Autumn Experiments!

I’m keen to make sure my greenhouse is fully utilised over all four seasons and so during October and November,  I’ve been experimenting! Once I’d planted out all the wallflowers, I had space and so I’ve done some cuttings of tender plants (I know, it was probably rather late) of scented pelargonium, osteospermum, salvia amistad and several penstemons. In addition, I’ve planted some bare rooted eryngiums, and for the first time ever, sown sweet peas – I chose ‘Cupani’, ‘Swan Lake’ and ‘Mammoth Blue’ varieties. I’ve dug up my cannas, dahlias, salvia amistad and osteospermums to see if I can overwinter them. 

I’ve loosely followed Sarah Raven’s advice on winter sowing for sweet peas and am really hoping that I will have a floriferous crop for planting out in late spring next year. Using degradable, porous root trainers and compost, the seeds were sown, 2 per trainer, an inch under the surface. Covered with an old newspaper and well watered, the tray is now on the shelf – I’ll keep an eye out for germination in a couple of weeks, then make sure they are mice proof!

However, I’ve identified the need for a solar light in the greenhouse. I started sowing at about 3:45pm, forgetting how early it gets dark in November until emerging into the garden into almost complete darkness – my eyes had clearly been adjusting to the slowly deteriorating light! 

Next job is autumn clearing – I do like to leave seedheads in situ, not only for the birds, but also for some structure to the borders over winter. If we were to remove everything, the garden would look very bare indeed, as we have so many herbaceous plants. The weather forecast isn’t favourable, but I’m sure we’ll find a few moments over the next few days – there’s strangely something very enjoyable about being in the garden when its windy but not cold!