There's nothing to cheer you up in January like the arrival of the new Chiltern Seeds catalogue - especially when they have REALLY kindly offered to sponsor your project for another year. Since the start of What Will The Harvest Be? they have been providing about 90% of all the seeds and hence the produce we grow ... they are a really lovely company, based up near Karen in Cumbria.
Hamish put together this years order and Andreas and I then promptly added stuff ... here for the nerdy is what will hopefully be winging our way this year. If you want some gardening inspiration I would really recommend their on-line catalogue here: http://www.edirectory.co.uk/chilternseeds/
Aubergine f1 hybrid 'Farmers long'
Anise Basil 'Genovese'
Beetroot 'Pronto', 'Detroit globe', 'Chioggia', 'Boltardy' & 'Bulls Blood'
Beans (Dwarf French) 'Annabel' 'Canadian wonder' 'Safari' 'Slenderette'
Broccoli 'Early purple sprouting'
Celery 'Golden self blanching'
Carrot 'Autumn king', 'Touchon', 'Amsterdam forcing'
Coriander 'Slow bolt', 'Cilantro'
Cabbage 'Flower of spring' Savoy 'Rigoletto'
Chinese cabbage 'Michihili'
Chard 'Rainbow mixed'
Courgette 'Black beauty dark fog' 'Gold rush'
Capsicum (sweet) 'California wonder'
Capsicum (hot) 'Etna'
Florence fennel 'Romanesco'
Kohl rabi 'Delicacy purple' 'Superschmelz' (Dasha's favourite vegetables)
Kale 'Cavelo nero' (one of my requests!)
Leeks 'Farinto' 'Blue solaise'
Lettuce (early) 'Marvel of four seasons', 'All the year round', Butter head 'Salad bowl',Loose leaf Lettuce (summer) 'Catalogna', Loose leaf 'Lakeland', Crisp head 'Forellenschluss', Cos 'Lollo rossa', Loose leaf Lettuce (Late) 'Arctic king'
Liquorice (A project for Andreas)
Mustard greens 'Green in the snow'
New Zealand spinach
Onion Salad 'Redmate'
Orache 'Red plume'
Pak choi 'Canton dwarf'
Parsley 'Plain leaf' 'Champion moss curled'
Parsnip 'White king'
Radish 'White icicle', 'Cherry belle', 'Rat tailer'(!), 'Sparkler (winter) 'China rose' & 'Round black spanish'
Sweetcorn F1 hybrid 'Sweet nugget'
Salad leaves Kale 'Red russian'
Spinach 'Bloomsdale', 'Matador', Leaf (Beet) Perpetual (Heirloom)
Summer savoury 'Aromata'
Squash 'Marina di chioggia' 'Musquee de provence' 'Butternut' 'Sweet dumpling'
And finally flowers: Zinnia 'Envy', Amaranthus caudatus, Hyssop- blue/pink/white flowered, Helianthus debilis 'Vanilla ice' & 'Ikarus', Heliopsis scabra 'Summer sun', Sweet pea 'Blanche ferry' & 'Matucana', Sanvitalia procumbens, Molucella laevis, Heuchera sanguinea 'Firefly', Dahlia 'Bishops Children', Mytosis arvensis & sylvatica 'Rosylva', Limnanthes douglasii ... PHEW!
Our condolences go to all at Chiltern Seeds, our wonderful seed sponsors whose founder Douglas Bowden recently passed away. Meeting Douglas (the company is based near me in Cumbria) and experimenting with their vast range of seeds was a turning point in my gardening life, an one that leads directly to my approach to Abbey Gardens.
I have reproduced an article I wrote on Chiltern Seeds in 2004,
on our Somewhere blog here.
Here is an extract:
Over a cup of tea in the living room, I compliment him on those idiosyncratic catalogue entries so beloved of CS fans -an example, characteristically witty but not without pathos 'Magnolia campbellii....Such glory takes many years to achieve but, an object lesson, had we sown a packet when we arrived at Bortree Stile in 1980 (seems but yesterday!) we would have something marvellous to look forward to to this spring - we didn't and we don't! " He concedes that he enjoys the sourcing and describing of new items the most of all aspects of the business and cites a heavy US tome 'Cornucopia' from which he derives much advice on edible plants. Cunningly, if a plant is shown to be edible it escapes VAT, so his scholarly curiosity accompanies a shrewd business sense, confirmed by his dedicated lobbying on the subject of US export legislations. Sales are stable, he says, despite TV makeover shows making seed-sowing look like a very distant cousin to the plants shoe-horned into the average suburban plot.