Archive for the ‘seeds’ Category

Today started out with a nice, mild, sunny morning with barely a wind, but then this afternoon the wind picked up and it started to snow. *sigh*

-And then as I was leaving the office the snow turned to rain… *sigh*

But: My dahlia seed order arrived today! That makes up for the weather, at least in part. *YAY*

(I also received a text from my optician that my new prescription sunglasses are ready to be picked up, but given that the weather forecast hasn’t a sun in sight before possibly Saturday, I decided that it’s not urgent to pick those up.)

I may try to limit myself (only four different packets of dahlia seed, and each packet will be split evenly between my mother and me), but at heart I think I might be a seed hoarder; I feel like buying all the seeds I can get my hands on – flowers, vegetables, perennials, annuals – even though I know there’s no way I will have the time – or space – to prepare enough beds for them. So I’m trying to make a list of what I need, and I guess I only really NEED to buy beans, and maybe some peas in case the seed I collected last year isn’t viable.

Last year I had three kinds of beans – or rather, I had two and the slugs had the low yellow beans before they had even reached 5 inches – and this year I think I will restrain myself to two kinds. I need to have normal French climber beans, and then perhaps runner beans, broad beans or some other slightly more rustic bean type. (The slugs stayed away from the climbing beans last year, perhaps because I sowed a row of marigolds between the two rows of beans; I shall repeat that this year and hope that it was the scent of marigolds that kept the slugs away. I collected plenty of seeds last year, so there should be enough to sow a row in each of the vegetable patches.)

I’ve already bought brassica seeds (radishes, kohlrabi and kale), so basically that will be my vegetable garden this year. I will need to watch the slugs, though, which is very difficult when I can only get up to the garden every one or two weekends… Slug pellets WILL be used, though of the sort that is approved for organic farming and is supposed not to harm any other animals than gastropods. They contain only wheat flour and iron phosphate, and I hope they are as harmless as they claim to be – except of course for the slugs.

(One summer evening shortly after we bought the summer house I collected – and killed – 179 Iberian slugs, a highly invasive species of slugs that seem to have a much greater appetite for plants – and procreation – than our native slug species… They are now endemic throughout Denmark and like cool, damp areas like, say, our garden! Wikipedia says: “The main reason behind problematic invasions of gardens by the Spanish slug is that it has adapted to a dry climate, where most eggs will dry out before hatching. The slug lays hundreds of eggs so that at least some may hatch. In the less dry regions of Northern Europe and Britain, the constraints of drought do not limit reproduction to the same degree.”)

(God, I have a lot of parentheses in this post!)

Anyway… Where’s my spring? And my weekend so I can get up to the garden and ger cracking with all the stuff that needs doing, including digging out a new bed from the lawn, extending the Ambitious Border and getting the raised vegetable beds into some sort of shape before the growing season starts!

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Because I took a day and a half off at the end of last week to visit my parents I had to do some (LOADS) work on Sunday, and I decided to just do it from home, rather than go into the office. And this is what my work space looked like; forsythia in bloom and dogwood just on the cusp of showing its leaves…

There is a bunch of forsythia and dogwood in each of the windows in the sitting and dining room, and though some fortsythia branches are blooming more than others (I really need to get those pruning secateurs out this year!) they make a wonderful display of spring. Even if the branches on the dining table might be slightly over-sized… It looks like I’ve stuck a small tree in the middle of the table!

My mother wants to buy my husband a rose for his birthday (and he knows this), and I’m considering L.D. Braithwaite. Does anybody have any experience with this Austin rose? It looks stunning, and it seems easy to take care of, but of course sellers might be deceptive…

Also, my Mum and I have hatched a plan to attempt growing dahlias from seed. I will order the seeds, split up the packages and send her half – along with copies of the seed packets – and then we shall see what happens. We both want bold, exuberant flowers for little money, so we will be ordering some seed mixes for large dahlias. I do realise this will mean I have to have a windowsill or two of compost in the apartment, but if that’s what it takes…

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On this Valentine’s day I have received not as much as a dandelion from my husband! Then again, nor have I sent him anything, so I guess that makes it fair enough, especially since we really don’t give a d*** about this date. However, to all of you who do celebrate Valentine’s, please receive my best wishes for a lovely day with or without romance.

Anyway, as the title of this post indicates, purchases have been made! Seeds!!! Though only one of the packets was actually flower seeds (stocks); the rest were radishes, kohlrabi and kale, since I need some brassicas to fill the beds where I had beans and peas last year. And kale is pretty, isn’t it? Perhaps not as showy as flowers, but it has a lovely texture to its curled leaves.

(And since the slugs didn’t attack my radishes last year I’m hoping they’ll also leave the kohlrabi and kale alone, though this might be wishful thinking. I’d much rather have my kale eaten by butterfly larvae than by slugs!)

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>Vegetables? And flowers?


Ever since we got the summer house and the garden last summer we’ve been wanting to have a small vegetable patch. We won’t be up there often enough to really manage a proper vegetable garden, but at least a few vegetables would be nice…

I’ve had peas and beans firmly placed as must-haves for a long time, and today as I stopped by the supermarket I was lured into buying. Damn those tempting displays of seed packets!

I bought two packets of a simple snap pea which will be lovely. But… The beans? Oh, my; they look gorgeous and I would love to have those colours in our garden. The yellow beans are as lovely as any summer flower, and the black-ish blue beans have a certain exotic allure to them. The green beans, though? They’re plain, normal, expected. And also childhood summers spent nipping beans in the front step of the house.

I love them all, and I love that none of them are fussy at all; they just want to be sown directly into the ground once the risk of frost is over, and then you essentially leave them to get on with their business.

I also couldn’t help getting some flower seeds. I don’t actually recall having ever seen yellow lupins before, in spite of my passionate love for lupins in general. They look beautiful, though, and they will make a nice counterpoint to blue and pink lupins.

And the blue flax… I love flax! This is actually a fairly new cultivar that combines the colour of linseed flax with the size of the flower flax (normally a beautiful scarlet). They’re so light and breezy and will work well in so many contexts because they’re so simple.

The yellow lupins and the flax are both annuals, so we can use them to fill any gap in the borders without having to worry about moving them next year if we find out they don’t work there. Also, equally important, they’re both soil-improving plants that can be used as green fertilizer. The lupins trap nitrogen in their roots, and both plants have roots that loosen the soil structure.

Also, they both grow to about a meter in height, and I think they’re both very pretty. I will definitely want to sow them in large clumps, both as individual focus points and as part of the mixed borders. And I can’t help thinking that the blue and yellow might make for a stunning display together against a green backdrop.

And yes. This is another entry brought to you by a gloomy February day when I needed to buy myself a little spring optimism. Tomorrow, though, is March, and the weather looks set to become milder over the next few weeks. Within a month it will be time to cultivate the soil and start the first sowing…

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>Kama Sutra or Gardening?

>I have been thinking about how to make the hoops to support the plastic covers for our planned raised beds. We have loads of thin bamboo canes from a stretch of bamboo that flowered 3 years ago (as did most of the bamboos in Denmark, leaving loads of garden-owners with huge piles of dead bamboo…), so I figured they might be used if split and watered until supple enough to form the required curve.

However, googling “splitting bamboo” seemed to mainly produce links to a position from the Kama Sutra, and fascinating as the art of love-making might be, this wasn’t exactly helpful to me. I did, eventually, find a couple of useful links, and it seems it really is as straight-forward as one would think.

This has now been added to my list of small garden projects for the remainder of the winter. (The ACTUAL splitting of bamboo; not the Kama Sutra metaphorical one.)

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>Thanks to staudesalg.dk – a website dedicated to selling perennials and seeds thereof – I am now in possession of a quite ludicrous amount of seeds for flowers that will not blossom ’till next year at best.

Lupins, delphiniums, columbines, bind-weed, dahlias, sweet peas and all sorts of lovely plants. (And some sunflowers, just because they make me smile.)

The danger of ordering seeds online is – as with any online-shopping – that one (that would be I) has a tendency to over-do it “a little”. Some of the seeds ought to have been sown in May, but obviously we only just got the keys to the house, so I’m hoping that my tardiness matches the cold spring we’ve had this year and that the seeds will find the timing just right. However, as I want to get the seeds into the ground this weekend AND have to clear the ground for them first, I’m guessing I’m pretty much setting myself up for a mad, rushed weekend of hard work and little rest.

Also, I would really like to create a classic herbaceous border in the English country-garden style, but this would require more planning than I feel capable of at the moment, so I’m just going to make a first attempt and hope that the plants will be possible to move in a few years when I’m – hopefully – somewhat more knowledgeable about creating harmonious, yet unrestrained borders.

I guess that’s my one agony; that I know enough about gardening from my parents’ and grandparents’ gardens to know exactly how much I DON’T know.

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