Sow seeds, take cuttings and get new plants for less…..

Inspired by a visit to a beautiful nearby garden. I am sowing seeds with childish excitement.

Louise’s garden (above 1, 2 & 3) was cottagey and naturalistic, incorporating lots of pinks and purples with  aqualegias, sweet rocket, ragged robin (all easy to grow from seed). The hedges, blousy with honeysuckle, work with the old apple trees to frame an idyllic view of lush green hills and Carsington resevoir. I came away with two gifts – some angelica plants (below) and a wild desire to sort out my front border.

I routinely sow veg seeds and a few favourite annuals each year from Jan to April but once these are all hardened off and out of the greenhouse I tend to forget about seed sowing. This year I’m sewing aubretia for a client who needs masses of plants to cover a new area and while I’m at it I’m sowing some black cow parsley (Anthriscus Sylvestris, ‘Raven’s wing) to bring a sense of the hedgerow to my newly widened front border (above centre).

My border includes a red and pink Knautia, Cotinus, Stipa tenuissima, Sedum ‘purple emperor’, hardy Osteospermum, Verbena bonariensis, Stachys byzantine, Veronicastrum virginicum, Centranthus ruber ‘Albus’, Geranium ‘Kashmir White’.  This year I’m adding Stipa Gigantea, Lavatera ‘Barnsley’, Sanguisorba, Angelica and possibly Polygonatum if I can squeeze some in….

In my mind the most captivating thing about horticulture is raising your own plants from seed – its also a great way to save some money. Now is also a good time to take softwood cuttings from shrubs like Buxus and cuttings from Sedum etc. Plants can be far too expensive from your garden centre – it’s well worth learning how to propagate early in your gardening life to build stock of plants for your garden and to swap with others…..

Plants which will seed freely without any effort from the gardener include knautia, centranthus, stachys, verbena – all shown above.

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