Greenhouse news – February 2018

It is probably almost a year since I last wrote about the greenhouse; as I have mentioned before it is too hot inside to use the greenhouse in summer even with shade netting fixed outside.  I have left the shade netting on even in winter as on a sunny day, even in winter, temperatures can rise too high for good growth. Continue reading


May 18th 2016 – Growing Perennials from seed

Cathy from Rambling in the garden asked the other day about which perennials I grew from seed.

When I began the garden in spring 2007 I sowed a few seeds in an old wooden outhouse next to the house.  I wasn’t living full time at the house at that time so the seeds were left to their own devices sometimes for several days.  I grew Acanthus spinose, Cerastium tomentosum, Euphorbia myrsinites and Euphorbia characia subsp.wulfenii (I think).  All of these are still in the garden and now seed themselves around, mostly in useful places.  The only one which could become a problem is the Acanthus which is perhaps a little too generous with its spreading power.  This year I will cut the flower spikes before they set seed.

Euphorbia characia subsp.wulfenii, one of many that have self seeded around the garden

Euphorbia characia subsp.wulfenii, one of many that have self seeded around the garden

Cerastium tomentosum

Cerastium tomentosum

Cerastium tomentosum always visited by butterflies when in flower

Cerastium tomentosum always visited by butterflies when in flower

Cerastium tomentosum under the Melia in the Left and border, I must get some more seed as I'd like some other patches in the garden and this doesn't seed around

Cerastium tomentosum under the Melia in the Left and border, I must get some more seed as I’d like some other patches in the garden and this doesn’t seed around

The front edge of the Cerastium was the front of the border so you can see that I have widened the border considerably giving some more planting opportunities.

Melia Azedarach flowering now

Melia Azedarach flowering now

It has been a while since I grew any perennials from seed but this year I’ve sown the following: Alstroemeria aurantiaca (actually they haven’t germinated and I’m thinking of putting them in the fridge for a period of chilling), white Lychnis (a friend gave me seed from her garden when I visited her last year and these will be a nice reminder of her beautiful garden).

Meleanthus major

Meleanthus major and other perennials waiting to be planted out.  The tri-coloured sage is a new purchase waiting.

Eryngium alpinum, Melianthus major (I have grown this from seed before but the plants were for a friends garden and I’ve been meaning to grow it for myself for ages.  I have 4 nice strong plants that I will plant on the slope.)  White Valerian is another plant that should grow well here, even without irrigation and I can’t think why I don’t have it already!

Campanular persicifolia (I want these as cut flowers so these have just been planted out into the cut flower beds in the new Secret Garden), Phlox drummondii Creme Brulèe, Achilea ptarmica The Pearl Superior, (I grew this plant in my garden in England so it will be nice to have it here too; it is described as being suitable for cutting and for drying), Agastache rugosa albiflora ‘Liquorice White’ (this is also intended to be used as a filler flower for arrangements but should also add a good patch of interest in the border, it shouldn’t require very much irrigation.

Echinops ritro, I was given several plants of this a couple of years ago.  Last year they flowered in summer when not much else flowers so I saved seed and sowed into modules with a good success rate.  The seeds that I also scattered into the border have also germinated so I should have some large drifts of flowers next year.

Echinops ritro

Echinops ritro – July 2015

I would like to grow other thistle like plants as they should do well here, I’d be grateful for any recommendations.

All my seed sowing this year has been hampered by a purchase of compost from a different supplier that appears to have been infected with some kind of root eating fly.  I had good germination with most of the seeds including all the vegetables but as they grew on the leaves yellowed and many just died.  Coincidentally I read the following blog post (do read this if you’ve had any problems yourself).

I think it is very easy for us gardeners to blame themselves when seedlings don’t thrive and maybe sometimes it is our fault but I do think that often we underestimate the problems caused by incorrect or plain bad compost.  I remember that Cathy (mentioned above) had problems herself last year.

I grow from seed because here in Italy there it is difficult to buy perennials except from specialist nurseries and not all of those provide a mail order service.  The main disadvantage is that I don’t have access to named cultivars of many plants; I am always very envious when I read fellow bloggers descriptions of the special cultivars they treasure in their gardens.

Do you grow perennials from seed or are you able to buy plug plants or small pots at reasonable prices?

Full to bursting – the greenhouse end of February

I have wanted to write an update about progress in the greenhouse for the last couple of weeks; things progress so quickly it is easy to be swept along without taking time to note exactly what happens.

I love the smell when I open the greenhouse in the morning, that wonderful earthy smell mixed with citrus flowers and opening flowers of Narcissus.  Continue reading

Greenhouse-seeds and a story

Julie at Peonies and posies is posting about her very beautiful greenhouse this week so I decided to synchronise my post with hers; so that we can easily compare sowing times and we can see how we use our greenhouses.  If you have a greenhouse or just sow seeds on the windowsill why not join in and we can all learn from each other.  Also as promised is the story of how I got my greenhouse! Continue reading

Greenhouse and Cutting Bed in Mid-May

There have been so many things in the garden to write about and enjoy that I haven’t had time to update you on progress in the cuttings bed and greenhouse.

There is now some colour in the cuttings bed (not much, but this is a beginning!). The first of the sunflowers that I sowed on the first of February has opened its buds and it is covered in flowers, several large heads at the top and maybe another 8 or 10 down the stem. I’ve just sown some more sunflowers which have already germinated so I’ll have some more plants to replace the 4 that are all have large promising buds. Continue reading