The vernal equinox and the clocks changing marks the start of manic activity in the cutting garden. More light and less fluctuations between day-time and night-time temperatures mean that conditions are good for germination, so it is full on seed sowing. However, the polytunnel (which is only about 10m x 3m - ish - I'm hopeless at lengths!) is crammed full of autumn sown seedlings so these have to be planted out to make room for the spring seed trays.
So I take them out of the polytunnel in batches and harden them off on a table in a corner of the garden, sheltered by a lean-to against one of the walls.
Because my cutting garden consists of beds and patches dotted around the main kitchen garden at Doddington Hall, it is then like one of those sliding square puzzles where you have to sort out one bit before I can move onto the next. So the beds need to be weeded, fed, dug over ready for the autumn sown annuals to go in and then once they are in, another lot come out of the polytunnel ready to harden off, making space for some seed trays for spring sown annuals. Phew! I could direct sow, and I do occasionally but we have pigeons like pterodactyls and they often eat all my seedlings and I can't cope with the stress!
So currently sweet peas, ammi majus, ammi visnaga, daucus dara, scabious, larkspur, calendula, cornflowers, nigella, annual clary, grasses, godetia and annual gypsophila have been planted out. There are a few things lurking on the table hardening off - more larkspur and ammi mainly and a few dianthus chinensis.
Then in the polytunnel, I have just sown more godetia, annual gypsophila, calendula, grasses, cosmos, snapdragons (I'm a bit late with these but they'll be alright!) annual phlox, sweet peas, dill, amaranthus, atriplex, cornflowers and a few more bits and bobs. I still have zinnias, asters, more grasses, ammi and nigella to go.
I love sowing seeds but I am always twitching with anxiety - will they germinate? Is the compost too wet, too dry? Is it too hot in the polytunnel, or too shady? I'm peering at them over-protectively - surely they should have germinated by now (2 days later!) but when they do pop up it is such a great feeling. Here is my garden, in this seed tray! Here are the wedding flowers for my summer weddings, this is what I will design with these. Just fabulous.
I need to do my dahlias next........!!