Gardening with James Vaughan: Time to plant perennial flowers

Gardening with James Vaughan: Time to plant perennial flowers

The weather certainly is becoming more settled over the past few weeks and there is a great stretch in the evenings. Coupled with this recent bank holiday weekend and it proved a great chance for us to catch up with gardening jobs in our garden. We have sown a lot of perennial flower seeds already this year.

We will sow more seeds at the end of the summer which we will plant out to flower next year. What I have noticed in our garden is the flowers on our apple trees. We have been getting bees visiting these flowers acting as pollinators. We have plum flowers, they were pollinated by bees and are beginning to develop.

What I love about this time of year is to be reminded of trees, shrubs and bulbs that have come to life once again this spring. You sometimes forget some of the plants and bulbs previously planted and it is sometimes surprising to see pleasing results.


Lupin flower heads have been growing larger week by week. I have grown these Lupins from seeds sown last year. They are actually easy to grow from seed. Growing them this way gives you more choice in colours and it is much cheaper! For example, to buy one in a garden centre will cost around €4 each.

However, a pack a seed containing 20 seeds might cost you the same €4. By my maths that’s twenty times cheaper! There is the drawback that you will have to wait several months before the seedlings grow large enough to produce flowers.

A lot of the seeds I grow are grown in a heated propagator that I bought several years ago. This is simply a seed tray that has a basic heating element in the bottom of it. It uses about the same electricity as a thirty watt bulb. The effect of this heated base means that a higher percentage of seeds tend to germinate. It also means that you can grow more ‘tropical’ or warmer climate plant seeds.

The cost of these heated propagators is about €40. In my case it has been well worth the money as I sow several rounds of seeds each year and have had the propagator for several years.


This is a really lovely flower which grows wild in some parts of the US. It grows from a bulb and comes in a range of colours from dark blue through to white. I have been aware of this flowering bulb for many years. However, I have not grown it in my own garden until last year.

And I must say, I am very impressed. It will flower around this time of year - after the early tulips have finished flowering. I planted some of these bulbs last year. They have now re-emerged and multiplied and are providing great colour. They are also great for pollinators with lots of bees visiting them in our garden. These bulbs cost me about €1 each and in my view are great value.

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