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Sarah Raven seeds - beautiful brochure but do they germinate?

(20 Posts)
LittleEdie Sun 31-Mar-13 22:23:02

Love the Sarah Raven Venetian cut flower meadow mix, but had a few packs of her seeds a few years ago that didn't germinate.

Was this a random faulty batch/randomly poor conditions/natures caprice?

Feel nervous about devoting significant chunk of a small garden to seeds I'm not sure I trust. Don't want to be bulk buying bedding plants in July to fill the bare soil.

Anyone had success with Sarah Raven seeds?

LittleEdie Sun 31-Mar-13 22:27:12

I will add that everything else I grew from seed that year was fine.

GrendelsMum Tue 02-Apr-13 19:46:57

FWIW, I had good success with a whole batch of Sarah Raven seeds a few years back - I was just admiring my delphiniums (grown from SR seed) yesterday.

LittleEdie Tue 02-Apr-13 20:52:39

Yay, an answer!

That's good to hear, and I was thinking she can't have built her whole empire on sand - she'd have been found out by now, surely? Must've been bad luck.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 03-Apr-13 18:51:55

I've ordered 4 packets of seed - do you just scatter them over soil?

GrendelsMum Wed 03-Apr-13 19:30:50

I don't know about the SR ones, but I've been given some Pictoral Meadows seed that I'm just going to go out and sprinkle and hope for the best.

LittleEdie Wed 03-Apr-13 19:46:39

What sort of seed have you got Laurie? If it says hardy annual on the packet then yes you sow direct into the soil. I tend to do it in straight lines though so you know what's weeds and what isn't.

LaurieFairyCake Wed 03-Apr-13 19:51:44

It's called the cottage garden mix - a mix of hardy and half hardy annuals

Plus I got the celebrate Britain flower mix but it doesn't say on the website which they are - and I haven't got them yet

LittleEdie Wed 03-Apr-13 20:32:33

I think if it's a mix of hardy and half hardy annuals you need to wait a little bit as some of them aren't going to react well to cold.

CuttedUpPear Thu 04-Apr-13 09:33:39

I think her quality is just the same as anyone else's but she charges way over the odds for the same as you could get in your local garden centre.

Look at the catalogue for reference by all means then go and buy cheaply elsewhere.

NotTreadingGrapes Thu 04-Apr-13 09:34:55

My (Italian) dp swears the SR tomato seed set I got him produced the best tomatoes he had ever eaten.

I'm just a sucker for her lovely tissue paper packaging. blush

LittleEdie Thu 04-Apr-13 10:20:58

I know cutted up, but some of us just love a nice bit of branding!

Not well an Italian must know what he's talking about. They're ordered.

teta Fri 05-Apr-13 21:00:13

I have only ever planted Sarah Raven white Cosmos seeds.They were the only seeds to germinate in my garden last year[nothing else did].Though i did plant them directly into pots containing potting compost.I do think the quality is much better than comparable sites.I bought several sets of plants and dahlia tubers last year and the quality and size were extremely good.The brochure is my aspirational bedtime reading and i just love the glamour of the pictured gardens[biased].

LittleEdie Fri 05-Apr-13 23:55:32

teta It's flower porn.

Rhubarbgarden Sat 06-Apr-13 08:47:39

I agree with Cutted. Also I find there is something unbearably smug about SR.

But maybe I'm just jealous because she lives at Sissinghurst.

LittleEdie Sat 06-Apr-13 12:13:47

She is smug yes.

I also thought she was a bit unsympathetic to the staff at Sissinghurst after her and her hubby insisted they start changing everything. It was all a bit 'Ooh, can't the plebs see how amazing we are?'

Still, the best looking seed catalogues I've ever seen though grin.

CuttedUpPear Sun 07-Apr-13 00:01:41

She can afford to buy Sissinghurst with all the money from the over inflated price seeds she sells.

Honestly - everybody does know that almost all seeds, and definitely the ones SR supplies, are available all over the shop for a fraction of the price. There are some lovely rare varieties on ebay for pennies as well.

I for one can't afford to support her lifestyle. Sorry to be grumpy but there it is, I'm a professional gardener and that's how I feel about people like SR taking the piss out of amateur gardeners.

LittleEdie Sun 07-Apr-13 00:51:21

I often look to her brochure for inspiration and buy the seeds elsewhere. But I've just ordered some from her I can't find anywhere else. And frankly seeds are so cheap per plant that even quite a large mark up doesn't really hurt. I was more concerned about 'would they germinate?' having had some bad luck previously.

When you talk about amateur gardeners, I really think she shows how lovely things can look, and that makes you want do it yourself. She has a way of juxtaposing colour and form that is particularly good. I grow cut flowers and make beautiful bouquets all through summer inspired by her books. So I suppose I'm saying I think she deserves her success.

funnyperson Sun 07-Apr-13 06:06:36

The programme put me off Sissinghurst. I thought it was silly the way the hubby hankered after Knole (whats wrong with Sissinghurst) and Sarah wanted couscous (Whats wrong with English dishes) and seemed to think it was a virtue not to get on with staff. The very best people work with staff, not against them, and can inspire even the most difficult of staff whereas Sarah appeared to be creating ill feeling though perhaps thats just the way the programme was edited. Its a shame there wasn't more about the upkeep of the garden.

I love the catalogue. Its reassuring to know seeds elsewhere eg from ebay can be just as good though cutteduppear . I'm a bit wary ever since I bought some T and M seeds from the garden centre last year which were meant to be wildflower came up as cow parsley and nothing else.

LittleEdie Sun 07-Apr-13 12:29:10

I certainly didn't watch it thinking 'I wish she were my boss!'.

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