Seedy Sundays - an update from the garden February 05, 2017 12:29

Sowing herb seeds - Denys & FieldingAh Sundays. Love them. This weekend, I've been out in the garden pottering around, willing on Spring. Despite the 'fresh' temperatures, the signs are good - lots of lovely bulbs are emerging from their slumber, looking around the garden with bleary eyes, wondering if it is time to make an appearance. Buds are quietly forming on the trees and shrubs. Like an overly anxious parent, I spent the morning checking up on these small signs of progress. I've also made a couple of last minute moves in the main bed outside the back door, giving more space to overcrowded shrubs. BTW: continue to keep any delicate pots inside. Frosty nights (and possibly days) will still be around for some time. So if you love vintage terracotta pots as much as we do, look after them and keep them wrapped up, and frost free, indoors. 

Cutting back is pretty limited in my garden at this time of year - just a few snips here and there. I prefer to wait another month or two, just in case I do more harm than good. Plus a little bit of disarray in the garden is no bad thing. Our regular guests, a family great tits, are back, scouting the area for a suitable B&B while a seriously passive aggressive robin loves picking around at decaying seed heads and twigs, all the while keeping an eye my efforts with a slight whiff of disdain. 

One job that really makes me feel like the seasons are moving on is the sowing of seeds. Our own mint and rosemary seeds can both be sown this month, and I've made a start today. Rows of seed trays lining up on the window sill reminds me of being a child. There were always plants growing in and around our house, in weird and wonderful places. Window sills in the kitchen teemed with neat rows of seedlings along with my haphazard concoctions of eggshells, cotton wool and cress. Not a lot has changed. 

At this time of year, seeds are a fab, cheap and cheerful way to get underway with the garden. Many varieties prefer starting life inside before making their way outdoors, meaning you can garden in the comfort of your socks - no boots or thermals required. Most packets of seeds contain a seriously large number of seeds - so odds are you'll get all you need and then some. Get organised with friends and family and you can create a little seed collective - sowing different varieties so that you can swap once seedlings are established. Plus, sowing seeds is theoretically a hobby that you can enjoy with your children. Although I warn you, I had this hazy, soft focus view of planting seeds with my boys, but the reality of the experience was quite different. The lack of 'instant results' and the fact that a Pokemon could not be grown, no matter how much water you throw (yes, throw) at a seed tray, did lead to a sense of disappointment and anxiety all round. Sigh. 

Kids aside, sowing seeds is a hobby I'll always love, particularly at this time of year. Days are still dark and grey, but fragile, little shoots of green offer the promise of warmer, sunnier times ahead.