I had some exciting things in the post yesterday, along with the usual ‘rectangulars’ (our new word for junk mail): a bundle of ‘free’ seeds from the RHS, a new edition of Which? Gardening with the opportunity to take part in their plant trials and a new catalogue from Cranesbill Nursery.
I had only joined the RHS in January so was quite late applying for their seed distribution. They aren’t completely free as you have to pay £10 towards the service, but recalling a post from Helen, the Patient Gardener, I know there is a huge amount of work involved not just in the collection but in the packaging and then compiling the orders to send out. I could choose 20 and it was recommended that additional seeds were listed as alternatives, but to be honest I struggled to find 20 that I wanted to make room for. Surprisingly, I received 19 of my choices, but am a little underwhelmed to read in the germination guide that came with them that many will take up to 12 months to germinate – I may have lost interest in nurturing them by then!
Rather different are the Which? Gardening Member Trials, which I usually take part in, and at least with these I can be sure that the seed is expected to germinate pretty quickly! Last year this is where my Tagetes ‘Paprika’ came from, and also my mini pumpkins. Interestingly, another member who trialled the tagetes is shown on the front of the leaflet – I too was contacted with a view to being featured, but either this gentleman or the brassicas behind him must have been considered more photogenic (whew, a lucky escape!). They are asking members to test up to 9 varieties this year, but I shall pass on the antirrhinums as they are mixed colours – I can tolerate a blended mix, like pinks and purples, but not antirrhinum colours.
The geranium catalogue – well, this really was a surprise. I came across the company when I was looking for different geraniums to fill the beds under the clematis colonnade, having googled ‘geranium specialist’, and was really pleased with the huge selection and the way the website was set out. I had intended to revisit the website to see if I could source some relatively compact white geraniums that could tolerate a bit of shade, with a view to helping fill the species snowdrop border, so the unexpected arrival of the catalogue has made the job very much easier and already I am looking at ‘Snow Sprite’, ‘St Ola’, ‘White-Ness’ and ‘Coombland White’ (and some G. cinereum for the rockery). Thank you Mr John Dilks of Cranesbill Nursery!