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It's winter...it's cold....it's wet...get sowing

It's winter...it's cold....it's wet...get sowing
Winter can be a quiet time of year for gardeners, but not for those of us who like to start sowing early.  

  • Early sowing maximises the use of your growing space throughout the year, and plants flower earlier than normal when sown in winter.  Succession sowing, where you sow batches of the same seed two or more weeks apart, delivers a longer flowering season. 

  • Early sowing is very useful for some perennials, which flower in the first year when sown early, when you may normally have to wait for a second season of growth for flowers. 

  • For early sowing you need a greenhouse or some windowsill space.  You need to provide some heat to encourage the seeds to germinate, and a propagator can be very helpful.  

  • Damping off diseases can be an issue with seed sowing at this time of year.  These diseases cause the death of seedlings below and above the soil.  Clean trays and fresh bagged compost help to keep this under control.  Controlling the moisture levels of seed trays also reduces damping off and rotting of seeds.  

  • With winter comes lower light levels and young seedlings need light to thrive.  Choose a sunny windowsill or greenhouse to grow them on once you have transplanted the seedlings into small pots.  Grow lamps are especially useful at this time of year, encouraging the seedlings to grow faster and stronger.

 Cup and Saucer Vines like an early start indoors

Try sowing these seeds indoors in winter:

-Cup and Saucer Vine (half hardy annual/perennial)
-Delphiniums (1st year flowering perennial)
-Scabious (1st year flowering perennial)
-Cleome (half hardy annual)

And for sowing outdoors in a greenhouse in winter:

-Verbena (1st year flowering perennial)
-Icelandic Poppies (1st year flowering short-lived perennial)
-Linaria (hardy annual)
-Sweet Peas (hardy annual)

  Sweet Peas germinate well in a cool greenhouse


Created On  7 Jan 2022 15:54  -  Permalink
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Processing Angel's Fishing Rod seeds

Processing Angel's Fishing Rod seedsBehind the scenes at PlantGenesis this week.



We have been processing Angel's Fishing Rod seeds in preparation for packing.  Those of you who save seed will know it is a much bigger job drying and cleaning seeds than most people anticipate.  When you open a packet of seeds you expect it to be free of chaff.  Clean seeds store better, free from disease, and are easier to handle when sowing.

These Dierama pulcherrimum seeds have been grown in Cornwall and harvested this autumn.  Please get in touch if you have expertise in growing particular flowers or herbs, are based in Great Britain, and would like to grow for us.



Created On  31 Dec 2021 16:32  -  Permalink
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Grow Your Own Dried Flowers

Grow Your Own Dried FlowersIt is easy to grow dried flowers from seed. Now (May and early June) is a good time to start. Many dried flowers are sown from seed in the late spring.  This is because sowing can be done straight into the garden, rather than starting indoors earlier in seed trays. The plants grow quickly in the warm spring sunshine and look great in the summer. They are then harvested for dried flowers that deliver a long-lasting indoor display over winter.

To Try

Here are a few to try this year:

Helichrysums or Strawflowers – These are some of the best ‘Everlasting’ flowers to grow from seed. They are available in a wide range of colours. The 'Choice Mixed'  variety is good if you are looking for a range of colours for dried flowers. Or choose individual shades for your borders and if you are growing for an event. ‘Silvery Rose’ and ‘White’ are popular varieties for wedding flowers.


A mix of Helichrysums and Limonium flowers


Sea Lavender – Also known as Statice and Limonium. These are slender and ethereal plants with attractive sprays of flowers, often splashed with white. Try Apricot for a warm winter colour. Or Iceberg for wedding flowers.

Poppies – Annual poppies are one of the easiest plants to grow from seed. Let the flowers open fully and fade away, as you pick the seedpods for drying rather than the fresh flowers. Poppy ‘Danish Flag’ is a good choice. Or try a paeony poppy called ‘Paeony Scarlet’. Perennial Oriental Poppies and Icelandic Poppies also grow attractive seedpods. ‘Icelandic Mix’ is one of the best poppies to grow in a garden as they have a long flowering period.


Poppy 'Icelandic Mix'


Dried poppy seadheads


Quaking Grass – Grass flowers add movement and drama to a dried flower arrangement. They can also be added to fresh flowers to mix up the colours and textures.


Briza media flowers

To Grow

The ‘wildflower’ approach: Choose your packets of seeds and mix the seeds together in a bowl. Clear a sunny section or ‘river’ of soil within your garden. Clear the section of weeds and prepare a seedbed. Scatter the seeds into the seedbed, rake over and water. The seeds germinate in 1-3 weeks depending on the air temperature. The colourful mix of flowers can look dazzling, verging on gaudy, so it is a matter of taste and artistic flair. Sow more than you need if you are looking for a strong floral display in your garden, as flowers for drying are picked early, and you leave the excess in the garden to flower on into autumn.

The ‘organised approach’: Flowers grown for picking are traditionally grown in rows in the productive part of a garden. Or they can be sown in individual groups or drifts of colour in your garden - you sow one variety of seed at a time. If using this approach, prepare drills in the soil, or circles or crosses, and sow each packet of seed sparingly into each drill. Cover the seed lightly with soil and water. This approach gives you more control of the timing, colours and quantity of flowers you want to grow. It also helps with weeding as it is easier to distinguish weed from seed when the seedlings are small.

To Pick and Dry

Time the picking of the flowers carefully. Helichrysums are best picked just before opening fully and Sea Lavender when just opened and fresh. Poppies are left on the stems until the pods have turned from green to brown. Quaking grass are best picked once fully formed and before autumn wet sets in. Pick long straight stems, tie them together in small loose bunches and hang upside down in a cool and dry place away from direct sunshine. Avoid direct sun as this causes the colours to fade. The flowers dry over a period of a few weeks.
Created On  21 May 2021 17:00  -  Permalink
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Success with Salvia seeds

Success with Salvia seeds

Thanks to customer Roman for sending in a photo of his Salvia seedlings today, less than one week after sowing.  25 seedlings from 26 seeds is a good result and I like to celebrate the green fingers of our lovely customers!



He has sown Salvia 'Victoria Blue', and the seedlings grow into plants with beautiful blue flowers next summer.



 Salvia 'Victoria White' is another in the same series, with plants looking great growing together in drifts or blocks of colour.



Created On  18 Sep 2020 12:58  -  Permalink
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Plants at the Veryan & Portloe Store

Plants at the Veryan & Portloe StoreWe have a small number of spare plants available in our local shop.  We normally put them out from March to when the bad weather sets in (mostly October).  This year we chose Monday 16th March to get started - the sunniest day of the year so far, and the first dry day for a month!  Drop by the Veryan & Portloe Store to have a browse.

Alongside us you will find the beautiful flowers and vegetables produced by our local Calendra Collective.

Created On  17 Mar 2020 8:57  -  Permalink
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Find our seeds and trays at the Veryan & Portloe Store

Find our seeds and trays at the Veryan & Portloe StoreA reminder to our local customers and visitors that PlantGenesis seeds are available at the Veryan & Portloe Store here in The Roseland, Cornwall.  If you can't find what you are looking for, please visit our website for lots more seeds, which are delivered free to TR2 postcodes in The Roseland.  Remember to select the 'Free Delivery' option when checking out.

Alongside the seeds are Steve's sturdy wooden seed trays for those of you wanting to reduce the use of plastic in the garden.  Made here in Cornwall from larch.  Get one here.

Our 'polyhouse' delivers a few plants each year raised from germination tests and cuttings.  They are mostly grown by us, but not all, as some are handed on from friends and fellow plant enthusiasts, so we have quite an eclectic range at times!  They will appear in front of the shop in the next few weeks.  Watch our blog, Facebook and Instagram for their arrival. 





Created On  6 Mar 2020 17:50  -  Permalink
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