Winter Seed Sowing

Erigeron annuus is such a beautiful plant and one that we like to use quite widely at Gravetye.  In a warm spring it can be in flower by late May and will continue all the way through to the Autumn.  We even have some plants, in sheltered spots, still flowering today.  The haze of white it creates works so well with stronger colours and shapes such as the pink Persicaria orientalis and purple Verbena bonariensis and with such a long season it is something I really want to grow again next year.

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Usually this plant self sows very freely and so we just dig up the seedlings from the borders and pot them up so that they can be positioned where we want them next spring.  But this year, for some reason, we have had very little self sowing and so have germinated some of our seed collected through the Summer.

Erigeron annuas seed germinating

Over the years I must have germinated millions of seeds, but the feeling of excitement and satisfaction as the green cotyledons push through the compost is still the same.  Erigeron seed can be sown any time from Autumn to Spring, but the earlier they are sown the earlier they will flower the following year.  Once germinated each seedling is “pricked out” into its individual cell and grown on.

Although we are a little late in sowing this seed, with the protection of our green house and with all our TLC, these little seedlings should be magnificent by next year.

Words by Tom, photographs by Martin and Tom

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