February 2018

February 2018

This February has been bitterly cold so far but today we have had some lovely sunshine and it has prompted us to get organised and ready to do some serious planting quite soon.

We have been digging out all our collection of seeds and also buying lots of new seeds to add new colour to our garden and cutting garden this year.

To add to our collection of Cosmos this year we have bought Cosmos ‘Rubenza’ which is a lovely deep red colour; Cosmos ‘Xanthos’ a beautiful lemon yellow; Cosmos ‘Polidor’ a mix of orange shades which is a favourite of ours; Cosmos ‘Brightness Mixed’ – a mix of yellow and orange cosmos; Cosmos ‘Gazebo Mixed’ – a mix of reds, pinks and white.  It should all look amazing together with the Cosmos that we already have ‘Gazebo Red’; ‘Double Click’; ‘Sea Shells Mixed’; ‘Rosetta’; and ‘Double Dutch White’.  Wow, ten different Cosmos, yes that is a lot but we have a lot of space to fill this year.  As well as our Patio tubs and our cutting garden we will also be planting in the Walled Garden for our son’s wedding in August. We are going to start planting our Cosmos seeds indoors at the end of February and again at the end of March

For our cutting garden and walled garden planting we have also bought three different varieties of sunflowers ‘Evening Sun’ ‘Pacino’ and ‘Vanilla Ice’.  We are also going to be growing Dahlias for the wedding and have bought the tubers ready to plant into pots in mid-March an then plant out in the walled garden after the last frost around mid-May.

We have our two favourite cornflowers ‘Blue Ball’ and ‘Black Ball’ and two favourite Nigella ‘Oxford Blue’ and ‘Persian Jewels’.   We could never be without Gypsophila and Ammi Majus and this year for the first time we will be growing Ammi Visnaga.  A few other first timers for us will be Salvia Viridis ‘Blue Monday’; Malope trifida ‘Vulcan’ and Rudbeckia ‘Goldicocks’.

Last year we grew Eschscholzia, otherwise known as California Poppies and totally fell in love with them.  They flowered for ages and ages and were also a great cutting flower, bright and beautiful by day and curling up into little minarets at night.  So this year as well as ‘Golden West’ we have ‘Superb Mixed’ and a stunning frilly two tone variety called’ Strawberry Fields’.  We also have the two different Calendula that we grew last year ‘Indian Princess’ and ‘Snow Princess’.  We plan to plant our annuals in March, April and May to make sure that we have a continuous supply and to ensure that we have lots of flowers for August!

My husband has been out weeding, edging and composting with mushroom compost all the flower beds, cutting patch and veggie patch in readiness (he is a lot braver than I am when it’s still so cold) and also has a new shed!  He has also been gathering all our seed trays, cell trays and pots of all different sizes and buying in seed compost, so all set to go!

24th February 2018.  We are now into the last weekend of February and traditionally the time when we really start our seed planting. As it is freezing cold outside I have been planting my Cosmos seeds in trays indoors, the same as this time last year.

Cosmos seed planted into cells in seed trays, on a sunny window sill

Cosmos seed planted into cells in seed trays,on a sunny window sill

I have planted nine different varieties of Cosmos into cell trays of seed compost.  The cells have been filled three quarters full, then I put three or four seeds into each cell and covered with a quarter of an inch of fine seed compost and sprayed each one with tepid water.  The cell trays are in trays with incubator lids.  Even though it is very cold and set to get even colder next week, it is predicted to be clear and sunny and so we have put our trays of Cosmos seeds on the window sills around the house.  In the mornings they will be on the east facing side and get the morning sun and in the afternoons we will move them to the west facing side to get the full benefit of the afternoon sunshine.  They need warm temperatures and light to germinate so hopefully this will do the trick.

This is our first planting of Cosmos seeds and we have chosen Double Click; Sea Shells Mixed; Rosetta; Double Dutch White; Gazebo Red; Polidor; Albatross; Gazebo Mixed and Brightness Mixed.  We will do our second planting of Cosmos seeds in six weeks’ time and by doing so hopefully will have Cosmos flowering until September.

Young Sweet Pea seedlings

Young Sweet Pea seedlings

The Sweet Peas that we planted at the beginning of January are doing well and getting quite tall now.  They have been moved to the cold frame to slow their growth down a bit as it is still too cold to plant them out into the ground.  We have a variety of old plastic flower pots from various plants that we have purchased over the years and re-use them year after year.  These little pots are an ideal size for our Sweet Pea seedlings.