Springtime flowers at Wednesday Gardening Group April 15 2015

Back to Wednesday Gardening Group this week after an Easter break and the garden looks absolutely stunning. Daffodils, hellebores and most stunningly tulips, are filling the garden with colour. We planted the tulips months ago and they have made an early appearance, slightly in advance of the National Garden Scheme Open Day taking place next Sunday. I’ll share some pictures with you over the next few days.

Garden House Brighton by What You Sow. Tulips.

Today’s jobs were to plant out the sweet peas, add some new things to the tulip and wallflower bed and pricking out some seedlings.

Bridge started off by talking to us a bit about corms. She showed us some beautiful gladioli corms of Gladiolus primulinus Comet (which I forgot to take a photo of) and then some larger ones (Plum Tart) with tiny cormlets growing on them. Too cute. These Plum Tart are from last year and the tiny cormlets can be taken off and planted separately, though they will take a few years to develop enough to come up.  

Garden House Brighton by What You Sow. Gladioli Plum Tart Corms.

Garden House Brighton by What You Sow. Gladioli plum tart corms.           Garden House Brighton by What You Sow. Gladioli Plum Tart cormlets.

These gladioli corms were planted into the tulip and wallflower bed to maintain some colour later in the year, and we also planted some giant red mustard, whose dark purple leaves will make a stunning impact again the orange and plum.

Garden House Brighton by What You Sow. Tulips.

Garden House Brighton by What You Sow. Giant red mustard in the tulip bed.

There were some Chrysanthemum rainbow mix, calendula and Agrostemma githago (White Corncockle) to prick out and we were careful to pay attention to the three golden rules of pricking out:

  1. Always transplant the seedlings by the leaves
  2. Always put them into the soil right up to the bottom leaves
  3. Always write labels for them

Garden House Brighton by What You Sow. Chrysanthemum rainbow mix.

Garden House Brighton by What You Sow. Chrysanthemum rainbow mix.           Garden House Brighton by What You Sow. Chrysanthemum rainbow mix.

A few weeks ago, the gardening group dug trenches for the sweet peas and filled them with newspaper and compost to provide good drainage and nutrition, and this week it was time for the plants to go in.

Sweet pea Henry Eckford. Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

These are the sweet pea Henry Eckford that we sowed a long time ago and they have been steadily growing in the greenhouse, and outdoors since it’s been warmer. Sweet peas are hardy which means that you can sow them in autumn ready for the following year and they won’t be wiped out by a frost.

Sweet pea Henry Eckford. Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

Sweet pea Henry Eckford. Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.           Pea rings. Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

We dug holes, filled them with water (this helps the plants develop deeper roots as they seek the moisture deep in the ground), popped the plants in and attached them with pea rings to their supports, then covered them with grit. The purpose of the grit is threefold: it keeps weeds and slugs off and keeps moisture in.

Sweet peas are my absolute favourite, though we realised this week that if you tot up the man/woman hours involved in having them in your garden, they’re a pretty demanding things to grow; sowing, potting on, pricking out, creating a structure for them to grow up, filling a trench with newspaper and compost for them to be planted in, actually planting them, then tying them to the structure with pea rings. Not to mention all the watering, picking and seed saving that will come later in the year. That’s a lot of work. But they’re totally worth it. They’re so sweet and unassuming though, it’s impossible to see them as divas.