March 2018

March 2018

The first few days of March have been the coldest first days of March on record and as the ‘Beast from the East’ swept across the country from east to west blowing in sub-zero temperatures it met up with ‘Storm Emma’ moving northwards from Europe and covered the whole of the South West of England in a blanket of snow.

Our cutting garden and veggie patch covered in snow on the 1st day of March 2018

Our cutting garden and veggie patch covered in snow on the 1st day of March 2018

We covered our most tender plants such as Rudbeckia which were just emerging from their winter sleep with fleece and also covered our cold frame full of plants carefully nursed through the winter months with fleece and hoped for the best.  Thankfully all survived, the cold snap was short lived here in the south west and the temperature is rising once again and the snow is thawing, the sun is shining as I write.

The Cosmos seeds planted just over a week ago have been nice and cosy on the window sills by day and under the radiators at night and are germinating already.  All but two of the orange varieties ‘Polidor’ and ‘Brightness Mixed’ have come through.

The Cosmos seed are germinating after just over a week.

The Cosmos seed are germinating after just over a week.

The Sweet Pea seedlings are all really healthy and strong and will need to be planted out in the next few weeks when hopefully it will be a bit warmer than it is now.

The Sweet Pea seedling are really healthy and strong

The Sweet Pea seedling are really healthy and strong

Sunday 18th March.  As I sit and write my blog it is snowing once again down here in the South West of England!  All our Cosmos have germinated and are now just starting to produce their second leaf, still residing happily on our windowsills around the house.  On Thursday I planted another tray of seeds, this time two different varieties of Rudbeckia ‘Goldilocks’ and ‘Gloriosa Daisies’ and three different varieties of California Poppy (Eschscholzia Californica) ‘Superb Mix’; ‘Golden West’ and Strawberry Fields’.  You should be able to sow the California Poppy seeds directly into the ground in March but it has been so cold and now once again the ground is covered in several inches of snow so I have decided to start them off in cell trays indoors.  The next batch in April will hopefully be sown directly into the ground.  Spring has to be just around the corner now!  Think positive!

Friday 23rd March.  All the Rudbeckia and California poppy seeds have germinated already!  We have also planted the first Sweet Pea seeds for the August wedding.  We have planted five varieties, Cream Old Times; Swan Lake; Mammoth Blue; Lilac Ripple and Kingfisher.

31st March.  It has been a busy week for us, the Dahlias have been planted into pots and we have planted a lot of our annuals into cell trays as the weather is still very cold (it was snowing yesterday!) and after the heavy rain the ground is still too wet and cold. We have planted Ammi Majus; Ammi Visnage; Nigella Persian Jewels; Nigella Oxford Blue; Cornflower Black Ball; Cornflower Blue Ball; Salvia Blue Monday and Malope Vulcan.  We have also planted Sunflowers Evening Sun and Garden Statement into fibre pots; Calendula White Princess and Daisy Mixed and Nasturtiums Prince Charming into 3” pots.  Finally we have also planted another batch of Sweet Peas, this time Old Fashioned Mixed; Incense Mixed; Summer Sizzler; Skylark Mixed and Tall Mixed. Wow!! Every available inch of space on every window still in our house and on our porch is now full of seed trays and both cold frames are also full.

Hopefully in the next two weeks we will be able to get some of the plants in the cold frames out into the garden as next week the Cosmos are going to need potting on and will need to stay protected from frost until they go out at around mid-May.