Reviewing the Plot

Christmas, New Year’s travels and week long flu have all meant almost nothing has been done since half way through December to develop the plot. Even getting to it hasn’t been possible. The last plot related activity was a Homesown stall at the Farmers’ Market in Wolvercote where the terracotta pots of iris reticulata, crocus and Paperwhite Narcissi sold very well on a festive morning.

Anything practical that has been done has mostly been done in the shelter of the new greenhouse in a snatched few minutes here and there, usually just before dark. So there are a multitude of sweet peas sown in October and November which are steadily growing at different stages. Hi Scent predominate but there are also mixed colours from Sarah Raven so there should be some variety.

sweet peas growing steadily

Sweet peas growing steadily

There are also some hardy annuals such as Orlaya Grandiflora and Larkspur with cornflowers blue and black. These all look pretty healthy as do the bupleurum  seedlings and the salvia cuttings. Despite it getting gradually colder, the salvias are already starting to show white roots at the bottom of their pots, so gently and steadily potting on has been a satisfying afternoon’s work.

Small but sturdy orlaya just potted on

Small but sturdy orlaya just potted on


Less happy are the pots of the ranunculus (lots of them) planted in the Autumn. This is the second year that I haven’t been able to grow them successfully and perhaps now the last year that I will try for awhile. Some haven’t shown any signs of growth at all while others are looking quite feeble. The pots outside are looking better than those under cover, but unless there is a sudden spurt of growth in Spring I will not be buying them again. Such a pity as they look like beautiful small peonies. Anenomes have been shy to grow too, but there are a few, fragile flowers starting to nudge through.


An early unfurling of colour

Some experiments are proving more positive with the tentative sowing of Bill Wallis hardy geranium seeds yielding almost 100% success. They all germinated nicely when I wasn’t paying attention and were a perky surprise when I noticed them recently. Think I will neglect them a little longer until they need potting on out of their plugs.


Small Bill Wallis hardy geranium seedlings

 Bare rooted roses have been ordered and have arrived ready to be planted. They will have to take whatever weather is thrown at them, but even if the flowers aren’t perfect enough for bunches, they will look lovely growing at the plot. These are lovely fragrant and colourful ones from David Austin. Dahlias are on order and the next step is to organise my numerous packets of seeds and to work out what should be ordered at the same time as trying to be more realistic. Also need to get back to sweetpea planting – Mollie Rilestone, Matacuna and April in Paris, all waiting (along with others) to be sown.  Might also try a planting of antirrhinum Night and Day. It might be too early, but it is tempting to start getting it all started.  The greenhouse is getting pretty full already…




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