Sweet Pea shock

Sowing seeds at home on the windowsill isn’t always easy, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. The fun side in you providing unusual conditions for the seed to grow is that they develop in extraordinary ways.

This is what can happen when you sow sweet peas indoors…

Only 7 days after sowing the seeds, the small shoots are showing.  They are growing, hurray!

and just one day later they have tripled in size and are straightening out.  Still growing well.

What’s growing in the light is matched in length below the soil surface with a long white root and the seed has swelled

Only 4 days later… STOP the madness guys. No more height please.

So only 16 days after sowing they have grown 30cm. Such energy.     (I wish I had some of that!)                                                                                           However, disaster looms as one sweet pea topples sideways.

Safety measures need to be put into place…

Scaffolding in place. 18 days after sowing we are at 35cm tall and I have a feeling this isn’t going to end well…

Come back next week for further questionable developments…….

Seed sowing at home is certainly a challenge. You have to find somewhere with enough light coming from all directions so the seedlings don’t lean, that isn’t too warm or too cold. That you don’t mind getting splashed with water or crumbs of soil. That’s big enough for all the seeds you’ve just gone and bought on a whim and pictured in your imagination as bright colourful flowers filling your garden in summer. Sometimes it is just easier to wait to sow them outside in spring.

Other jobs for outdoors in February:


The small to the tall

Today was always going to be a rose pruning day.  In this particular garden there are over 200 roses of all shapes and sizes and they take the best part of winter to prune. It’s an enjoyable job at this time of year and can be both creative (the climbing roses) and rewarding.

However first I have to check the greenhouse, water the seedlings and pot on those needing more room to grow.

Before Christmas we sowed Broad beans, mostly outdoors but we kept a few inside in pots. To our surprise they are already flowering away and are the prettiest little plants. I just love the blue green paddle-like leaves with their white and purple flowers. So fresh. There aren’t any pollinators in the greenhouse right now so experimentally I’m just tickling each flower to see if we can grow beans. It’s only February…

Walking around the garden dodging the showers and checking on what is in bloom I discovered our Tete a tete Narcissi brightening up a small corner

It reminded me of the drive into work where I pass the same flowers planted on the verge in front of the house and how absurd and out of scale they look by a big Beech hedge. I wonder if they meant to plant regular sized ones?



In between pruning roses Im disposing of the clippings on the other side of the garden and it’s an opportunity to ponder further on the views from the garden. Designers often suggest growing plenty of evergreen shrubs and trees to give a garden structure in the winter. But it’s the framework of the deciduous trees in this garden that create a dramatic backdrop against the blue sky that gives it an intensity worthy of cinematic interest.

These pics were taken at 2.30pm

Gardening is hope

It’s grey, it’s wet and on a regular basis, just grim outside. Here in the UK we’ve had storm after storm, we batten down the hatches and try to stay warm and dry indoors. We are at the end of winter and slightly despairing about spending so much time indoors. But in my heart, as in every gardeners heart, is pure hope and optimism.

It starts with holding a small packet of seed or noticing through the window a bare branch or twig with little swelling green buds. I step outside and stare at my plants one by one. Some I know exactly what they are and recall their leaves and blooms from previous years immediately. Others I can’t remember at all and I search for some piece of evidence that might jog my memory. It doesn’t matter because I know, in just a couple of months time, as buds burst and leaves grow, all will be revealed.

I’ve sown some sweet peas in pots and I look longingly at the plain brown soil waiting for a glimmer of life, a tiny green shoot that has all the promise of warm summer evenings filled with sweet scent and a small posy of colourful flowers adorning the kitchen table.

The journey begins now, the rushing memories of years past and the burgeoning of hope for another year to come.