Saturday, April 2

WANTED: Dead or alive - mouse with coriander breath!

We already have masses of cyclamen hederifolium in the garden and on the plot. We started with just a couple of plants one white and one pink which have cross- pollinated and self sown everywhere to the extent that some have had to be weeded out and others given away. The corms of some have grown to the size of dinner plates. In spite of its attempts at mass domination I can’t help loving them. The leaves are as attractive as the flowers. Hederifolium flowers around August/September time.

When we visited Dunham Massey last March we noticed a cyclamen called Coum flowering and I fancied growing some in our garden. I hadn’t seen this variety for sale as a plant anywhere and so bought some seeds. (Then guess what I saw for sale in a local nursery this year - yes cyclamen coum?) Anyway I am now faced with the challenge of raising some plants from seed. I bought some indoor flowering cyclamen seed - Lazer - too.
The instructions on one packet said to soak the seed in tepid water for 24 hours before sowing. How you keep the water tepid for 24 hours is anyone’s guess. Anyway I duly soaked both lots of seed (separately of course). It was a bit tricky getting the wet seed from my fingers to the compost but once sown I placed the quarter trays in plastic bags to keep the compost moist. I am warned it could take up to 2 months for the seeds to germinate – that is if they germinate as I can’t help thinking that I may not be quite as successful at propagating cyclamen as the plants themselves seem to be (or maybe I should credit the ants that are supposed to spread the seed). Time will tell. Anyone had any success with cyclamen seed?

In the greenhouse the perennials that I bought from Hayloft as bare young plants all seem to be growing – WHEW!
But not everything in the greenhouse is rosy – as Martyn mentioned on his blog something has been feasting on some of our seedlings. Not only has something nibbled the tops of the last lot of cabbage seedlings leaving just stems but it has also nibbled the tops of the young coriander. We suspect a mouse so any mouse with breath smelling of coriander will be severely dealt with!
One bit of excitement is that the nectarine that we bought last year has flower buds! It’s planted in a large pot just outside the garden greenhouse where we will keep a very, very close eye on it and cover it with fleece if any frost is forecast. Just one nectarine fruit, however tiny will be considered to be a triumph!
And the flowers are now opening!

Lots of other fruit bushes and trees are on flower or in bud on the plot!
I have completed my March diary on my website – this is a day by day account of everything we do on the plot and in the garden. If you want to read it it’s here.

Also a list of when everything is being sown and harvested from March this year is being listed from the Sow, Grow & Harvest link at the top of the blog


  1. Your perennials are looking good! I have to say that I don't have the best luck growing flowers from seeds. Good luck to you!

    You seem to be taking the mouse munching issue pretty well. I would be a crazy lady!!

  2. What can you do Robin? - every year it's a challenge to beat the mice!

  3. Cyclamen certainly like your garden, what a lovely display. Glad to see your perennials putting on some growth, they'll be decent sized plants in no time.

  4. I feel a bit behind with my things now! I have chives which are growing like mad, but were suddenly chewed to stumps - I discovered the culprit, a very oniony breath goose!

  5. The Nectarine flower is truly stunning!
    How odd that the Coriander has been nibbled; you would think that the flavour would be too strong to be attractive to little creatures.

  6. I just need the rest to arrive now Jo, penstemons, salvia and dahlia - I guess they're waiting til there is some sign of growth!

    Hi Jennifer - There is still plenty of time to get started we have only just got going really and have loads still to plant and sow. Tell that goose to watch out or he/she'll be in the pot!

    I can't imagine a mouse enjoying coriander either Mark but it seems to be the only likely explanation! I guess I'll have to tickle the nectarine flowers to try to get a fruit - it is quite a small flower - smaller than plum blossom and difficult to imagine growing into a nectarine!

  7. Thanks for posting your planting diary, which I'll definitely be taking a look at. I have no experience with sowing cyclamen, but if anyone can do it, probably you can, judging by how great all your other efforts are looking. We got rid of some mice by sinking a bucket of water into the earth, which they fell into during their nocturnal forays and then drowned. I can't tell my daughter about this, but at least I didn't poison them.

  8. Best of luck with the mice, haven't seen any here thankfully although a large rat appeared last year and played havoc in one of the beds. Had to resort to poison, I draw the line at rats!!

  9. The cyclamen are gorgeous.

    When you find out what works with mice, please let me know! This season I have changed the greenhouse flooring from bark chips to half a ton of limestone chippings to see if that deters the little blighters.

    I'm also going to try WD40 - I've sprayed it across the threshold of the greenhouse before ands it works well to deter slugs. Perhaps mice will dislike the smell as much as I do?

  10. I've had mice at my onion sets so have had to purchase more :-(

    I have a dwarf nectarine tree which I've had for a few year and was planted in the garden, I felt sorry for it last year and moved it up to the lot with the other fruit trees and it now has blossom so I am keeping my fingers crossed for fruit too.

  11. You have so many plants that I am not familiar with and learning from you. Very pretty flowers.

  12. Eek Barbara - I think I'm too squeamish for that method. FRom the mtabs at the top I've also linked to a page where there are links to spreadsheets for when we plant all the seeds and harvest things.

    Rats are a different prospect Damo - I am fine with pet rats that I know don't carry disease but wild ones are a worry and there seems to be more about this year.

    I wish that I could find something that works BW - they have even been known to dig up and eat lettuce seed from compost!

    Fingers crossed for both of us Tanya are you doing any hand pollinating - just wondered if that is only necessary when growing inside a greenhouse.

    And I read of many plants on your blog that I haven't heard of or seen Diana.

  13. According to the instructions that came with the tree i don't need to hand pollinate though I don't know whether this is due to it being an outdoor tree. I will leave it to do it's own thing this year and see what happens, If I get no fruit it is something I can try next year!!

  14. Our is outside too so maybe I don't need to do anything although I may have a go with some of the flowers just in case!

  15. Well you should see what the mice have done to my fleece.... drowning is to good for them. They also munched through the bucket of bird fat snacks (both the bucket and the fat snacks)

  16. They chew the flecce in our greenhouse too Mal - I guess they use it for their nests. We (well Martyn really) bait the traps with bird food but they seem to manage to eat it without being trapped!

  17. Glad your perennials are growing, it can get a little worrying when they appear to stop. That nectarine blossom is beautiful, I hope you get at least one fruit! Maybe you could sprinkle chilli powder on your next batch of coriander in a bid to deter the mice?

  18. At the moment we're trying to keep seedlings and seeds covered. BUt I'll bear the suggestion in mind Janet.


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