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Autumn sowings


By hywel


I don’t usually sow seeds in the autumn but last year I thought I’d try it with some Sweet Peas, Wallflowers, Canterberry Bells, Bellis and Sweet Williams, and keep them in a perspex shelter at the side of my shed (old garage).

The Sweet Peas grew very tall so I cut them back in November and I think they need cutting back again.

The Sweet Williams, C Bells and Bellis are doing fine, but the Wallflowers were being eaten by slugs, so being they were inside the shelter I put a few ‘friendly’ slug pellets with them.
However they still got eaten – the slugs were so small they could dodge the pellets and get to the seedlings to devour them.

Also one day the tray of Wallflower seedlings fell upside-down on the floor and most of the uneaten ones got squashed !
I’ve been able to save three …

I haven’t watered the seedlings for a long time. I didn’t do so because it was too cold, and although they are inside the shelter it still gets very cold and I didn’t want the water to freeze in the pots.
But the Sweet Williams were wilting, so a few days ago I brought them into the house and gave them some water.

Today I think I’ll bring the Sweet Peas into the house and water them – they are wilting – and keep them indoors until the weather warms up a bit.

I won’t be sowing seeds in the autumn again, it’s too much worry :D

More blog posts by hywel

Previous post: Autumn flowers in my garden

Next post: Colouring up the winter ...



Good for you Hywel. I hope your wallflowers survive.
I only buy plugs now and then pot them on.

12 Jan, 2024


Sorry to hear about your problems with your seed sowing, Hywel!

The seeds you sowed should have been sown several months earlier. Late August/early September are ideal times to sow them.

I sowed some Sweet Williams about 3 years ago, in late July I think. They didn't grow as big or as strong as I expected but I did get some flowers the following year. I planted them in the church gardens & a few on the balcony. The ones on the balcony I didn't keep for a 2nd year of flowers but planted them in the church gardens as well.

Bi-annuls flower too late for our balcony so I mostly use annuls or bi-annuls like Pansies or Violas & treat them like annuals.

12 Jan, 2024


yes I myself planted bedding , however our back is too shady and too wet in winters , if not wet too cold . A lot of things also have vine weevil .

I hope you do get some success with what you have brought inside .

12 Jan, 2024


That’s good advice Hywel … thanks. Autumn sowing sounds a lot of trouble, but sometimes it’s difficult to wait isn’t it. I’ll do my best to wait until March … 🙂.

12 Jan, 2024


Sounds like there’s a jinx on your Wallflowers Hywel. I do hope some survive for you. Lot of bother though isn’t it, keeping things going through the winter.

12 Jan, 2024


I've tried s. peas this year. So far they have escaped snails etc. They are in the g'house rather than the coldframe, though. I have had not much success with getting seedlings through the winter either - mainly due to slug damage or (mea culpa) neglect!

12 Jan, 2024


Hello Hywel sounds like you have had a busy time spent on autumn sowings - the magazines and books make it sound easy when in fact it is not - because it seems to me if one thing doesnt get the seeds whether it be the mouse - snails or acute damp - something else will - this year I am overwintering plants in the conservatory and utility and will take cuttings later and my sweet peas this year will be sown Feb/March in the greenhouse - my streps cuttings are on the kitchen and landing window sill and seem to be ok - happy gardening - Jane

13 Jan, 2024


Thanks for all your comments :)

I enjoy sowing seeds but usually do so in the spring, and that's what I'll continue doing in future.

I've got more things to sow in the spring but they are tender ones.

Good luck with all your plants, whether from seeds cuttings or plugs, this coming year. It's exciting looking ahead :)

13 Jan, 2024


"Good luck with all your plants, whether from seeds cuttings or plugs, this coming year. It's exciting looking ahead :) "

It is exciting, looking forward to growing things in the spring!

Today I have seen lots of Snowdrops - for the first time this winter! Our local gardeners, together with schoolchildren often, split up clumps after they have finished flowering & then replant them in small groups elsewhere.

13 Jan, 2024


I don't sow seeds once the Spring bulb planting season starts, I can't resist topping up my bulb stock when I see them being sold in the Autumn, but it takes me all my spare time to plant those! I love to have a bowl of hyacinths in the mezzanine windowsill in late Winter, the house is open plan so their perfume drifts everywhere and their blooms give a splash of colour when the World is looking rather drab both indoors and out. I also grow small bulbs in pots and plant them outside after their first flush of flowers. That said, this year the house is bereft of bulbs, when I would have been planting them I was on crutches following a hip replacement operation. It's probably just as well because things haven't gone smoothly and I am still wobbling around and using a walking stick so they wouldn't have received the usual care. I do miss them though and am itching to sow some seeds!

13 Jan, 2024


Sorry to hear about your health problems, Xela & I hope you will recover quickly.

A couple of years we had Hyacinths in pots in our living room table & they fill the flat with their fragrance! But I do have a few outside on the balcony & they are starting to break through the compost in the pots.

14 Jan, 2024


Planted some sweet pea seeds few years ago, varied success, top of the garden seeds done lot better than the bottom, but what did flourish was well worth the effort, starting to see a few spring bulbs start to appear over last few weeks, but like xela still hobbling a wee bit after new hip 6 weeks ago, still feel like getting there and hopefully another month should see lot more improvement

15 Jan, 2024


I'm sorry you haven't got bulbs this year Xela, and I hope your mobility will improve soon.

Nice you've seen Snowdrops already Balcony, and I'm glad you have some bulbs appearing on your balcony.

I'm glad to hear you're improving Daveymad, and it's nice you've got some bulbs appearing.

16 Jan, 2024

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