by Janis on 8th July 2022 / 0 comments

What became of those tiny shoots?

Well, as they “from little acorns mighty oaks do grow”, I think that’s how it goes anyway.

Way back in March, I started sowing my mountain of seeds; though, in hindsight, I think I should have commenced before March. But saying that, it may have been a godsend as I probably would have sowed even more. I was quite enjoying spending time in my newly de-cluttered potting shed.

As I have previously mentioned in my sowing post, I was performing a little experiment with some tomato and chilli seeds to see if I could double-bluff my outdated seeds. Needless to say, time won the race, and my tomato and chilli came to nothing.

Pinterest?

The pin image for our post - 'An update on our seedlings'
Why not Pin it for later?
So, I then had to go and buy some more seeds a couple of weeks later as there was no sign of life whatsoever. But hey, it was worth a go.
Sunflower seeds are sown in a labelled seed cell insert in the tray tidy in our potting shed.
Sunflowers sown in our potting shed
Previously I have only grown vegetables from seed, and my success rate wasn’t too bad if I say so myself. Although I have yet to see an unsuccessful courgette, they are always winners and offer a fantastic yield.

Sowing the tiniest of seeds

To magnificent blooms

Sorry, I digress; back to my seedlings of 2022 and their success rate and this year, I’m sowing some annuals and perennials to try and fill out our new and improved cottage garden.

Firstly, I must mention that I’m one of those gardeners who always wants to give the tiniest sign of life a chance to flourish. I’ve regularly let weeds grow in a pot just to see if I was mistaken on its identity.

With this in mind, I have managed to accumulate so many seedlings. Then there lies the problem of potting on, and the space required for this. Luckily, I have a conservatory that looks more like a greenhouse during springtime. Unfortunately, sacrifices must be made.

Five rows of marigold seedlings in small plastic pots after being potted on
Potted on
Gary and I would head to the conservatory every morning when our seeds were sown and undertake ‘seed watch’. Watching the progress of the tiny shoots day on day was so satisfying.

So many seedlings; what was I thinking

I know, I wanted colour

Fast forward three or four weeks, and I’m starting to pot on my seedlings. The overnight temperature outside has been increasing, so some young plants were rehomed into the cold frame.

The warmer weather meant that my young seedlings had come on leaps and bounds, and after a couple more weeks, some were ready to move to their new home in the garden.

A selection of seedlings potted on and placed on the top shelf of our cold frame.
Inside the coldframe in April

Now, at this point, I confess to the different varieties of seeds I have sown. As I touched upon above, I have sown some tomatoes and chillies, various perennials including foxgloves, lupins, hollyhocks, dahlias and many, many annuals for the pots on our courtyard patio.

Oh yes, and it appears that I thought there was going to be a world shortage of sunflowers too.

My theory was that the seeds might come to nothing; so, what do I have to lose

Sowing & growing our edibles

Our fruit and salad produce

I decided this year that I wouldn’t grow any vegetables as I felt I had enough on my plate with flowers. Also, we need to address our raised beds as they need replacing.

After my initial failure with the outdated tomato and chilli seeds, I bought some new tomato seeds, Gardeners Delight, Sweet Million F1 and San Marzano 2.

I sowed three of each, and amazingly, I only had one that didn’t grow: a San Marzano 2. So, we have eight flourishing tomato plants to nurture.

A close-up of the small yellow flowers of a Gardeners' Delight tomato plant potted up on the patio that had been grown from seed.
Our tomatoes grown from seed

Next comes the chillies; hands up; I’m not taking the blame here; I took Gary’s advice as he wanted plenty of chillies.

We have about five Jalapeno, two Habanada and five Zimbabwe Black. We bought the Zimbabwe Black chillies as we have relatives living in Zim, and I couldn’t resist the name, and the flowers are deep purple.

The unusual deep purple leaves and flowers of the Zimbabwe Black chilli plant in bloom, grown from seed.
Zimbabwe Black Chilli
I received some ‘Salad Bowl Mix’ lettuce seeds from my Gardeners World magazine, so I had to sow those, and they look and taste amazing. I think I’ll be sowing some more of these very soon.
Lush bunches of lettuce leaves, basil & parsley, all grown from seed flourishing within a few weeks
A salad and herb selection
Last but by no means least on the edibles are our Basil and Parsley for our herb garden. Our recently created herb garden on the edge of our courtyard patio is really doing well with a mixture of delicious herbs. However, we always seem to go through basil and parsley much quicker, so I have sown our own.

Our fledgling annuals & perennials

‘The class of 2022’

Sowing and growing our annuals and perennials have been a bit of a mixed bag. Some have done incredibly well, and I’ve struggled to find a home for them in the beds or on the patio, and others clearly didn’t like my nurturing potting shed manner.

I sadly kept a little record of how my success rate unfolded, and below is how I faired.

Plant Name Variety Notes Success
Lobelia Cascade Mix Purple/White Yes
Alyssum Saxatile Yellow No
Livingstone Daisy Pink Yes (many)
Sweet Pea Climbing Mix Mix Yes (many)
Morning Glory Heavenly Blue Blue Yes
Hollyhock Summer Giants Mix Yes
Marigold Honeymoon Yellow Yes (many)
Poached Egg Plant Yellow & white Yes (many)
Cornflower Polka Dot Pink/purple/white Yes (many)
Sunflower Evening Sun Red Yes
Poppy Oriental Red Red Yes (many)
Dahlia Collarette Dandy Mix Yes (many)
Petunia Rose of Heaven Pink & White Yes (many)
Nigella (Love-in-the-Mist) Persian Jewel Mix Pink/purple/white Few
Nasturtium Rumba Mix Peach/Red Yes
Sunflower F1 Full Sun Yellow Yes (many)
Sunflower F1 Suntastic Yellow Yellow Yes (many)
Foxglove Excelsior Hybrid Pink/White Yes
Foxglove Speckled Spires Mix Pink/White Few
Lupin Russell Mix Mix No
Lupin Avalune Mix Mix Yes
Tomato San Marzano 2 Plum Yes
Tomato Sweet Million F1 Cherry Yes
Tomato Gardeners Delight Cherry Yes
Chilli Jalapeno Medium heat Yes
Chilli Habanada Mild heat Yes
Chilli Zimbabwe Black Medium heat Yes
Zinnia Jazz Bright Mix Yes
Nigella (Love-in-the-Mist) Miss Jekyll Pale blue Few
Gypsophila Covent Garden White Yes
Basil Sweet Yes
Parsley Plain Leaved 2 Yes
Lettuce Salad Bowl Mix Mix Yes
A bee feeding on a red with white centre Oriental Poppy that we had grown from seed
An Oriental Red Poppy
One of my favourite successes is the Oriental Red Poppy, the flowers only last a day, but they certainly bring a smile to my face.

Let’s talk about Dahlias

And my abundance of sunflowers

I firstly want to mention dahlias, there are such a variety of dahlias to be found, and they are so beautiful, from the most delicate blossom to the largest of pom-pom heads you could see.

I’m certainly an amateur here, and I think even amateur may be stretching it a bit too far; however, I didn’t know dahlias grew from seed. I have grown them from tubers before but never from seed; actually, they were a resounding unexpected success.

I will definitely be sowing more in years to come.

A cerise and white dahlia bloom with a golden centre growing in our English Cottage garden, grown from seed
Dahlia Collarette Dandy

Yes, I have to mention sunflowers; both Gary and I love sunflowers, not just for their bold and striking colour and often their towering presence, but also for their nourishment to the wildlife.

However, I’ve mentioned a towering presence; this wasn’t to be the case for the variety F1 Suntastic Yellow. I knew they were dwarf sunflowers, but I didn’t expect them to be 30cm in height. However, I must add that they certainly make up for what they lack in stature in their bushy abundance of flower heads.

A giant yellow sunflower, grown from seed, set against a blue sky
Homegrown Sunflowers

We planted the F1 Suntastic Yellow sunflowers next to our Munstead Lavender, and now we have our own little homage to Provence in Kent.

Needless to say, we haven’t finished with our sunflowers yet; I sowed some ‘Evening Sun’ variety which is red. They are slowly becoming established, and we’re just waiting for them to blossom.

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