By Julian Brandram
that the days are lengthening and it's gradually getting warmer,
why not plant some seeds to brighten up your garden? You can get
really cheap, good quality seeds from Netto and Lidl, but they do
sell out pretty quickly.
perennials can be grown from seed. Some climbers are easy, for instance
Clematis tangutica which has pretty, dangling, yellow, bell-shaped
flowers in summer, and Clematis alpina which produces beautiful
blue and white flowers in early spring. Chilean Glory Vine has small,
tubular orange flowers and blooms for months on end.
to try are lupins, which come in a lovely range of colours and grow
into big clumps. Achilea, (known as Yarrow when growing wild) has
flat-topped flowers in pink, yellow and white. Insects visit them
for nectar and they attract hoverflies, the larvae of which eat
greenflies, so they are useful as well as attractive. Coreopsis
is a cheerful yellow daisy with red markings in the centre, they
grow fast and should flower in the same year.
is Anthemis tinctoria, this is white with a yellow centre. Verbena
bonariensis is a must! It has tall mauve flowers held on stems about
four feet tall and it flowers for ages! Some seed catalogues have
a little symbol which shows which perennials will flower in the
first year so watch out for these.
as Welsh and Iceland poppies can make a vivid splash of colour.
If you like dazzling colours, Mesembrianthemums and Portulacas are
South African plants that will add a dash of excitement but they
must have a lot of sun. Candytuft is a jolly little plant about
nine inches high in soft pastel shades, it does not flower for long
but will self seed and pop up again next year. Marigolds are really
easy, and children love growing sunflowers.
Good annual climbers are Nasturtiums and Canary Creeper, which has
small yellow flowers.
specialist seed supplier is Chiltern Seeds – Bortree Stile,
Ulverston, Cumbria. Don’t forget to study the description
of the plants before you start – how tall will it grow? Does
it need shade or sun? Most seeds are best started off in trays of peat-free
compost on a warm window ledge. Plant them out before they get too
big and gradually acclimatise them by putting them outside during
the day, and bringing them in at night.
forget to guard against slugs eating them. Have fun!