Spring Surprises

DSCN3904Spring is full of surprises and things to look forward to in the garden. One unexpected surprise was that the primroses I grew from seed last year and planted in the scruffy bit at the bottom to naturalise have all turned out to be cowslips.

The surprise last year was that the seeds came up, because I actually sowed them the spring of the year before that (2013). They obstinately refused to germinate, the seed tray ended up at the back of the greenhouse shelves, and a full year later up they came.

I’m discovering wildflower seeds can be surprisingly difficult to germinate. Many of them need a period of cold damp to start germination. You can do this artificially in a process called stratification, or do it my way and leave them in the greenhouse for an entire year.

DSCN3905A less pleasant surprise was some little skarsket has bitten the heads off the snakeshead fritillaryies by the kitchen door. I can be sanguine about flower loss on things like primulas because they just grow another bunch, but the snakeheads, like tulips and daffs, only have one flower a year. Bugrit, as the great man would have said.

Fortunately I have planted plenty more, so here’s a picture of another small clump, almost ready to come out. Fritillaryies are easy to grow and establish fast. You do have to watch out for the bright scarlet lilly beetles though – another spring surprise I have my beady eye open for.