New Term at The Garden House, Brighton January 21 2015

A new term began today at our Wednesday Gardening Club and we had a few new members join us for our course at The Garden House.

After a few weeks off it was lovely to see everyone and we were all eager to get stuck in. I’m going to give you an update each week on what we get up to and share some pictures of the beautiful things growing in the garden. It will act as a sort of diary for me which I’ll be able to use to plan my gardening activity in years to come and hopefully useful for you to see the sort of things that need doing in your own garden.  

Today’s tasks included some work on the green roof, potting on some sweet peas, sowing parsley and chilli seeds and taking hardwood cuttings. Here’s a bit more about what we got up to...

Garden House Brighton Green Roof

Some weeding was required on the green roof on top of one of the little sheds in the garden. The roof is normally covered in sedums and sempervivums but had become overwhelmed by clover (which I actually think looked lovely) and the odd dandelion (also a favourite of mine). Green roofs are ace, and very useful things for a number of reasons. They aid in absorbing rainfall, attract beneficial wildlife into the garden and can provide insulation to homes. I love what The Garden House have done, covering one of their smaller sheds in a layer of sedums, thus introducing the benefits on a small scale to a little corner of the garden. If you’re into green roofs yourself, The Brighton Permaculture Trust are holding one of their green roof workshops this weekend, which looks like a lot of fun, especially as you get to create your own green-roofed bird box. One day I’m going to go on this course to find out a bit more. Perhaps when I’ve got a house to add a green rooftop to!

Garden House Brighton green roof

So, our first job was to weed the roof, leaving a sprinking of sedums which were already growing there (you might be able to see the odd one in between all the clover in the picture above!). After the clover and dandelions had been removed, some gravel was added to provide a bit of extra drainage for the plants (sempervivums thrive only in extremely well-drained soil) and a selection of beautiful sempervivums from the pots pictured below were planted into the soil. They only needed to be planted fairly sparsely, as once the sun comes out they will grow like crazy and spread across the whole roof.  

Garden House Brighton sempervivum

Garden House Brighton Green roof

Next job was in the greenhouse, potting on sweet peas. I adore sweet peas, as I’m sure you all know, as I talk about them ALL the time. The scent, the colour, the ease of collecting seeds. They are such a favourite of mine. Something I learned on this course last year was that sweet peas are hardy, so if you plant them late Autumn, they will grow through the winter and at this time of year are ready to be moved into bigger pots already. Very useful if like me, you plan to sow them at the start of March then don't end up getting round to it until the middle of April. 

garden house brighton sweet peas root trainer

Garden House Brighton sweet peas root trainers

The sweet peas we potted on today had been grown in root trainers which give the roots plenty of room to grow. We moved each plant (variety Henry Eckford whose flowers will be a vibrant orange colour) to a bigger pot and added a layer of gravel on top to help keep the slugs off. Aniseed the cat was not a huge help but kept us company nonetheless.

garden house brighton sweet pea henry eckford

If you’d like to know more about growing your own, Sarah Raven has an excellent step by step infographic showing how to sow sweet peas which I have added to my Sweet Peas board on Pinterest.

garden house brighton sweet peas henry eckford

Then it was time for some seed sowing. Contrary to popular belief (Or maybe just my belief… I always thought that Seedy Sunday in February marked the beginning of the sowing season), there are many seeds that can be sown already, so we used plug trays to start off some curly leafed parsley (these were tiny and fiddly, see pic below) and some chilli. The chilli seeds need heat to germinate so they’ll live in the heated propagator, the parsley seeds will be okay on their own.

garden house brighton parsley sowing

garden house brighton chilli sowing

Finally, the group took some hardwood cuttings, and the results were divvied up between everyone. Look how happy Kate is with hers and what looks like a little spinach seedling too!

garden house brighton hardwood cuttings

Tune in next week for the next dispatch from The Garden House Wednesday Gardening Club!


Here are some links to more information:

The Garden House:

Seedy Sunday:

Green Roof Workshops: 

Read more from the Wednesday Gardening Group and follow What You Sow on:

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