Happy New Year! Yep, it’s the start of another one. December was a bit of a mischief wasn’t it? A few thumping cold nights and the first end of year snow for a while. Our big Christmas seller was fleece. It was at close, an interesting year. I always think January is an exciting month, a month for planning and buying in readiness for the new season. I spend hours poring over catalogues, looking for things that are new and different. As I mentioned last month most seed firms display their catalogues online, with paper copies becoming more of a rarity. The seed industry is flagging up 2018 as the Year of the Marigold for some reason, but the real growth in my eyes is with Petunias, there are an astonishing number and some really lovely varieties.
If you are into your flowers check out Gaillardia Mesa too, what a delight that series is with some stunning sunshine shades. On the vegetable front, seed companies are promoting more depth in every area. One firm I looked at offers sixteen types of beetroot. Across the board, depth is the keyword, dozens of different Tomatoes, Chillis, Lettuce, wherever you look the choice is huge. Is 21 varieties of carrot in one catalogue a record? In my camp of course, the big thing is spuds and stock is arriving every day. Ok, I admit it, we get carried away with range too. This year my eyes are on ‘Kennebec’ a big potato with an interesting pedigree. The official catalogue description is ‘hefty’. The variety is favoured by giant veg growers, but don’t be put off it does have a flavour. If you want to actually plant something (weather permitting), then onion sets, shallots and garlic can all be considered as the month moves on and as always, I am playing with a pinch of lettuce on the window sill. If they are only nipped off for a sandwich, they will be appreciated. The new season is only days away.
And finally, I’ve been looking at summer bulbs. We all do traditional autumn things, like daffs and crocus, but apart from Dahlias the summer bulbs are not well explored. So this year, I am going to play with some that I have never grown before and that will be wonderful, if they look half as good as the picture suggests. So Hymenocalis, Tigridia and Galtonia were all on my Christmas list.