Buy begonias now for a great summer show

Beautiful begonias won't let you down.
Beautiful begonias won't let you down.

SOUTHSEA GREEN: With Irene Strange

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My wife Pam has been really busy in the greenhouse pricking out begonia semperflorens, which is one of the finest bedding plants for the best floral displays.

They never let you down and even last summer when every day was wet the begonias put on the best display.

Have a look at Keydell nurseries at Horndean and you will see there are little trays of seedlings all ready for you to prick out into cells at home.

Sorry, but all the non-stop types have gone. I told you not to forget!

Thank you all for your letters about which compost to use for seed sowing and potting. I couldn’t believe how many comments arrived, but most importantly thank you very much to Barry at Hambledon, Cass at Horndean and Mike in Liverpool. I am glad your sister Alice sends you these articles, Mike.

We bought some Sweet William seeds yesterday. They are brilliant because they fill the gap between spring flowers and the summer displays. The seeds need to be sown now for blooms in the summer of 2014.

The seeds are sown directly into the soil. Simply fork over an area, rake the soil to attain a fine tilth and sow the seeds thinly in lines.

They germinate in 15 days after which they are planted about six inches apart in a sunny spot.

They’re ideal for schools because they flower when the children are still at school during the summer term next year.

Do your grandchildren visit your garden? Well here’s something to try.

Buy a packet of Canterbury bell seeds, a wonderful plant we knew as children that brings back happy


Show the grandchildren how to sow a single seed in one cell of an insert tray.

Use a seed compost and show them how to sow the seeds, first by pouring them into the palms of their hands and watching those delightful little fingers pick out just one seed and place it on to the surface of the compost.

They will then gently push each seed into the cell and a scattering of compost ensures they are covered. The best bit is watering with a rose on a watering can.

Introduce the children to gardening, they will never forget when you showed them how to sow seeds.

Sweet Williams and Canterbury bells are gems that are often forgotten because we are so busy doing other things in the garden.

I love them both – and Rebecca and David, our grandchildren.