A few weeks ago (27 March - gosh, seven weeks of lockdown ago), I blogged about sowing seeds, with all my top tips to help increase your chances of success.
The blog also included my top secret when growing seeds - they won't all germinate. Not for Alan Titchmarsh; not for Monty Don. With growing plants from seed, you do your best and hope and pray, and those that come off you really cherish and celebrate.
So, how have my little charges been doing this year?
Well, so far so good. Those that germinated quickly and grew strongly have already been pricked out and potted on and are now spread in various places, some on the patio:
and some in the cold frame:
The biggie in the foreground is Tithonia, the Mexican Sunflower. Now there's a plant that just wants to grow once it gets going, which is so typical of an annual.
In contrast, perennial plants really like to take their time as they ease their way into the world, getting their 'feet down' first rather than going for broke with lots of top growth.
But, as I say, not every seed germinates or does well. Here in this next photo you can see some Wild Columbine (Aquilegia) I sowed, which some of you may know as Granny's Bonnets. Germination has been patchy. Those that came up quickly I have already pushed up out of their plug hole and put into a bigger pot to grow them on, hence the empty plugs, and there are another couple in this photo that already have their first true leaves which mean they'll soon be ready to do the same. It's one of the reasons why I like growing in plug trays, the other being that I can reuse the trays year after year.
This next plug tray I sowed back in October, and it has taken until now for the Cowslips in it to germinate. As you can tell, they won't be flowering this year! But there are 30 or so Cowslip seedlings here (with a couple of rogue Cut-leaved Crane'sbills that snuck their way in!) that I will be able to pot on into small pots and then plant out into the lawn this autumn. Fingers crossed, this one tray will populate a large area which will be full of Cowslip flowers galore in the next year or two, from just a couple of quid's worth of seeds.
I hope you, too, have had success with growing seeds this spring. There's just about time to get some sown in the next week or so if you're quick. Some of the plants in these photos are still likely to be going ten years from now, and if not them then their offspring, so the bang for your buck is fantastic. And the pleasure you'll get, well, it's priceless.
I find that sunflowers are more reliable in terms of germination than many other types of seeds.
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