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.
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.
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).
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.
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?