January’s Itchy Flower Growing Fingers

So the skies are blue, but the ground is frozen. The light is increasing day by day, but there is still probably not enough to be planting seeds other than sweetpeas (as everything I read warns me). A quiet month for gardening if you don’t want to follow the wise advice of gardening experts to use your time to sharpen your tools and wash your pots. Yes, ordering seeds is  more alluring advice frequently given, but I really want to plant them and grow things. But too early for hardy annuals which will grow too leggy they say. But hold on,  I have read more than once that antirrhinums might work, needing, as they do,  a long growing season of 20 weeks. Already have a crowd of white ones, Autumn sown and surviving in the greenhouse, and have beautiful bright ones to try now –  so half a packet, just to see…


Autumn sown antirrhinums looking surprisingly cosy in greenhouse

Two weeks ago, when the weather was milder, I went to the plot to sheepishly plant a big box full of tulip bulbs. Cross with myself that I was doing this in January and not earlier, and also cross that this situation had come about because I  had succumbed to the greed of ordering more in early December when I had actually managed to plant all the others promptly and soon after they arrived in November. It was the Sarah Raven sale and they seemed such a bargain. Flu, Christmas and other unavoidable events meant that I didn’t plant them until January, but they will have got the cold frosty weather they need, so will just wait and see.


Another piece of luck: according to expert advice on how to grow pelargoniums, which I chanced upon while dawdling round the web, cuttings can be taken at any time. So today am testing this out by slicing some of the new green growth from my Rose of Attar and Sweet Mimosa plants which have been spending the Winter on our windowsills.


Sweet Mimosa – the mother plant before taking cuttings


Meanwhile, outside the house and inside the greenhouse, the small bulbs, planted in Autumn, are all poised to shoot up into growth, and in some cases, to flower.


Scilla, crocus and iris reticulata poised 

With the sun out and the light so bright and clean, it is hard to remember that there is a week to go before February and that March is weeks and not days away. Still, going to double check my seed packets to see if there is anything else I can justify planting now.

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