Friday, January 19, 2007

Keeping Up With The Dons, or Forward Planning for February's Seed Sowing

Wide awake and restless last night, no doubt worrying about the storm damage likely through the night. I padded downstairs and raided the study for my sleeping tablets, (that's my favourite Elizabeth David, glossy pictures from Frances Mayes and Fork to Fork by Monty and Sarah Don.) These soothing tomes never fail to settle me down for sleep. Wonderful.

Monty and Sarah write how seed sowing in their part of Herefordshire begins in earnest on Valentine's Day. Right then, the bar's set then! This morning, after a quick tour of the garden, house and outbuildings to check all survived the storms intact, its back to the study and a delicious rummage through my Tiffany-blue seed box. In February's section I have packets of some of my most favourite annual flowers, stocks. I saved seeds from last summer's flowers, "Ten Week Mixed", more about this in a later post. These came up in a beautiful range of soft lilacs, pinks and creams and stand about 12" tall, so were perfect for the front of borders around the roses, iris and in between the herbs near the terrace. I've also some "Giant Perfection Mix" stocks, growing about 18" tall and so perfect for cut flowers for the house this summer. I love the spicy, nutmeg/cinnamon scent these workhorses give out. Perfect. I've also a packet of Penstemon "Sensation Mix", good perennial fillers for the borders.

And then we come to the vegetable seeds! Excitement mounting, I flick through carrots "Early Scarlet Horn," broccoli "Waltham 29," a packet of Halcyon Sweet Genovese basil, and then its on to the tomatoes. Two packets of "Costoluto fiorentino", the big misshapen monsters and the smaller plum tomatoes "Roma." Basil and tomatoes, all I need now is a few bulbs of garlic and I'm ready for heaven! Tucked at the back of February's section is a box of peas I picked up in Cora last year, "Tres Hatif D'Annonay." Tiny colourless bullets rattling round inside comfortingly. I'm all set for summer.

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