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Seeds and the start of spring

I have read a lot this year about not sowing your seeds too early. I sewed some sweet peas in January/early February but managed to resist with all my new ones that kept popping through the post. Last year I managed to grow cut flowers which bloomed from July right through to October. This year I would love to be able to provide you with flowers from much earlier in the season, ideally from April depending on the Scottish weather!

Now it is getting towards the end of February, the days are getting longer and we have seen a little sunshine. So last week I gave in to temptation and cracked on with planting some hardy annual seeds. Hardy annual seeds can be sown in the colder weather and can survive some frost. These seeds will flower this year but for one season only. Some of the seeds I have started this week are sunflowers, bells of Ireland, bupleurum, cornflowers, calendula, stocks, nigella and phacelia.

It is a bit of a military operation planting lots of seeds at one time as they all like different conditions to grow. Below you can see the heated propagating bed up and running with some of the seeds in it that like bottom heat and light to germinate.  I also have seeds in the bathroom, in the airing cupboard covered in newspaper where it is warm and dark, and even some in the fridge. I think my husband is beginning to wonder where he is going to find the next the ones!


I don’t sow all my seeds at one time but will sew them in succession over the next few months so I will have flowers right through to October. Last year I was really bad at labelling seeds properly and ended up in a bit of a muddle not knowing what was what. So this year I am trying to make sure I label all the plants and write down the dates of when I sowed them.

Here is a picture of the sweet peas I sowed two weeks ago. They are all starting to germinate now and when they have grown a couple of pairs of true leaves I will pinch out the growing tip. This will encourage them to produce side shoots and make bushier plants.

sweet peas

Below is a picture of the branches I brought into force a couple of weeks ago. The blossom is just starting to come out on them now. Another week in the warm and they will make a pretty display of spring blossom in the vase.


Back in late November I planted tulips to cut in the spring. At the time I hoped I had waited until it was cold enough to plant them. Unfortunately the weather was mild and wet before Christmas and I was really worried I had planted them and they would have rotted away in the waterlogged soil. However this week I was really excited to see them all start to pop up out of the soil so it won’t be long until we have some lovely tulips to cut! I am looking forward to watching what else comes up in the garden in the next few weeks as the weather gets warmer.

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