Surlingham, Norfolk

Lucy’s Greenhouse – Part 2

Hello and welcome to my second ‘Lucy’s Greenhouse’ blog. In my last blog, I said I was going to give some seed suggestions for people just starting out with their own growing, so here goes…!

If you want to add a little colour to your garden and have a go at growing your own plants, without spending a fortune, read on for my top 5 seed suggestions…

These seeds are easy to grow, whilst still giving you a diverse range of plants. They include long lasting summer colour annuals, beautiful fragrant flowers and everlasting perennials. Just using these simple seed choices will bring vibrant colour, energy and new and exciting wildlife to your garden.

People often ask me if I have any tips for designing a garden, or plating area.

I think it’s pretty easy really and my advice is always to simply just pick the colours you like! Afterall, you are the one who will be looking at them the most.

I often think gardening is a lot like fashion- although there are always the latest styles and trends, we still have to adapt them to our own individual taste. Why not think of your garden like you would your home – decorate it so you enjoy it and try to make it reflect your own personality.

Never be afraid of selecting different colour combinations. Granted, some colours work better with others, but remember there are no written rules or plant police! Don’t let any set ideas hold you back.

For my own garden, I personally prefer to use calming tones of purples, pinks and whites.  However, some of the plant seeds I am talking about today offer countless colour options, so feel free to be creative!

Let’s start with one of my favourites – Cosmos.

Using these wonderful annuals will provide you with some lovely colour throughout the summer months.

Derived from the sunflower family, their flower heads are simply stunning. They also have characterful feathery green foliage, making them an ideal plant for filling boarders, or to use as fresh cut flowers. 

Cosmos seed pods are also a little bigger than most, so you’ll find them easy to pick up with your finger tips and plant out.

In my experience, once your seeds have germinated and been pricked out and transplanted separately, I then recommend nipping the tops off (when they are around 10cm tall).

This will encourage a more robust plant with copious amounts of flowers.

It’s only in gardening do we not wish for long slim legs!

Finally, once they are established and flowering, make sure you deadhead regularly. This will increase and prolong the flowers.

Next up are Stocks

Stocks are wonderfully captivating, with their compact spire like flowers, you will be bewitched by their fragrance.

These delightful annuals are an excellent addition to any garden. Why not plant them in pots outside your back door, so you can breathe in their glorious smell, every time you walk by – yummy!

Once the seedlings have germinated, they need space to establish a strong root system. I’ve found that Stocks have relatively robust second leaves, making them easier to prick out and plant on. Why not see for yourself!?

Whilst we’re on fragrance, why not try the most popular annual of them all – Sweet Peas.

Sweet Peas are especially prized for their colour and beautiful scent. They can provide a lovely focal point, by growing them informally up canes or a posh Obelisk.

Once again, this seed is easy to grow and will reward your efforts, by supplying you with copious amounts of gorgeous cut flowers!

Likewise, once the flowering season is coming to a close, leave the plant to seed and once they are ready you can easily harvest their seeds for next year’s crops. Win Win!

Moving up in the world – Lobelia

Want to add some vertical colour? Maybe you have a bare wall, or sparse balcony? If so, why not try adding some wall mounted pots, hanging baskets or balcony planters…

I recommend keeping it simple and delicate with some cascading Lobelia. This trailing plant bears masses of beautiful tiny flowers, from summer through to mid-Fall.

Do I dare say that some hanging baskets can have too much going on? (Too many cooks and all). Sometimes less is more, so try keeping it simple and mass just one plant variety. In my experience, this method will not disappoint, trust me!

Last, but by no means least, it’s Verbena bonariensis.

These are currently bang on trend in the gardening world! They command attention with their strong stature, structure and elegant purple flowers.

This reliable plant is irresistible to bees and a great addition to any boarder.  It looks great either softly swaying amongst some grasses or offering a striking contrast against some hard topiary lines. There are many ways you can benefit from this wonderful perennial, year after year!

I hope my top five simple seed choices will be useful for you and it helps and inspires you to create your perfect garden. These choices can also be great if you are looking to add colourful pots to your patio, create some hanging baskets, or just brighten a dark spot at the back of your plant boarder.

Finally, if you are really looking to impress, you could incorporate the latest fashion and home furnishing colour trends into your garden design. To do this, try selecting some seeds which match this years Pantone colour of the year – Living Coral. To achieve this colour in your garden, try using:

Good luck and if you try using any of these ideas, I’d be really interested to hear what you think, so please let me know and send me some lovely photos!

That’s all for now folks. In my next blog, I will share my top tips for planting and caring for seed babies…

Happy gardening!

Love Lucy xxx