Saturday, 6 October 2007

Golden autumn day

It's a gorgeous day here on the Preselis. The sun is shining quite like it should have been shining in the summer holidays, but I'll forgive it the holiday absence for turning up so smilingly today!
As usual I'm overwhelmed by so many different things to do, but failing to do any of them. The lure of the garden centre is too strong. The lovely Monty Don mentioned on last night's Gardener's World that he's going to plant his sweet peas seeds next week, so I need to go and buy some. My favourite varieties are the old-fashioned fragrant ones like Matucana. I don't really like the ones that are pretty, but without that lovely hit of properly strong sweet pea smell. A bit like a non-fragrant rose or Kate Moss: gorgeous to look at, but possibly quite pointless.
Last year I didn't plant my sweet peas in the autumn and the slugs ate all my spring sown ones. They are just not as tough if they haven't overwintered. The same goes for broad beans. I get a fabulous crop if I sow in October or November, subsequent sowings are a complete waste of time.
I love seed buying time. Poring over the catalogues, deciding what to grow to eat and what to grow for ornament. Then the packets arrive, full of promise. I divide them into their planting categories: root, flower, leaf and fruit, and file them accordingly in an old shoe box, where I can look at them from time to time over the winter months. But it is nice to go to a garden centre and see the packets 'in the flesh', although such trips are fraught with expensive danger. I can come back with quite unsuitable seeds which look great on the packet, but ignore the fact that I don't have fancy propagation equipment, just good old trays and peat-free compost.
I once bought some asparagus peas, but I have never got round to planting them. Asparagus pea sounds too much like an oxymoron to me now, although it seemed a good idea at the time! They would probably have been quite interesting, but I never really worked out where and when to plant them.
So it's off to the garden centre we go, then to Colby Woodland Gardens, which should be looking gorgeous on such a golden autumn day.


  1. I love going to the garden centre but I usually come out with already made plants, the ones I just need to water on my window sill. I wish I had your patience and skill for gardening.

    Crystal xx

  2. This has been my first year of really successful sweet peas and i bought the plants in the spring from my local nursery. Am thinking I should have a go at doing my own this year so will take your advice and go for sowing soon. Are they straightforward?


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