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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Autumn 2001
John Cushnie On...

Best of Seeds

Is your soil frozen solid or perhaps the rain is belting down? Either way you may still start on an important gardening job-deciding which new varieties of seed to order from the 2002 seed catalogues.
The first one to catch my eye was the new Rudbeckia Cherokee Sunset from Thompson and Morgan. I trailed this variety last year and it was superb. It is an annual, flowering all summer and autumn at a height of 30-36 inches.It lasts well as a cut flower. The range of colours was impressive, from deep yellow through orange to deep bronze.

Another interesting one from the same seed house is the double, white spring flowering Helleborus Mrs. Betty Ranicar. Apparently up to 85 % of the seedlings will be double flowered. It is a perennial so there won’t be the opportunity to see the blooms until the year after sowing. With only 5 seeds in the packet, I hope for good germination.

The Organic Gardening catalogue offers most of the standard vegetable varieties as seed grown organically. I don’t grow many vegetables and I don’t grow organically but if you are, or want to become, organic this is the catalogue for you.

Dobies have a new dwarf foxglove (digitalis) in their catalogue. Dwarf Primrose Bells grows to 18 inches with pale yellow, summer flowers. Although they are biennial, flowering the year after sowing, Dobies claim that, if sown in February or March they will flower the same year.

Plant World Seeds specialise is the unusual and the different. They list 4 Echiums. The one to take my fancy is Echium pininana Snow Tower. It is biennial, flowering in the second year, with an enormous 12-15 ft high flower spike of white flowers instead of the usual pale blue.
Another catalogue with a difference is from Chiltern Seeds. If you grow clematis and would like something unusual, try their “celery leafed”Clematis apiifolia. It will climb to 15 ft, producing its white flowers in late autumn. The Japanese cook and eat the leaves!

There is a new poppy listed in Mr Fothergill’s seed catalogue. Dawn Chorus is an annual, flowering within weeks of sowing. The white,pink or mauve flowers are double and appear to be made of tissue paper. Famous for their sweet peas Suttons Seeds have the new “streamer” series on offer. They are fragrant, flowering all summer, each bloom beautifully striped and flecked.

Last year, I tried the new hanging basket tomatoes. They were fantastic, with a big crop of well flavoured, cherry tomatoes. They are available from most of the seed companies in red and yellow.
Get ready to shorten your list when you work out the total cost.

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