Sowing Biennials

Hesperis-MatronalisWhat are Biennials?

Biennials are hardy plants which grow roots and foliage this year then flower next year. Sown in summer they have around eight months to produce super strong healthy plants which are capable of producing lots of lovely strong flower stems from late spring onwards.

Why grow Biennials? Biennials are brilliant for early flowers next year. They usually start blooming in May and finish in July although there are exceptions. A patch of Hesperis (Sweet Rocket) in our garden has been flowering since April and is still producing lovely pale purple blooms in August. If you like to grow flowers for your home or you have a special event in late spring or maybe you are planning to sell cut flowers next year…  you’ll find biennials very reliable and super productive. They are inexpensive to grow from seed, healthy and vigorous and more to the point don’t need much attention from the gardener.
What’s not to love?

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Looking Good 1st July

I saw a stunning planting combination today that I wanted to share with you. I wish I could say that this was in my garden. But it’s not… it’s in a neighbourhood garden. Who would have thought that bright pink and yellow could look so good together? The pink flowers with silver foliage are Lychnis coronaria and the yellow spires are Verbascum nigrum. Both are very easy to grow from plants bought from your local nursery or garden centre or they can be grown from seeds. Sowing seeds is the best option if you want a lot of plants to create an amazing display like this.

Verbascum&Lychnis-Collage

I love the pinky purple haired stamens at the centre of each tiny Verbascum flower which picks up the vivid pink of the Lychnis petals.

Verbascum-IG

Unlike most other Verbascums this one doesn’t have silver felted leaves but softly hairy green leaves.

Verbascum&Lychnis

Bees and Hoverflies love this Verbascum as it is rich in nectar and pollen… and so does the Mullein Moth. If you grow a patch of these it’s likely you’ll attract flocks of Goldfinches to feed on the seeds in autumn. It makes sense to grow plenty! Strictly speaking Verbascum nigrim is a short lived perennial but they are often treated as biennials with a fresh batch sown each summer for flowering next year.

Now is the time to sow biennial seeds.
There are several advantages to growing your own biennials:

  • The amount of flowers they produce is amazing and they are great for cut flowers.
  • Early flowering from April onwards
  • Extremely easy to grow and great for massed planting schemes
  • Inexpensive.You can sow several packet of seeds for the price of just one plant in spring.

    It’s worth planning ahead especially if you are starting a cutting patch or simply improving your spring garden. Early flowering plants such as Honesty, Wallflowers, Foxgloves, Forget-me-Not, Sweet Rocket and Sweet William can be sown this summer as well as Verbascum nigrum. If you have space for a seed bed outdoors they can be sown there and left to grow on until autumn. Alternatively they can be raised in modules then moved to small pots ready for planting out when your summer display is over.

Love GillianSo that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend. Sowing biennial seeds Woo Hoo! It’s good to have a plan!

You are most welcome to join in with Looking Good this week.

Do you have gardening plans for this weekend? Hope it’s dry for you! Gillian 🙂

 

How to Grow Sweet Peas

Pastel-Sweet-PeasThere are some plants I wouldn’t like to be without in my garden. Lathyrus odoratus commonly known as Sweet Peas are right at the top of my list. They were the first seeds I ever sowed in the garden of our first home. Growing them got me started gardening and I have grown them every year since then. If you are new to growing Sweet Peas then please take the hint from me and have a go! They are easy to grow and very hardy so you can’t go wrong.

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