GO SOW THE SEED AND HOPE TO WIN THE GERMINATION GAME

GROWING plants from seeds gives me a lot more pleasure than buying them mature and sticking them into the soil.

Why? Because you are there, right from the start, nurturing the tiny seedlings through their crucial, early days until they become stronger and self-sufficient.

In short, seed-sowing offers so much more satisfaction because you’re in for the longer haul and, when that first flower unfolds, you can gaze with pride and declare: “All my own work.”

And it’s so much cheaper!

Plant World Seeds has one of those catalogues that leave me quite engrossed during a spot of bedtime reading. Annuals and perennials from around the globe, from Acaena Blue Haze to Zinnia Purple Prince, followed by climbers, trees and shrubs, grasses and a bounteous array of veg, Plant World seems to have the lot.

Based in Newton Abbot, Devon, and situated on a supreme site overlooking the stunning Teign Valley, the family-run firm has produced a lively, 72-page catalogue for 2019 and – in a generous touch – only charges £2 per order for postage.

Now 33 years old, Plant World has often been dubbed Devon’s Little Outdoor Eden, reflecting the four acres of landscaped gardens being constructed as home to the five continents, while the nursery itself contains a wealth of rare and exotic plants seldom seen outside their native lands.

Among PW’s long-term work is that with erysimums, previously known as cheiranthus.

These are best-known as biennial wallflowers, normally planted out in autumn to bloom the following spring and then pulled up.

Plant World’s owner Ray Brown and his team have developed varieties that live for several years and come in all colours and sizes from 6in to nearly 3ft high. Jumbo Orange is the lofty one, long-lived, evergreen, shrubby and bearing fragrant bright orange flowers.

Other 2019 debutantes: Dahlia Autumn Dazzlers – a new generation of tall, elegant dahlias hybridised at Plant World. Hardy, single forms with the occasional dark-leafed specimen, make solid, almost shrubby, plants, flowering endlessly until the first frosts.

Erigeron alpinus Mauvette: Recently developed is this beautiful dwarf alpine (4in), adored by butterflies and bees, with golden-eyed mauve daisies that are darker than the species and happy to bloom from late spring to early summer.

Tomato Sweet Valentine: A well-branched bush F1 patio-type with a compact self-mounding or cascading habit full of attractive heat-shaped fruit and growing to between 12in-16in.

Sweetcorn Incredible: A sugar-enhanced mid-season variety, also an F1 hybrid, this is a reliable heavy cropper with a fabulous flavour. Plants show good tolerance of common rust which is a boon in wet summers.

For anyone new to seed sowing, the important lesson is: Don’t lose patience just because germination hasn’t happened.

Many hardy perennials can be notoriously slow to break dormancy, some will take several months, while others even need a spell in the fridge, paradoxically to wake them up.

Follow carefully the instructions on the packet and you’re sure to . . . suc-ceed!

⏩⏩➡» Plant World’s website has been drastically overhauled for increased mobile-friendliness and now features around six times more items listed than on paper. Go to www.plant-world-seeds.com

⏩⏩➡» Seed specialities: From top and clockwise – Erysimum Jumbo Orange, dahlia Autumn Dazzlers, erigeron Mauvette, the new catalogue, sweetcorn Incredible, tomato Sweet Valentine.

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