By Henry Kimber, Founder of Herboo
Herboo was started in the first lockdown in London to inspire people on the path to making a garden in any spot they have, creating seed packets and grows kits tailored to the varying conditions that we all face growing in small gardens. Ahead of Herboo’s Seed and Sprout Swap at our Spring Plant Fair on Sunday 24 April, founder Henry Kimber shares his favourite flower seeds that he is growing in his garden this year.
When I first started Herboo, my partner and I were in a gardenless flat; with just one sunny windowsill to grow on. Like many others, we sought out a garden so that I could spend more time growing. Being the first year in the garden this year, I naturally have gone a bit overboard, expectantly watching what is already growing (we have mountains of hellebores) and cramming every windowsill with sown seeds ready to plant out gradually as we warm up.
Spring can feel like a sprint to get all your prep work done, including the great sowing of seeds. The plant varieties you can sow are in abundance. If you’d like to sow from seeds this year and would like a few ideas, I have pulled together some favourites and why I think they are great.
For fast blooms:
I’m following the well-trodden path for starting a new garden by adding a few annuals to give a burst of colour, height and coverage in the first year of growing. For big height blooms and feathery foliage, Cosmos is my go-to. Cosmos Fizzy Pink (cosmos bipinnatus) is particularly pleasing with pastry-flake like petals.
To get in the ground quick:
If you are like me, you have been tuning into any gardening info you would have heard since the beginning of Spring to sow your sweet peas, and if you are also like me, you need to get that final batch in the ground. Sweet Pea Prince of Orange (Lathyrus odoratus) has a pink-orange blush and is a corker as it climbs. In the Herboo seed collection, we also have Sweet Pea Little Sweetheart (also a Lathyrus odoratus), a dwarf variety that is great for a window box.
For dark and deep colours:
Scabiosa Black Cat (Scabiosa atropurpurea ‘Black Cat’) is one plant I am most looking forward to this year (currently growing their first true set of leaves) This Scabiosa grows dark crimson flowers that look like pincushions. Grow them with other wildflowers for meadow style planting and, of course, enjoy them as cut flowers.
For an easy sprout:
Zinnias are brilliant to sprout from seeds and grow fast into a structured bloom. I am especially keen on Zinnia Zinderella Lilac (Zinnia elegans Zinderella Lilac), with large dome-shaped clusters of lilac flowers that bloom throughout the summer.
For late summer blooms:
At The Chelsea Flower Show in September, in The Yeo Valley Organic Garden designed by Tom Massey, I couldn’t help but notice the distinctive green coned Rudbeckia Herbstonne (Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Herbstsonne’), a confident flower on willowy stems that make for great late summer blooms. I’ve got a couple of these popped in the ground with the hope that I can get them flowering.