Home lifestyle Ease the chill by sowing for brighter days | James Wong

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Ease the chill by sowing for brighter days | James Wong

by Ace Damon
Ease the chill by sowing for brighter days | James Wong

I'm not afraid to admit it. There are some plants with which I have a troubled relationship. While nerinos and amaryllis are some of my favorite garden flowers, for their ability to explode like pastel fireworks below ground in September, their arrival is also an unmistakable confirmation that the dark days of winter are coming. Like the last quick dip in the ocean before catching the flight back home for the summer holidays, it's an emotional trigger for me that the months of sunshine and fun are over and only school and seriousness await.

Fortunately, for us gardeners in good weather, there are some plants you can bring to life now, just as almost everything goes dormant, providing you with a constant reminder of new things to come. Here are some of my favorite flower and vegetable seeds you can plant in the fall.

California Eschscholzia californica poppies are some of the easiest annual plants to sow, providing an orange and yellow flame until late summer. I love them for their ability to establish colorful colonies on the flanks of gravel paths where little else will grow. Although annual (the plants that grow, mature and die in just one growing season), they will happily protect themselves, providing you with generation after generation of color that stops showing.

If you are looking for more traditional poppies, now is also the perfect time to sow field poppies and poppies by simply spreading them over bare patches of well-drained soil that warms in full sun and wateres well. Flowers, marigold and nigella will also be perfect companions for any of the above, offering a variety of contrasting colors and textures from a blend of plants that will be perfectly satisfied living cheek by cheek in the same environmental conditions.

If, however, you are gardening in a more humid and shady place, primroses would be an excellent choice. Its seeds germinate only when exposed to a cold period; therefore, late summer and early fall are the best time to do this, with seedlings springing up the following spring. The most important thing to remember when planting these small seeds, however, is not to cover them, but to spread them directly over the surface of the compost in seed trays or over well-swept soil in shady, open-air locations.

There are even some edibles you can try before the soil cools, including fast-growing crops like radishes and chives, and winter-resistant vegetables like perpetual spinach and broad beans. So if you, like me, have always found the first fall of autumn flowers a bittersweet experience, think of them as your green light to start a new cycle of color and flavor in the coming months.

Send an email to James at james.wong@observer.co.uk or follow him on Twitter@Botanygeek

. (tagsToTranslate) Gardening Advice (t) Life and Style (t) Gardens

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