Sow it Begins

I had big plans at the weekend, but they didn’t exactly come to pass, so I’ll just make a note of what I have been up to… sowing seeds indoors in the hope that I can get them in the border for summer. Yes, that border again.

I’ve got two Apple Blossom clematis (Clematis armandii) coming this week, along with a Jasmine ‘Star of Toscana’ (Trachelospermum jasminoides). I won’t be able to plant them in until I’ve cleared three spots for them along the fence and nailed the trellises in, but it’s a start. I chose them for the colour and because they’re evergreen. I was fond of the Clematis Montana we had back down south but in the winter they turn into a woody mess… then in the summer I had to prune them at least once a week as they kept making a beeline for the house. Bloody triffids. Also impossible to kill. Mum tried, they came back.

Clematis Montana
Trained over gate we didn’t use
Clematis Montana Side View
Aiming for the house. With added whippets..

So, back to the seeds. I made up a tray of crane’s-bill (hardy geranium) a while back, not sure how long… but so far I only have one lonely seedling poking through and I’m not even sure it’s a geranium. There are no true leaves yet. Where the rest of them are I have no idea. I had the same problem last year, not a single one germinated but I made sure I gave them the right temp and growing conditions. If they are a no-show that’ll be me not buying that particular brand again.

So far I have sown Mountain Sandwort, African Marigolds, Lobelia, Phlox, Rudbeckia and Sword Fern. Yes, that’s the reason for the rash of seed packet posts before the weekend. I didn’t add the sword fern, as I got the spores online and there was no packet info. I have a link which I will post if they ‘germinate’ successfully. There were approx 1000 spores in the packet and it’ll be interesting to see if I buggered those up. Never tried spores before. I want some ferns for under the holly tree to pad it out a bit.

I used John Innes #1 with a hefty dose of perlite, I’d like to say I measure it out … but I don’t, I just make sure there’s enough in there to aid drainage. I like to mix the bucket before I put it in. Although I use a standard trowel to get the compost out of the bag I find my little bonsai tools really handy for mixing the compost and perlite together before I add it to the trays. You can get these on Amazon for about £5. Not substantial, but they’ve lasted well so far.

Bonsai tools. Two trowels and a rake
Itty bitty tools
Six seed packets, various plants
February seeds

So that’s the first batch done.

Seeds and spores sown on Friday 17th Feb.

Holly Tree And Bird Feeders
Gratuitous holly tree image

Until I can get the wildflower / wildlife pond set up down the end of the garden, I’ve opted to feed the birds under the tree over winter. I did clean the poop out of the bird bath shortly after this was taken…

The jackdaws seem happy. It’s mostly just sparrows and dunnocks thus far, with a pair of blackbirds and the odd robin. I’m hoping we’ll get as much as we did down south but the birds need to see it all first. We used to get nuthatches, a pair of greater spotted woodpeckers, green finches, gold finches and the largest rat I’ve ever seen. That last one I don’t need to see again.

The tree was all gravel at the bottom when we moved in, but we dug it out and replaced it with compost and soil and that’s another project for spring. Get it stuffed with shade loving plants.

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