February At Last


It feels that February has been a long time coming and there have been impatient weeks waiting to plant seeds. Probably still too early, but late last week before the rain smudged it out, there seemed to be more light and a passing whisper of Spring. The last two days have even been bright and warm enough to wake up the crocuses. The bulbs in small terracotta pots at the south facing front of the house have been frozen (sometimes literally) in the same position for weeks, but seem poised to go as soon as the sun comes out for any length of time. One or two have taken their chances and flowered already.


Crocus giving hope of Spring

The tulips are just poking through the ground so today am taking the seed packets at their word and will start to sow the ones which have Feb as a start date. Will also carry on with the steady Winter planting of sweetpeas. This year I will be trying new varieties recommended by experts:  Green and Gorgeous and Floret , both professional flower growers who are full of knowledge and expertise and  are generous with their advice and recommendations. If you can, and you live in travelling distance of Oxfordshire, try and go to a Masterclass at Green and Gorgeous which is a truly lovely place.


A beautiful blue row of abundant cornflowers at the Green and Gorgeous open day last June

Floret Flowers is in America, but the website offers excellent guidance on how to grow different cut flowers. Tried to keep to the advice learned at G&G Sweetpea Masterclass, but my chaotic life has meant I didn’t manage to plant on the first of the month starting in November. This year started later in December and have instead tried to keep to the rhythm of planting another packet of seeds as soon as the previous lot have germinated. Just about keeping to this; Hi Scent (aka April in Paris), Gwendoline, Nimbus, Mollie Rilestone and Cathy all on their way, with others to follow. Not sure how much they are enjoying the only barely above freezing greenhouse, but they should be tough by March (if they survive).

So along with sweetpeas, today there is going to be viola planting as these are fast becoming a new love. Heartsease for its jolly edible flowers and its obliging willingness to keep on flowering almost anywhere; Viola corsica, to add to the truly lovely plants with their bright purple flowers that I bought last year from Special Plants and Viola lutea splendens which is a heart-lifting deep golden-yellow.

That’s the plan, but then there are all those other jobs  like clearing dank, shady beds at home in the garden or taking just one or two more pelargonium cuttings or weeding at the plot – not to mention the allotment. As always there’s a danger in worrying too much about that endless list and not simply accomplishing the job at the top. Just need to remind myself of those warmer days in March and April when planting out small tough homesown plants gives such satisfaction and pleasure.



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