Sowing seeds for colour next year

It is common belief that once summer comes we can relax and enjoy our garden, avoiding anything more taxing than watering and the odd bit of weeding and dead heading. The thoughts of sowing seeds may be the last thing on our minds, taking comfort in the seasonal routine of frantically planning what to grow as spring approaches. This however, can be easily avoided. Sowing perennial and biennial flower seeds now (late summer into Autumn) will not only prove less stressful next year but means that what you do sow will flower earlier and last for longer in your garden, creating the most vibrant of flower borders and hanging baskets well ahead of the rest.

 

Although a colourful garden may be the desired effect it is wise to put some thought into which colours to choose. Opting for primary colours can be a safe bet to create a plenitude of shades but seeing as there is plenty of planning time why not analyse the specific colours needed to get the most out of your outdoor space. Blue and white flowers will create a sense of distance, while pastel colours are best suited to low light conditions. Orange and red can be perfect to warm up an otherwise cool corner. Advanced thought can give your garden that je ne sais quoi with only matching furniture and lighting to worry about come spring. Calendula seeds come in a variety of eye-catching colours. Some of the varieties Kablouana and Snow Princess can be sown September, kept in a cold frame and their stunning double flowers will complement the dullest of borders early next year. With violas offering a magnificent choice of colours from red with blotch to sky blue they are a perfect choice to sow now. Other species to sow late summer are Lupins, Hardy Geraniums, Hollyhocks, Aquilegia and Verbascum. And if a Victorian cottage garden is your desired look don’t hesitate to sow some biennials seeds and overwinter until spring.  Sow outdoors Ammi Majus, Poppies, Nigella and Delphiniums to name but a few.

 

Whatever your preference, all the seeds can be sown in the same way. Half fill a tray with good quality, peat based compost. Avoid using potting compost when sowing seeds as it contains high levels of fertiliser that can damage young roots. Clean all pots and containers thoroughly as old compost can harbour diseases. Sow the seeds in rows, cover lightly with compost and water gently. Pots containing very small seeds should be surface sown and should be watered from the bottom by being left to soak only until the surface is evenly wet and then removed and allowed to drain. You may wish to cover the tray with a transparent cover for the initial stages of germination and if sowing during the summer months store the seeds in a cold frame. You may even be able to find some seeds in your current garden that have been blown from the flowers ready for harvesting. If these are gathered be sure to hang them in paper bags to dry out completely and then store them in manila envelopes until you are ready to use them. Avoid too much handling of these young seeds and maintain the key standard of hygiene when sowing.

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