Barlow Nurseries

Growers of trees, shrubs and hardy herbaceous perennial garden plants near Newport, Shropshire



New beginnings

Maybe it's time we bought a seed sowing machine...

Last week we were mostly sowing seeds…..

And this week we’ve been mostly marvelling at the speed and enthusiasm with which so many of them have germinated.

Sempervivum take the prize for being both the smallest seeds, and the fastest germinators.   Their seed is vanishingly small;  according to the packet the contents weighed just 0.07 grams (¹) and we had to sow this microscopically small quantity into 60 separate plugs.   But barely had the seed  touched the compost than it was showing signs of life – miraculous specs of green were appearing less than 48 hours later.

And most of the rest of the seeds were equally enthusiastic – within the week, the majority of trays were showing green shoots.

Our favourites are always the Lupins – in contrast to the Sempervivums these seeds are huge, and get buried under a thick blanket of vermiculite; when they germinate, more or less in unison, they push their covers aside, and wave flag-like seed leaves to the sky.   Anyone old enough to remember is bound to think “Quatermass”.

They're coming to get you....

For our own sanity we haven’t counted the plugs; there was about 5 man days labour in the sowing – in just a few weeks time we’ll be potting up, and that’s going to take just a bit longer……

(¹) You have to wonder at the technology in use at the seed merchant to weigh and handle such absurdly tiny volumes;  and whether they have to screen their employees for hayfever (the comedic potential for sneezy operators would be huge, though we have to concede Woody Allen got there first – remember the cocaine scene in Annie Hall?).

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