all this week I bring you a clematis. And here I stress: pottering amateur. I had a lovely viticella which grew up into a lilac tree in the previous garden and I barely pruned it all, just pulled out the dead bits every now and then. In this garden there is a clematis growing up a fence panel on either side an arch. The top of the arch is dominated by a passiflora so I need the clematis to clothe the side panels. I noticed that the clematis was already putting on new growth so I took the plunge and cut it back. I hope the current drop in temperatures and the bitingly cold winds don’t freeze the new growth to death.