Great Ways to Find the Best Seeds for Your Garden

seeds

There’s something truly satisfying about growing your flowers, vegetables, herbs and other plants from seeds, but if you’re just starting out or if your budget’s a bit tight, you may not have the seeds you want. Don’t be disheartened–there are many ways to get the best seeds for your garden for free or at really low prices. Here are just some of them!

Order online

Shopping online via gardening websites and catalogs is a fast and convenient way to find the best seeds for your garden. Many garden catalog companies offer money off your first order when you sign up. Gardening sites also offer discounts on seed packets especially if you buy in bulk, while others provide free shipping and even free samples when your order reaches a certain amount. Check for promotions every now and then for seed giveaways!

Register in gardening forums

Almost all gardening forums such as Gardenweb UK have seed exchange threads, where members offer seeds for swapping or for free. For those who are just trying out their hand at making their own garden, joining a forum provides benefits such as gardening tips, a supportive community, and yes, free seeds.

Be on the lookout for listings marked “for SASE” where all you need to do is send a self-addressed stamped envelope and get it back with free seeds. Make sure the envelop has your name and address and that the stamps will cover the cost of postage. You’ll be surprised at the number of experienced gardeners willing to part with their beloved heirloom seeds to help a new gardener out.

Join local gardening clubs or organisations

If your community has plenty of gardens, chances are there’s a local gardening club as well. These organisations may host gardening events and seed exchanges where you can get seed samples and learn more about seed varieties.

Seed swaps usually happen in late winter or early spring, when the gardening community get together and exchange seeds saved from the previous year. Technically you’ll need seeds in order to participate in a seed swap, but some swap meets may also have plenty of free seeds to give away to new gardeners. Attending these events is also a great opportunity to meet other garden-lovers and get tips for your garden.

Ask for free seeds

Another way to get seeds for your garden for free is to take up winter sowing, where you sow seeds outdoors in the winter using small plastic containers and letting nature do the rest. You can check out the WinterSown.org website to read more about winter sowing and request for seeds. You can then send a self-addressed stamped envelope and you’ll receive seed packets that are suitable for winter sowing in your region.

Save your own seeds

If you already have a garden, the cheapest way to get seeds is actually to save your own. Let a few of your plants go to seed so you can get fresh seeds from them. Learn how to properly retrieve the seeds and dry them out for planting the next year.

 

 

 

Which Flowers Will Suit You Best In The Spring?

spring flowers

Before the hot and humid summer days arrive, enjoy the bright colours and fresh scents that spring blooms can bring. If you’re planning which flowers to plant that will be perfect for springtime, here are some of the best varieties chosen by gardening experts themselves. For best results, visit your local garden centre to know which flowers bloom best in your region.

Wallflower ‘Bowles’s Mauve’

Bowles’s Mauve blooms from spring until late autumn. Plant it where there’s plenty of sun and good drainage, and this bushy wallflower will soon give you colourful sprays of purple flowers amidst grey-green foliage.

Pieris DX

The shiny leaves of the pieris shrub are green all year round, bringing cheer to the winter gloom. Come spring, the plant starts to change–you’ll see plumes of pink and red leaves with small creamy white flowers shaped like a bell, adding to its springtime charm.

Forsythia

You’ll know it’s really spring when the forsythia blooms in a blaze of gold. This flower keeps on blooming until April. It dulls down a bit and then, come autumn, the leaves turn purple, red or orange depending on variety.

Crocus chrysanthus

This silvery blue crocus also known as Blue Pearl adds sparkle in the early spring under full sun. Small but wonderful at only 7 centimetres high, the Blue Pear complements bright oranges, yellows and purples such as daffodils and Bowles’s Mauve. Crocus vernus, another crocus variety that’s also known by the name Pickwick, is another spring flower that adds a delicate purple hue.

Magnolias

A garden favourite, magnolias come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from potted plants perfect for patios to full-sized trees for dainty gardens. Gardeners agree that magnolias work best as a feature, the stars of the show, so make sure you plant them at a central location instead of hiding them away. The most popular small variety is the Magnolia stellata with its star-shaped blooms, while another striking variety is the Black Lily Magnolia with its deep purple hues.

Arrowwood Park Farm Hybrid

Known for its spicy-sweet fragrance and deep pink buds that grow to apple-white flowers, this Arrowwood hybrid (Viburnum x burkwoodii) is a perfect addition to a spring garden. Shiny green leaves add charm to this 3-metre-high plant, so make sure you plant it where it can be best appreciated.

Camellias

These flowering shrubs are evergreen, which means they bring colour in winter and bloom with spring flowers as early as February. Considered early flowering shrubs, camellias should be planted in spots that provide shelter so the buds don’t get damaged by frost. Experienced gardeners suggest planting Camellia x williamsii varieties because these need less sunshine than other varieties such as the Camellia japonica.

Other spring flowers

These flowers are the first to bloom in the spring: small daffodils, Iris reticulata, scilla, anemone and pussy willow. In mid-spring, the larger daffodil varieties such as the Mount Hood and King Alfred announce their presence. Tulips, rhododendron and azaleas also start to grow. Hyacinths and primroses also grace gardens with their colours and scents. In late spring, the fragrant lily of the valley and the delicate saucer magnolia start to bloom, along with lilac, spiracea and peony shrubs.

 

How to Use Vases and Pots for Your Flowers

vases and pots

Vases and pots can make or break a flower arrangement. Conversely, a pretty vase or charming pot can add beauty to an otherwise so-so bunch of flowers. While some people have a knack for arranging flowers in vases, others find it hard to arrange bouquets in a way that looks nice.

Vases and pots come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s possible that the flowers that they have just aren’t a proper fit for the containers they use. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at how you can use vases and pots for your flowers to show them off in the best way possible.

Column vases

Column vases are best for flowers with long stems. Strip the foliage of the stems but leave the flower and other leaves you’d like to highlight. It’s important to cut the flowers to a similar stem height initially. It’s much easier to shorten the stems as you go. Insert a few stems of foliage first to serve as anchor for the rest of the arrangement. Next, insert the longest flowers or the ones you want to stand out the most. Keep adding flowers. Work in a circle to make sure you cover every angle and add a few strands of ivy around the stems to cover them.

Cylinder vases

Similar to column vases but circular, cylinder vases have straight sides and are best for highlighting big bunches of flowers, or blooms with unusual shapes such as grape hyacinths and tulips.

Bottle-shaped vases

These vases have a long, narrow neck, making these suitable for flowers with slim stems. When you want to come up with a dramatic, minimalist effect without big blooms or foliage, using a bottle-shaped vase is the way to go.

Flared vases

They look nice, but flared vases don’t give much structure to floral arrangements. For flared vases, florists recommend making a bouquet first by pairing some foliage with the flower you want to highlight. Hold the bouquet with one hand while adding flowers at a sharp angle with your dominant hand. Rotating the bouquet as you add flowers will soon give you a pyramid-shaped bunch. Tie the bouquet with twine before inserting it into the flared vase.

Pitchers

Pitchers make for charming vases. For glass pitchers, florists suggest keeping arrangements loose, elegant and simple with flowers such as alchemilla and sweat pea. Loose bouquets work best. For ceramic pitchers where the stems are hidden or disguised, it would be better to create focus on the flowers–a big bouquet of hydrangeas tied with twine, for example. To prevent flowers from flopping over to one side, use a flower frog to keep stems upright and in place.

Small pots

Small pots, even empty jam jars, work best for small arrangements with different flower and herb varieties. Using three or more small pots adds a certain dainty charm to a small space such as a a small coffee table or kitchen counter where you don’t really want a big vase. On a dinner table, small pots add colour without getting in the way of conversation.