Archives for category: Sowing Seeds

Sometimes I feel like I spend more of my weeding time on paths than I do on beds. But then again, sometimes you get the nicest of surprises that sprout up on paths, especially if you have gravel paths which seem to be the perfect seed incubation site. Here’s a nice little Sedum seedling. I have a few around the place. I’ll remove this one from the gravel and pot it up to be re-homed most likely next spring.

Sedum seedling

Sedum seedling

My best self-sower is Verbena bonariensis. It could almost be called a weed if it weren’t so nice and so share-able. Every year I give away pots of the stuff. It creates a veritable forest and is covered with butterflies on sunny days.

Verbena bonariensis forest

Verbena bonariensis forest

Another nice little surprise I often find is Knautia macedonica. It is the favourite colour of course and fills a space nicely. It can get a bit floppy but, then again, can’t we all?

Knautia macedonica seedling

Knautia macedonica seedling

I worked a bit at the Big Garden last weekend. The rose beds were edged (three and a half hours later and with a gimped back). They look ok. I had to prune out most of the colour as the petals were dropping, but happily the dahlias (which were planted in the red bed to make up for the fact that the red roses were so pathetic) look absolutely fabulous. I don’t know the variety but they are ace. See for yourself.


Dahlias in the red rose bed

The big flower border needs edging (again) and general weeding and cutting back needs to happen. Hopefully I will be able to do a couple of hours tomorrow. The Little Garden really needs my attention but I’ll have to try and spread the love.

Here’s a nice way to end. Finally, a summer that has allowed for a pumpkin to grow outside in the west of Ireland. Here’s the progress so far:


Pumpkin at the Little Garden

Next time… a few new plants to show off, plus lots and lots of bees and flying varmints.


An oriental poppy in the Little Garden earlier this summer

You might think that the writer of this blog has been lazing around, doing not much of anything for the last couple of months. Au contraire. I have been desperately trying to catch up on weeding, garden work and general household chores that have fallen by the wayside since I went back to work full-time. Let me tell you, it ain’t easy.

Buddleja & Butterfly

No cabbages this year, so I’m actually enjoying the Lg Cabbage White butterfly on the Buddleja

By all rights I should have completely lost heart by now but I have decided not to give up. I worked too hard on the garden to let it all go back to rough field. There are pockets of loveliness and little crops of veg and fruit that are really keeping my spirits up. You can see some of the nice plants here and I’ve been harvesting loads of tomatoes and courgettes (surprisingly…) and the French beans are just kicking in. I’m just between harvesting my earlier blackcurrants (‘Ben Sarek’) and the later variety (‘Ben Connon’). The blackbirds have eaten all the redcurrants. I’m not too bothered because the freezer is full up anyway and I’m never quite sure what to do with pounds and pounds of redcurrants. So all is not lost.

Helenium 'Moorheim Beauty'

A bit of loveliness that keeps me weeding, Helenium ‘Moorheim Beauty’

The Big Garden has also been a bit neglected by me due to my severe lack of time. I have just done a serious weeding and pruning session of the rose beds but there is a fair bit more to do including edging the rose beds and the big beds, deadheading the standard roses (tedious and never-ending). I also need to cut back the Alchemilla and Geranium that would, without a doubt, take over the entire big perennial bed given half the chance. I need to get at the Alchemilla before it seeds everywhere. I have enough weeds to contend with, never mind having to pull out Lady’s Mantle seedlings (which become frightfully well-rooted little buggers given a month or so of growth).

View of the front of the Big Garden taken from the Big Perennial Border

View of the front of the Big Garden taken from the Big Perennial Border

Speaking of self-seeding, my next blog will be about lovely little plants self-seeding around the garden. You might just be surprised by the things I find around the place that I never planted… Until then, keep on weeding!

White-tailed bumble bee on Echinops

Lots of bees at the Little Garden, here’s a pair of white-tailed bumble bees on Globe Thistle

At last it feels like spring – she is so late this year that the dandelions have all come up at once.  In a normal year (whatever that is) the flowering time of the dandelion seems to be a bit more spread out.  Not this year as you can see from the picture of one of the fields by the Little Garden.

Dandelion City

Thousands of dandelions in the next field over, waiting to blow into the Little Garden

I used to hate seeing dandelions going to seed, being the main (and only) weeder around the place, until I saw a goldfinch munching away at a seedhead.  Now I just sigh as I pass out the hundreds of fluffy heads knowing that I will be pulling the weeds up in a year’s time.  And so it goes.

Tulip 'Ballerina'

Tulip ‘Ballerina’ doing a raindance

It’s the freshness of the season that I enjoy most: raindrops sitting on leaves, buds bursting open, leaves unfurling (why do I hear Julie Andrews singing all of a sudden?).  It restores hope (if you happen to have lost it over the winter). One of my very favourite sights is a big fat Oriental poppy bud pulling up out of the centre of a plant.  The wind here usually tears up the delicate flower once it opens in all its tissue-paper glory, but I enjoy the rough, toughness of the bud stage and take as a bonus the flower itself if it manages to last even a few days.

Oriental poppy bud

Oriental poppy bud is rough & tough, unlike the flower to come

Spring flowers are probably my favourites.  Maybe it’s because everything is looking lush and healthy, nothing has really gone over yet except maybe the daffodils (whose ratty old foliage you can disguise by planting things like Aquilegia around them that are only bulking up and coming into flower when the daffs finish).  I like the old standards: Pulmonaria, Dicentra, Pulsatilla (you may have seen my fondness for ‘Papageno’ in a previous post), cowslips, Doronicum.  I find yellow a difficult colour to work with in the garden because it can be so wrong with other colours at times (I feel the same about pink) – but in springtime this doesn’t bother me a bit.  One of my borders is a sea of yellow at the moment because I have let cowslips seed prodigiously.  I love cowslips and can’t bear to pull them out, though I fear these are starting to choke each other a bit and so I will separate them after flowering and put the extras somewhere else.


A sea of self-seeded cowslips

The vegetable garden like everything else is a bit behind.  I have a good stock of tomato plants growing in the polytunnel along with some trays of lettuce seedlings.  Everything is so late this spring that I’m only just clearing the tunnel out now.  I had let rocket and mustard plants go to flower in hopes of bringing in hoverflies and bees – they need a bit of help this time of year when the weather is wet and flowering is behind schedule. It worked – they did show up. But now that plants are starting to flower outside I can clear out the rocket, etc., before it goes to seed.

Look at all the potential in this little fella, a climbing bean seedling

Look at all the potential in this little fella, a climbing bean seedling

Squashes, pumpkins and all sorts of beans have been sown.  I’m using up old seed this year so I have oversown just in case.  I’m going to throw out all the seed packets of the non-germinators (The Germinator — now that’s a good name for a film!) and start fresh next year.  I have to do this every three years or so, otherwise I just end up with far too many seed packets.  I always buy fresh parsnip seed every year and scallion seed which doesn’t seem to keep a very high germination rate for me after the first year.  And sweet peas as well.

Pulmonaria officianalis

Pulmonaria officianalis

What’s happening at the Big Garden, you ask?  I haven’t been in a few weeks due to bad weather and other commitments.  I had planned to go this morning to do a bit of weeding, but it is lashing rain.  Maybe I’ll get a chance to go later.  I will post an update when I do.  Until then, happy digging from the west of Ireland.  Yours truly, The Germinator