We always have a patch of something sown growing here at Eckards. It’s an easy way to fill gaps or as we like to plant, a big patch to attract pollinators and a bit of envy from the neighbourhood when they see all the colour. Travelling to the Namaqualand on holiday to see the flowers is not always possible but by sowing a patch you can bring that excitement to your own yard.
Nature plants the most seeds in autumn and we should follow her lead. Masses of spring colour will come from seeds, sown this month. Even though instant satisfaction rules there are some things that just have to be seed grown. Water wise African Daisies are the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to loads of colour from seed for spring but that’s not all there is to choose from. We love the tough Bokbaai Vygies, dainty Lineria and the fragrant Virginian Stocks which are just as easy to grow and give you loads of colour the most economical way.
Sowing the best
African Daisies are an indigenous treasure requiring a little attention to get them growing and the absolutely minimal care for the rest of the season. By simply turning the soil raking even and broadcasting the seeds, roughly rake again and water in well, they are set to give you a cheerful display. Don’t add fertiliser or compost and only water daily till germinated. After that just water them once a week to every second week, if you remember. They prefer a less rich soil and survive best with near drought conditions, just like the Namaqualand where they come from.
Plant a show of yellow or orange and if you want a bright contrast consider the white; they sparkle in the winter sun.
Most of the winter into spring flowering seeds are very #waterwise as they grow in winter which for us is a naturally more dry time of the year. Bokbaai Vygies will come up very quickly and give months of bright daisy flowers with very little watering. They need sun or the flowers won’t open and are perfect as a carpet of colour as they grow flat and spread into each other as a border plant.
Virginian stocks are fragrant. In the early morning and late afternoon they fill the air with their sweet sent. Sow them between roses or along the edge of the garden bed where they will find their own way and give you a patch of bright green leaves within days of sowing and flowers within a few weeks. They love the sun but will do very well in a light shade or half day sun.
If you love fairies like we do then plant some Fairy Linaria. They are so easy to grow perfect for introducing children to the wonder of sowing seeds. Their little spires look like fairy castles and in almost any colour the mix is really pretty. Full sun to half sun is best for these little guys.
Once you have prepared the area for them the trick in planting these three is definitely not to “plant” them. It sound crazy but what works best with the fine seed they have is to literally sprinkle them like salt over the area you want to grow them. Follow up with a good watering and the seed will move into the surface by themselves and germination will soon follow.
Seeds need light to germinate and the smaller the seed the closer to the surface they need to be.
Experiment and have fun growing bedding plants from seed. It’s easy and the most economical way to get your winter and spring garden into a riot of gorgeous colour.
We love the fragrance that Sweet Peas bring to the garden. Planted know they need a bit more care that most but the reward is so awesome. Sweet Peas from seed is the best way to get loads of flowers.
As they flower and fill the garden with their perfume they attract not only the planter to the garden but also birds, bees and butterflies along with many other beneficial insects. Sweet peas have tendrils and will attach themselves to most any type of support such as a bamboo tepee or obelisk. Feed them every two weeks and with regular deadheading or cutting for display it will keep them blooming longer.
To grow the best Sweet peas is easy; find our handy guide here.