Potting On

A bout of seed sowing last month in the Genus greenhouse has started to pay dividends and despite the recent cold weather most of our seeds have germinated and put on good growth.  With growing maturity comes independence and so it was this week that the seedlings raised in communal pots were split up and sent into their private living quarters - 9cm pots filled with fresh peat free compost.
We’re trying to grow more flowers for the vegetable beds this year, both for cutting, attracting beneficial insects, and of course simply looking wonderful.  This year our selection includes Sunflower ‘Pacino’ the most perfect yellow sunflower in miniature.  Dark-eyed, lemon-yellow sunflower ‘Garden Statement’ with double flowers, and the ‘Earthwalker’ sunflower with it’s multi-headed 3-metre stems supporting brown eyed, terracotta petalled flowers, all to be planted out once the danger of frost has passed.  (When is that in these days of topsy-turvy weather patterns?). We have plenty so some will undoubtedly be making it into the flower garden to compliment the dahlias, Helenium, and Rudbeckia.
Cosmos, those dependable garden stalwarts, are of course part of the selection.  ‘Fizzy Pink’ is one of our ‘bipinnatus’ selections this year, its ruffled and somewhat flamboyant flowers come in a semi-double pink form and reach a not overly ambitious height of around 3ft.  Our other choice is ‘Seashells’, another 3ft example with a range of reds, pinks, and whites with attractive fluted petals.  The sulphureus type Cosmos are less popular but have proved to be remarkable performers in the our garden.  ‘Ladybird Mixed’ (pictured in the Genus garden last September) is of the sulphureus form.  Usually slightly shorter than other varieties it shouts out for attention with its orange, yellow or red flowers and thrives in hot dry conditions.  It’s a great plant for attracting insects too and therefore ideal for increasing the biodiversity of the vegetable garden - a great solution for keeping down numbers of plant pests.
There are however a number of stragglers in the seedling stakes.  Nicotiana sylvestris has barely showed signs of germination.  Its cousin ‘Lime Green’ shows only a little more enthusiasm for entering the world and wonderful late season performer Rudbeckia ‘Irish Spring’ is still sulking in its duvet of moist compost - all the sleepy teenagers of the greenhouse.  It’s still early days however and we know they’ll soon bloom into the grown-up adults we can be proud of.