Sunday, 30 January 2011


If only it was but it will be surprisingly soon and with that in mind, us at The Physic Garden have been madly busy all weekend preparing growing sites and potting on seedlings!
And the seedlings were, and hopefully still are, Chillies. Now its a strange thing having a fascination with chilli plants but I think they are fab,both in being beautiful plants and in what they produce. So last year we pottered off to the yearly Chilli Festival at West Dean Gardens, expecting to find lots of chilli plant producers and were slightly shocked that there weren't as many as we thought there would be. Although Michael Michaud was there from Seaspring Seeds and a couple of others it seemed as if there could have been more. And maybe there will be one day as we would love to grow enough to have a stand there, but I doubt that will happen this year...although never say never! It was, however, a good day out and West Dean is an excellent place to visit as it has an amazingly productive veg area and walled garden with the original glasshouses full of wonderfully grown crops. Check out for this years events.
But back to our Chillies. We sowed them in early January and they are all germinating, with Cherry Bomb and Joe's Long now ready for pricking out. I have found from past experience that the earlier they are sown and the longer the season is that you give them the higher the likelihood af getting a decent crop from each plant. Once they have germinated, keep them moist but not wet and keep potting them up as they grow in size. If they are checked in growth you will have problems with them, but by letting the roots keep on growing they will be substantial and well fruiting plants by August and September. Once they start to flower they need a high potash,tomato type, fertilizer, once a week and are happiest in a sunny position somewhere reasonably sheltered. They make great plants for containers but can also be grown in a vegetable plot or as summer/early autumn bedding.
The other exciting thing that happened this week is that Bruce, the lovely partner of Kristi, my lovely partner in crime and plants, took delivery of a greenhouse that he is putting up in his garden for us to use until our premises are up and running. This, dear Bruce, is a formal thank you.
The picture at the top is my allotment in the summer of last year-let the fennel be a warning to you all-2 plants in one year will lead to a whole allotment full if you don't weed out the seedlings-but it does look really pretty..... and kept the weeds at bay!

Thursday, 20 January 2011


Ok,so I have no intention of preaching but at the moment I work for a nursery that buy in all their stock, mostly from abroad and so generally from plant warehouses rather than nurseries and I do not get how that can be good for the environment. Lots of the Dutch/Belgian plant dealers buy in stock that has often originated in the far east,opening up risk of all sorts of pests and diseases appearing that would otherwise never survive the swim from their place of origin. Why do people do this,I ask myself,when there are so many nurseries in the UK that produce beautiful plants that are well grown with care and attention?

The answer,as I see it is this. Proper nursery people are in it for the plants, and lets face it, its really exciting to grow something stunning and never fails to bring a grin on!! But to some plants are merely a commodity to make money and this is so sad I can't even put it into words.So the answer-don't go to places that are plant warehouses, seek out your local nurseries,who will be able to give you more advice than you could ever need, and ask where plants have been bought from. If you don't like the answer then go elsewhere and tell them why!!!!And look out plant fairs where the really small nurseries, including hopefully us at some of them this year,where you can talk plants to your hearts content with lots of different nurserymen. And if you find us there come say hi.

Ok-I'm off the soapbox now and would like to share with all that the Chillis are looking good and at the weekend the sowing bonanza will continue with .......well I'll tell you next time and produce some photos of what's growing now.

In the meantime I'm off to order more seeds, this time from Jungle Seeds who are really worth a look at online I will try to be restrained but chance!!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Fizzy legs

Well what a weekend! Yesterday we visited the Butterflies in the Greenhouse exhibition at RHS Wisley which was absolutely beautiful with butterflies fluttering around everywhere and lots of flowering tropicals and orchids. But a word of warning-get there early as its very popular with young families and much as I love kids......enough said!
So today I have been very busy sowing seeds for the nursery, including lots of Echinaceas,Salvias and Phlomis as well as taking the Chillis we sowed last week out of the propagator and onto a warm windowsill as they have already germinated!!And this afternoon we took our men to see the greenhouse that we hope to be setting the nursery up in and they both seemed reasonably impressed by it and couldn't find a single negative so hurrah to that! I'm am so excited about all this that I seem to have permanently fizy legs just like you get before Christmas when you're a child who still"believes!"
This is a picture of Echinacea purpurea Pow Wow Wild Berry,one of the echinaceas I sowed today.
Plans for the week-keep on sowing!!

Monday, 10 January 2011

The beginning!

So now I need to begin and with what? Well the aim of this blog is to create a record of the beginning of The Physic Garden project, growing herbs and interesting edibles with the emphasis on producing beautiful plants that can also be useful, in either culinary, medicinal or just cultural ways. So to begin we have sown chilli seeds of several varieties and are about to start sowing some perennial herbs like Echinceas and Salvias And we will see how they go! Already some of the chillis have poked their heads up, but then its the hard time, trying to give them enough moisture without them succumbing to damping off disease and then pricking them out before they get too big to separate but not until they are big enough to handle-oh the pressure!!!
And then what? Well i guess some annual herbs and some interesting edibles like aubergines and gourds and some interesting fruit like wild strawberry and lingonberries maybe. In fact feel free to post any ideas!!
And please everyone, feed those garden birds so they come back in the spring and help with the pesr control!!