In a moment of the year such as this one, it can seem that summer is becoming further away day by day, and autumn is coming closer by the minute. We strive to maintain all that we have planted and nurtured in our gardens this year, however now is a time of preparation: for both the winter ahead and the spring that will follow. Anticipation may seem scarce at times, and for those who live for summer the start of autumn can present itself as somewhat of a let-down in comparison to the riot of colour and the warmth of previous seasons.
Yet this is where the seed subscription boxes from The Rose Press Garden come into their own. What could be more exciting than returning home to a small, bright package that is, quite literally, the epitome of hope and excitement for the forthcoming months. One could say that a seed box is the perfect remedy for gardeners in early autumn, an antidote to those post-summer blues.
And there is no job more fulfilling than sowing a seed. It is so rewarding to give yourself the insurance of floods of colour next spring and summer, all by sowing in autumn and giving yourself that head start. Sowing now is the perfect preparation for the coming year, and it can be argued there is little to top the sense of joy and excitement it incites. This is both short term and long term, as not only do you have something to look forward to next year, there is little more joyous than the surprise of what seeds you receive through your letterbox on a misty autumn morning.
This month’s box has it all. From cut flowers to self seeders and fillers for borders, sowing now will make certain that your garden is just as good next year as it has been this year – if not better! It is a significantly poignant time in the year when it becomes the moment to sow sweet peas, and from now until the end of the season it is perfect to get them started. Sweet peas are fully hardy and will withstand low temperatures, so they will soldier on through winter. They will start spring with a surge of growth; autumn sown sweet peas will even be flowering by the start of summer! The varieties included in the box are quintessential cottage garden sweet peas with a twist. Defying the stereotype of plain, primary purples and blues, these are excitingly different yet guaranteed to match most colour schemes. Sweet pea ‘Candyfloss Lilac’ is a pastel, dusty purple that compliments any plants of a similar shade, or even those right across the colour . They would look particularly elegant planted alongside alliums, be it in a cut flower bed, pot, or border. Sweet pea ‘Summer Clouds Mix’ is a carefully curated amalgamation of creams, whites and the most subtle of pink. These colours elevate any cut flower arrangement, as well as complimenting practically any other palettes in the garden. And both are sweetly scented; what more could you want from a sweet pea?
The soil is still warm in September, so now is the ideal moment to direct sow for earlier flowers the following year. This is particularly applicable to the poppy ‘Hungarian Blue,’ which - despite its name – has tulip-like blooms in the richest mauve and purple. It is much more striking and unusual than its common red cousin. And to continue with the theme of rare and extraordinary, have you ever seen a lime green nigella? I certainly hadn’t until I discovered Nigella ‘Transformer’ in my subscription box. A variety originating from Asia, this nigella has the most exquisite blooms and seed heads – taking well too to direct sowing. It will even self-seed rapidly if it likes your soil.
Last and by no means least is Orlaya Grandiflora, the height of elegance, class, and beauty in the garden. Often referred to as ‘Lace Flower,’ and frequently describes as a less unruly version of Ammi majus, this sophisticated annual will practically float above any border or arrangement. Its sprays of white flowers on umbels with soft and subtle fern like foliage provide both colour and texture to any setting. It really is a must have for a cottage garden, and many would say it is unjustly underrated!
It is seeds that hold the hope for the new year, seeds that hold the key to sustainability and seeds hold our future. Seeds also hold the key to most gardeners’ happiness, and this is a time of year in which we arguably need them the most! I think many will agree when I say that seeds are, quite literally, the definition of optimism. Get sowing!