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So You Wish To Sow Seeds

Of course I have written pieces on this before but…. now is the time to get grooving in the seedling department….

It is one of the simplest things one can do. The beauty about these wieghtless flecks of dust is that one doesn’t need a vast area of space. One simply needs an area anything greater than one inch squared 😉 And the shops and garden centres are brimming with all of the paraphernalia one could ever need…. and more!

A lot of it is pure clap trap, not really needed…. and of course there is always a very simple way to grow your own from seed. The very enthusiastsic Jane Powers article on the trials and tribulations of seed growing may prove beneficial at this point.

For me, personally, I’m gonna start off in the herb garden department. I’ve got my packets from last year [basil is an absolute must… followed swiftly by parsley] and I’ve gone far too long without fresh herbs…. I won’t get 14 degrees celcius outside nor in the glasshouse  – but I will get it on the kitchen window ledge inside…..and that’s exactly where I’m gonna sow my first seeds of this year.

Now all I need to do is wash out that old jam jar and I’m good to go…. and I also know where I can hang that second maximum minimum thermometer I bought 😉

If you are stuck or need a little help along the way…. just leave a comment below

I did this wee video last year… it was done with runner beans but the same rules apply to any seed irrespective of size. Let me know how you get on…. 😉

Other articles of interest:

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Leucospermum cordifolium x glabrum

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I was blown away when I saw this plant displayed at The Cape Garden Centre.

I have seen these guys before… but they are very much a rarity, in Ireland anyway and moreso in such abundance.

The Leucospernum, commonly known as the pincushion, Protaeaceae, is a genus of about 47 species of evergreen shrubs. What is amazing about this plant is that it grows to about 1.5 meters tall and wide and in South Africa.

It’s recommended use…. as a hedge… 😯 can you imagine that in Ireland !! The best thing after that… it’s widely used for cut flowers.

In case you may get confused… the L. cordifolium do grow, generally to about 2 metres tall, its leaves are about 8cm and the spherical flowerheads to about about 12cm. The little pins are known as styles. It also prefers an acid soil.

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Cape Garden Centre, Cape Town, South Africa

cape-garden-centre-cape town

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Whilst building the garden in the Wallacedene Township in South Africa, I would first like to note that I was a part of a team. A very large team. And I simply played a part.

To that there where so many really good people I met out there. One in particular was a really good guy Peter and not forgetting his foreman Garreth.

Btw Peter insisted he take this photograph of me… 😆

Back to it… Peter owns The Cape Garden Centre that I passed on my way everyday to work. On the final day of the build plants whilst laying out plants and running back with Garreth to get some more I got about 20 minutes to take a look around his place whilst waiting for plants to be loaded.

I had spoken to Garreth and Peter abut the operations and working side but…. To say I was blown away by his setup, the garden centres layout, the displays, the restaurant, the list is endless…. is an understatement. As my first ever garden centre review I am so proud that this is first on the list.

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Peter spoke to me about how they used what was the bark from a [weed] tree that needed clearing from the land to make what we know as willow like screening and features for the garden.

I noticed how no member of the public was left unattended and at all times there was a staff member nearby ready to help or give advice.

The door of their design studios were open for all to see into. Being really honest the people, the customers seemed really happy. It had a very feel good feel about… I sat down at one point for about five minutes and watched the people stroll by… It was phenomenal. And to think that in the midst of all of the mayhem that was happening not so far away, that I had left for just a moment… even I was beginning to relax… then Garreth bipped the horn on the bakkie [open back jeep/ truck] and it was back to it 😉

I loved the family areas, the play areas, the pet area, the garden displays…. [breath] the fact that almost any variety of plant could be seen in a setting or at the varying stages of growth and moreseo that it was for sale in abundance at any of those sizes. There wasn’t a hair out of place… Throw in the individual craft and art shops and the indoor and outdoor furniture places… it was like a little village with too much to do. I loved every second of it.

I’ll be reviewing in the next days some of the plants you may know, you may have seen or may not have that are more common to the Cape Town climate…


 

 

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Lavender

The Lavandula [labiatae/ lamiaceae]

A genus of about 25 species, this fragrant beauty is an absolute must in any garden. Particularly high in nectar and therefore extremely attractive to bees, the answer from a domestic point of view is to be careful where exactly they are planted. A case of beneficial versus pest, possibly?

Often used in rockeries, as low hedges, in herb gardens, en mass planting or as a border plant… they really are [once again] a must have/ no garden should be without plant.

My main note of advice if choosing to plant lavenders is that they are cut back every season. The problem is that when they aren’t, they do go leggy, the flowers and foliage only appearing on the lasts couple of inches of the stem and the lower [soft] wood becomes almost like a moist cardboard. This leaves them very prone to a soft woody fragile rotting at the base which breaks then quite easily….  which is great for garden centres and people like me…. but not for you 😉

To cut yours back, use a good, clean sharp secateurs. Grab a good tuft of the plant and cut straight across. In a two year old plant for example this will remove the most recent seasons growth.

Of course this all depends on the variety and the varying external conditions. But as a general rule cutting a plant back to half height is no harm. When you’re done give it a good ruffle. Trim up the loose ends and clean around the base of the plant.

However you chose to do it…. even though it might look like a sheep shearer just gave you a bad haircut [at the time] but it is well worth it in the long run 🙂

If you are thinking of cropping the flowers for pot pourri, do so before they open fully.