During the month of January the weather can be a bit hit and miss. Some days you can get out into the garden to work, most days you cant.... whether it's because of rain or a hard frost, like today. One of the activities I enjoy at this time is all the extra feeding of the garden birds and watching them from the warmth of the house..... another is planning on which seeds I'll be sowing.
I'm particularly fond of Sweet Peas and I've got some different ones to grow this Summer. This one (above) is Royal Family mix.
This one (above) is Air Warden
Above is Old Spice Starry Night
Sweet Peas are so obliging - their germination rate is excellent, they grow well with very little attention, they come in colours to suit everyone and, best of all, the majority of them are scented. Furthermore, the more you pick the flowers, the more they will send out new blooms..... so, throughout the Summer you can have cut flowers for the house and flowers in the garden right up till Autumn. Perfect!
Hyssop officinalis - blue
Hyssop is an evergreen bushy herb that can be used in cooking and for medicinal purposes. The list of its health benefits is endless.... everything from digestive problems to treating wrinkles - think I'll be making myself some hyssop oil this year! I especially want to grow it because it looks pretty and I love the shade of blue of its flowers. I've also got some seeds of the white variety to try as well. I've got a small section of the garden set aside for herbs - it will be growing in amongst lemon balm, parsley, rosemary and angelica.
Borage is another herb with pretty blue flowers. It's sometimes referred to as Starflower because of the shape of the flowers. You can make an infusion with the leaves - it has a subtle cucumber taste and makes a nice refreshing drink for hot Summer days. Both the flowers and leaves can be used in salads and if you pop a flower in each of the ice cube compartments, they make a healthy addition to your drinks. Borage contains a host of vitamins and minerals and is particularly helpful to people with respiratory complaints.
Chicory is a perennial herb. The roots, when ground and roasted, make a healthy substitute for coffee and is said to cleanse the blood and improve the health of the liver. The young leaves can also be used in salads.
Sweet Pea Help for Heroes
The seed and plant company, Mr Fothergills is donating £1 for every packet of Sweet Pea Help for Heroes that is bought, to the charity of the same name. Go here to buy your packet.
I found this lovely poem about the joys of seeds.
He Knows No Winter
He knows no winter, he who loves the soil,
For, stormy days, when he is free from toil,
He plans his summer crops, selects his seeds
From bright-paged catalogues for garden needs.
When looking out upon frost-silvered fields,
He visualizes autumn's golden yields;
He sees in snow and sleet and icy rain
Precious moisture for his early grain;
He hears spring-heralds in the storm's ' turmoil
He knows no winter, he who loves the soil.
SUDIE STUART HAGER