The bulk of the seed sowing and growing is well behind us, with some resulting plants out in the garden and some outside in pots, growing on. I do still have quite a bit on the go in the greenhouse though.

I am having something of a tithonia challenge this year. Last year they grew well. This year I am on my 4th batch. The first batch didn’t germinate. The second batch, sown in early April did at least produce a few seedlings. The third batch was the last of the packet, nothing germinated, then I hit paydirt with the fourth batch. For this 4th batch I sowed seed collected from last year’s plants. Success! They germinated very quickly and in numbers too. From this I conclude that the seed needs to be fairly fresh. I have two or three plants from batch 2 and nine from batch 4. I’ve potted them on to 1L pots. They have some growing to do but hopefully they will push on quickly now the weather has warmed up.

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The ricinus are beginning to get to a more plantable size. Hard to believe now that they will eventually be enormous. I also have four canna plants on the go. They are from unnamed seeds. I have had difficulty with these in the past but this year I at least have a few. I was hoping they would be an interesting colour but they seem quite plain. Hopefully they will do something more exotic later.

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Remaining at the more exotic end of the spectrum, Gill, of this parish, sent me some ornamental ginger seeds a while back. I was delighted to see they have begun to germinate. Next I must figure out how to grow them in my conditions. And think of somewhere to put them, although the same can be said for everything else.

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I’m enjoying the cosmos in the garden so much that I decided to sow a late batch. They are doing ok, I have since potted them on into 1L pots. I hope to plant them in place of annual poppies which are busy flowering just now.

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I’ve also sown some zinnia, two varieties. They do not seem to be thriving, remaining quite small. Perhaps I need to move them to larger accommodation now.

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After years of failure, I have finally been successful growing some eryngium from seed, ‘Graham Thomas Selection’. I have half a dozen little plants but will grow them on a bit before letting them take their chances with the bigger children in the garden.

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I am hoping to grow some annual climbers this year. I have thunbergia alata (seeds all the way from France, courtesy of Fred) and also mina lobata. After an initial success way back, I’ve tried to grow mina lobata on and off for years. I don’t seem to get on with it. This year’s second batch were both sanded down and soaked for 36 hours. The seeds grudgingly responded by sending up just three shoots. I’ve potted them on to 9cm pots and will plant them out soon. The thunbergia are doing a bit better, I have 5 or 6 of those growing on.

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Verbena bonariensis is not normally known for needing help seeding about the place, but I have found it is reluctant to do so in my garden. Not to be beaten by a mere plant I have sown seeds. They took a while to germinate but I now have 10 or so seedlings. They are beginning to get a bit crowded in the seed tray, I will pot them up at the weekend I think.

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I bought some begonia seeds from Mike Clifford. Two of the three types have not germinated at all, but the third has. Begonia grandis sinensis is still pretty small, and has some growing to do if it’s to be at all useful this year. Maybe I should give them a spell in the luxury propagator.

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I’ll close with another small seedy victory. I have failed to grow astrantia from collected seed the last 2 or 3 years. This year I seem to have cracked it, although I’m not sure I could tell you what I did differently. I have some buckland, ruby wedding, and some hadspen’s blood. Just 2 or 3 of each, but I’m happy with that.

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I really need to get more organised and get all these plants out of the greenhouse – soon it will be too hot in there for most of them. Quite where they’ll go after that is a different problem.

I’ll be back soon with more planty piffle.

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