Autumn is my favourite season, and and love my cold-frame.
Autumn is great because it lets you slow down after an enjoyable, but busy summer. Bright, cold days are perfect for walks, rainy days can be spent making jam, and the best of the flowers come in to their own this season (pretty much all late flowering perennials are amazing). Also, you have the promise of festive cheer ahead, followed by the revitalising ideal of a fresh start next spring.
With the cold-frame empty from the summer it’s the perfect time to sow seeds of hardy plants for next year. I’ve previously grown Echinacea ‘Lustre Hybrids’ and Aquilegia ‘Nora Barlow’ from seed with great success. This year I’ve stepped things up a notch. I’ve gone for:
- Catananche Caerulea ‘Amor Blue’ (aka Cupids Dart)
- Dianthus Carthusianorum (aka Pinks)
- Schizostylis ‘Mixed Colours’
- Camassia Leichtlinii ‘Alba’
- Malva Sylvestris ‘Zebrina’
- Dierama Dracomontanum (aka Angels Fishing Rods)
All are old cottage garden favourites, low growing (12”-30”) hardy perennials. Bought from the lovely “bobtodd1” on our favourite auction site.
They all have specific sowing requirements, and come with detailed instructions. I think nature is best and this is the time of year that the seeds would be germinating in the wild. So, I mixed up some seed compost 60:40 with vermiculite and sowed thinly, then covered with grit for protection. Four of the Six have already germinated (about 2 weeks). They’ll stay in the cold-frame all winter, uncovered, and will be potted up in the spring.
I also treated myself to some dwarf Iris ‘Katherine Hodgson’ bulbs and split them between small terracotta puts with lots of grit added to the compost. When they flower in spring I’ll being them in to the flat or give away as short lived (but lovely) gifts.
Finally, the other two seed trays have Orange Scented Thyme and Winter Savoury in, to add to the herb bed. They were sowed in the same manner and have already germinated.
I hope everyone is having an equally enjoyable Autumn?