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Orange Mesembryanthemums

Orange Mesembryanthemums


The Livingstone Daisy, or Mesembryanthemum crinifolium to give it a posh Latin name, is a bright multi coloured annual that has leaves like a succulent. Sometimes the vibrant colours are just too much of a good thing and I was please to find seeds were available in single Orange and Apricot colours. May be other ranges will soon follow.

These ‘Apricot Shimmer’ seeds were sown in late March in individual modules and planted out at the end of May. The seed was last years so I wasn’t sure about germination rates but with so many seeds in one packet (2000+) there is no need for concern and each module has several seeds.

Mesembryanthemums can be tiresome to prick out so I don’t bother, just nip out weak plants to get one per module. This makes them easy to plant out too. In summers gone-by my wife has spent hours individually separating and planting Mesembryanthemums. Inside a week the plants are a host of flowers and they look very good in a block of one colour.

Now I have to find a colour that will contrast with them as they are quite in-your-face.

Gardeners Tips –

  • Your time is more valuable than the price of a packet of seeds.
  • You don’t need 100% success rate from seeds your garden probably isn’t big enough.
  • A good big one beats several small ones.
Seed Suppliers and Specialties

Seed Suppliers and Specialties

Membership of a garden society can be a good source of good value seeds.
Not all seed companies are the same and many have distinctive specialties.
The big well known brands generally have a full range of annuals, perennials and odd selections. Most now offer higher value items including plugs and kinder or pot plants.

Many brands are now owned by the same company and the niche suppliers often offer more seed or better products in a narrower focused  range.

Choice Seed Companies

  • Thompson & Morgan wildflowers and  thousands of varieties of seeds with useful germination  guide available online.
  • Boston Seeds – Online seed shop offers grass seed mixtures for lawns, paddocks, sport, plus agricultural seed and wildflower seed. Volume orders
  • The Chilli Company – Sells a variety of hot chilli seeds including ‘Brain strain’ and collections to take advantage of a current trend for growing Hot Chillies
  • Chiltern seed  new web site but the old catalogue has flowery descriptions and an excellent range – no photos but great mail order catalogues
  • D. T. Brown and Co. Ltd. – Offers a range of flower and vegetable seeds, including organics. Order catalogue online.
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French Marigold ‘Striped Marvel’

French Marigold ‘Striped Marvel’

As gardeners recover from the time spent watching the Olympics spare a thought for the French. OK long enough!
On the other hand spare a thought for French Marigolds available in mixed combinations of Yellow, Red and Orange and even the stripe marvels shown in our photos.

Golden Acre french marigold

French Marigold ‘Striped Marvel’

Marigold ‘Striped Marvel’ aka Tagetes patula or French Marigold
Each petal is evenly divided by a red and yellow stripe and this produces a thoroughly eye-catching effect.
The bushy, uniform plants produce masses of flowers, excellent for bedding and particularly good for cutting, lasting well in water.
Occasional all yellow blooms are produced through climate stress and collected seed may not come true next year.

Thompson & Morgan

Golden Acre french marigold

Many varieties of Frwench Marigold, including Striped Marvel, are available from Thompson & Morgan.

Growing French Marigolds

  • Sow during March-April in trays, pots, etc of good seed compost in a propagator or warm place to maintain an optimum temperature of 70-75F (20-25C).
  • Sowing 1/8 inch deep. Germination usually takes 7-21 days.
  • Transplant seedlings when large enough to handle. Harden off and plant out when all risk of frost has passed 12in apart in full sun.
  • Beware of slugs they love the aromatic leaves of these Marigolds.
  • French Marigold ‘Striped Marvel’ grow to a height of 24-30in. and flower from mid summer until September.
November’s Backend Bonanza

November’s Backend Bonanza

Americans call it ‘Fall’ and the Brits call it ‘Autumn’ but November’s ‘Backend’ can produce a garden Bonanza.
These flowers are still showing their true colours despite all that our English weather has been able to throw at them.

November Cyclamen

You can tell the leaves know it is fall and the Cyclamen hederifolium know it is autumn and time to flower.

November Fucshia

Dollar Princess was a group of Fucshias I received as cuttings. It took awhile for the flowers to arrive but the late profusion is very welcome.

November Hydrangea

A bit over blown and beginning to loose their colour the Hydrangeas have enjoyed our wet season this year. The reward is going to be a winter windfall of flower.

November Dahlia

The Dahlias have also been a stroke of luck, lasting very well without as much deadheading as they should have received.

November Lobelia

The annual Lobelia has surprised my with its deep blue colouring that has lasted all through summer. It may be the autumn light but the intensified colouring seems to have strengthened as the seasons moved on.

For next year I will try some more Lobelia seeds from Thompson & Morgan

Beginners Seed Tips

Beginners Seed Tips

Easy Annuals ‘Fairy Mixed‘    by Thompson Morgan

Beginners and novices can grow some colourful annuals quickly and cheaply. If the packet instructions says ‘can be sown direct outdoors then do so when the soil warms up.  If you want to get a quick start use a tray on a warm window ledge.

Starting  with Seeds

  • Always read the instructions on the packet of seeds.
  • Use a good quality seed or potting compost with a level surface.
  • Water with a fine spray and leave to drain.
  • Scatter seed evenly or place individual seeds in each cell and use a clear lid to maintain humidity.
  • Maintain an even temperature, generally 20º C will suit most seeds but again read the instructions.
  • Allow air to circulate once leaves start to appear.

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