It’s been a fairly wet, warm and windy February – we had a short cold snap but it didn’t really stick here in Scotland. The bulbs I planted have all started to come up – even the tulips, which I thought I wouldn’t see for another month or so.
As per my own sowing calendar, found here, I’ve already started getting my seeds in for a large number of plants. Balancing window space at this time of year can be a problem so I wanted to get things moving along – even if it does mean some young plants are a little spindlier than I’d like.
As well as the burgeoning pile of seeds, I also have my potatoes in the window to chit. This year I’m growing Arran Victory and Epicure again, and trying Kestrel. Much as I loved my Salad Blue potatoes I think Andy was a little weirded out by blue mash and gnocchi I made with them so I went for more traditionally coloured ones this year. The Arran Victory potatoes have a lovely red skin, but they have a ‘normal’ creamy interior. They also make amazing mash and roast potatoes! Epicure performed well for me last year and is a great tasting first early. I was born in Ayrshire and I grew up eating them as they are the seed used for ‘Ayrshire new potatoes’ – so I may be a little biased ;)
This little sliver of ground between the path and wall has always looked slightly drab at this time of year. The foxgloves have gone a ways to helping brighten it up in summer but at the moment, as you can see, they’re just fresh little rosettes. The crocuses peeping up between them couldn’t have worked better – they contrast well with the bright, young foxgloves in a delicate way.
Some other splashes or colour are just starting to show now, too – the ‘Victorian Lace’ primrose is one I’m particularly happy to see. I got it last year, rescued from a reduced price shelf, just before I went into hospital. Andy did a sterling job of watering all my plants whilst I was in for the unexpectedly long stay but this little primrose happened to have been left in the hallway for later planting – behind a door and not easily visible… and so it was forgotten. When I got home it was a sad, wilted thing but I knew primroses were made of sterner stuff so I popped it in the ground and watered it well – it thrived, putting on a lot of leaf, and is now rewarding our neglect with it’s funky, distinctive little flowers.
The not-quite-so-colourful last picture is also something I’m quite chuffed with – it’s open pollinated viola seed from the garden. I’ve never grown my own from seed but decided this year that I had to give it a go – I realised I should be able to grow my own bedding a lot more cheaply (and with more variety) than if I bought it. Even if it doesn’t work out superbly, it’s more experience with growing a wider range of plants! I’m trying out viola, as mentioned, lobelia (both cascading and mounding types), french marigolds, coleus and aquilegia and, possibly, some poached-egg plant if I can find the space.