Garden // Spring Planting {with Sarah Raven}

May 09, 2018

Hello! A long overdue garden post from me today with a catch up from what we've been planting recently, and some jobs to do over the next couple of weeks. May is probably my most favourite time of year with everything suddenly so green and fresh, but also the busiest for planting and getting everything started off. This is our first growing year with a greenhouse, which has been really exciting to fill with seedlings. You can see all of my previous garden posts, including a month by month guide here.

I really need to put together an allotment/veg growing post but for today lets stick to talking flowers. We grow flowers for our cutting garden at the allotment, and flowers to fill our garden with prettiness to last throughout the summer.

// Garden; Most of our flower beds in the garden are filled with perennials, which come back and get bigger year after year. I've shared more about creating, and planting, our beds in this post here. So at this time of year, it's a case of weeding, seeing if anything needs moving or adding in. This is our third summer here and I'm pleased with how everything is filling out and establishing. But I always like to add a couple of new plants, so far this year I've bought some more lupins, verbascum and delphiniums to add in. There are always gaps to fill, and so I grow dahlias, cosmos and sweet peas to plant which will carry on flowering through the summer. The key is to get a range of plants that look pretty together, but will also give you colour and flowers the whole way through the season. 

// Sweet peas; now is the time to plant your sweet peas out. In the past I've grown these from seed, but my past couple of summers haven't been very successful and I was getting frustrated at growing them only for them to fail. This year, I've grown half of them - but used deep root trainers but I've always lusted over Sarah Raven's gorgeous sweet pea collections, so was very lucky to be sent some of her sweet pea seedlings this year. I went for her Aegean collection which will have pinks, whites and blues to remind me of the colours of the Greek islands. They arrived with long roots and were very bushy even as small seedlings {the sign of a good sweet pea}. We potted them up and kept them in the greenhouse until this weekend when we planted them at our allotment. With sweet peas you want to make sure that you have good stocky plants to begin with {pinch the tops out to encourage side growth} and plant them in an open space with something for them to climb up. Ideally make sure they've got good feed, so mix in some well rotted manure, and keep them well watered. We planted ours at the allotment, and a couple of wigwams in the garden, on Sunday night and I'm excited for the first blooms. Make sure you gently tie them in at the base to get them started.

// Cosmos; Cosmos are even easier than sweet peas and will go on flowering, getting tall and bushy - filled with flowers - until the first frosts - that can be November time! I love the pink and white colours they come in with their feathery green foliage. Again, I normally grow these from seed but you have to keep them warm to germinate and we were away at crucial seed planting times this Spring so I decided on some Sarah Raven cosmos seedlings which again are looking SO much better than we could ever grow ourselves and it avoids the fear of leggy seedlings. These are all bushy to start with. You can only plant these out once all risk of frosts have passed, so I'll probably do mine next weekend weather depending. Make sure you give them plenty of slug protection as they're prime targets for getting munched.

// Dahlias; I couldn't write a garden post without mentioning Sarah Raven's Dahlias. I think she's the Dahlia Queen and whilst we've kept a lot of ours from previous years {storing them over winter in our garage}, I couldn't resist adding in a few new dahlias to my collection this year. Cafe au Lait will always be my favourite so I've planted up a couple more tubers but also I'm really loving this new collection with the peachy Linda's Baby. You can see this post for more dahlia talk from previous years. You've still got time to start your dahlias now if you haven't done already, pot tubers into some damp compost and leave in a warm sunny place until they start shooting leaves. Once the frost risk has passed you can plant them into the ground, or pots outside. Or you can buy ready to plant dahlias. Be sure to use lots of slug protection though and then you should get flowers from July through to the first frosts of Winter, they're prolific flowerers.

// Planting summer tubs; My Mum, Ben and I took our annual trip to Crew's Hill Gardening Club for summer bedding plants last week and filllled the car right up to plant our summer tubs up. Most of our patio tubs are already full of hydrangeas, agapanthus and olive trees which are low maintenance and come back year after year but I like to switch up the tubs by the front door each season. Lots of you were messaging on instagram about which plants for summer tubs, I always like geraniums and some trailing plants like Bacopa or the little daisies. Geraniums are easy, slightly drought tolerant and keep flowering all summer. I've gone for a {predictable} mix of pinks and whites this year. If you keep them in a sunny spot and water/feed them regularly, they'll look good until Autumn.

P.s. extra posts about planting summer tubs from previous years here,  here, and here.

// Troughs for our patio; with our newly finished patio, and fence area, we've planted up some old farm troughs which I actually bought Ben for his Birthday a few years ago when we lived in our old house {and stored them at my parents for a couple of years!}. We always thought we'd use them at our allotment, but then when we moved house and had a bigger garden we wanted to find a use for them here. It wasn't until the patio was finished that we found the perfect spot for them and I'm so pleased with how they finish it all off. When planting any container you need to make sure that there's some drainage at the bottom by drilling some holes, then fill with some polystyrene and soil on top of that. We've then planted rosemary at the front, alliums and agapanthus in the middle and Sarah Raven's foxglove collection at the back which should give height variation and some interest throughout the season. So far the alliums are blooming but then it will be the foxgloves and then the agapanthus. I love the greenery against the panelled fence.

This is the first time I've planted foxgloves into a container, normally I plant them in the flower beds. Just make sure you give them dappled sunlight and plenty of water.

I'll be planting the rest of our cutting garden seedlings at the allotment over the next few days, we've also grown larkspur from seed and have some gladioli bulbs to plant along with all the cosmos seedlings and dahlias. I'm waiting for some Sarah Raven chrysanthemums to arrive - I've never grown them before but the Avignon variety looks like the Chrysanthemum version of my favourite Cafe au Laits {I bought some cut from a flower market last November and they were beautiful} so here's hoping they'll do well!

Our greenhouse is fit to bursting at the moment as we've just started all of our summer veg seedlings like pumpkins, courgettes, kale and beetroot. Along with tomatoes and aubergines which are in the ground.

If you have any other gardening questions please let me know and I'll do my best to put together a blog post.

Also, I'm trying to find out if Sarah Raven is still willing to offer a 20% off discount to you lovely readers - will let you know on Instagram stories if I can source one and then update it on here for you if you're in the mood for online garden shopping.

R <3 xx

{I was gifted some of the plants in this blog post but this is not a sponsored post. I've been ordering from Sarah Raven for years and years. As always, all opinions are my own and I will only ever promote things that I truly love}

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  1. Loved this post Rebecca! I have three huge metal dark water troughs to go on our new patio area & this has really inspired me with what plants might do well in them. This evening I’ll be googling child friendly slug pellets-as I just know tiny blue flecks in the soil will be irresistible to Annie! Xx


    1. You could try nematodes rather than pellets. Slug pellets kill so much more than just slugs!


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