Sitting in the office, looking out at the rain, I realised that the garden was looking pretty fine and I was quite pleased with what we have done over the years.
Our garden is on the edge of a coppice of sycamore, ash and other native trees and we have a large oak (where we hang our seedbasket from in a competition with the squirrels). However, the result is that large swathes don’t get a lot of sunlight in the height of the summer.
One plant, however, that does do well is the humble foxglove. At this time of year the delicate spikes of pink and white add splashes of interest in some of the darker corners and attract the bees and insects so are well worth growing.
Over the past couple or three years, we seem to have developed a method of growing them such that, despite the fact that they are biennials and don’t seem to seed themselves down in our garden, we are able to get flowers every year.
In April or early May, we sow seed into finely sifted compost in trays, one for each variety that we are growing.
Around now (early June) the seedlings are large enough to handle and we prick them up into plug trays (we have plug trays that we use for growing tomatoes and they have come free). They’ll grow in these trays for a couple or three weeks and then in late June/early July we’ll move them into 7cm pots and then four weeks later into 9cm pots.
After a few weeks there, they’ll be fit to go out into the garden in late August/early September just after this year’s flowers have come to an end. Then they’ll grow away over Autumn and Winter, ready to flower again in May/June next year. Its a cycle that seems to work well and keeps fresh flowers growing year after year.
This picture was taken from our office, up the garden and highlights the delicate shades of pink and white of the foxgloves we grew last year. This year we’ve got about 100 plants coming through and I’m going to make a bigger display all around the edges of the trees.