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Ooooooh! The RHS’s seed list for 2010 has been published!

One of the many great things about being an RHS member is that every year you get to choose 20 packets of seed collected from RHS gardens for the princely sum of 60p each. And they’re mostly quite unusual, so you get to pack your garden with some choice lovelies for next to nothing.

There are annuals and biennials on the list – including things like sweetpeas, though not your average Spencer hybrids – but I use it mostly as a chance to indulge my irrational desire to raise perennials and shrubs from seed. This takes ages, isn’t always successful (actually, isn’t very often successful), and you generally end up with, say, 30 pokeweeds of which you need maybe two or three at absolute most. But oh, it is such fun.

You can give away the ones you don’t want (sometimes – there’s a limited market for pokeweeds, I find), and besides, if you want to fill a patch of garden with a swathe of something, you need lots of plants. Swathes come expensive in the garden centre: a measly three hardy geraniums will set you back around 15 quid if you’re lucky, but for my 60p paid a year or so ago for a packet of RHS seeds I now have 9 Geranium pyrenaicum ‘Bill Wallis’ which have been flowering their pretty little socks off in a satisfying swathe at the front of my border all summer, and will do for years to come. And I gave another 10 or so away to friends. Yes, I had to wait a while: but isn’t that curious mixture of delicious anticipation and near-heroic patience a lot of what real gardening is all about?

So, though many of these won’t make it through under my occasionally erratic care, and some will drive me crazy with their capriciousness over, let’s see, whether or not to germinate, here’s the list of plants common and not-so-common which I have a chance of looking forward to in the coming years:

Camassia leitchlinii
Galtonia candicans
Musa velutina
Aconitum napellus
Euphorbia x pasteurii
Geranium gracile
Gillenia trifoliata
Heuchera micrantha
Inula helenium
Kitaibela vitifolia
Penstemon smallii
Phormium cookianum subsp. hookeri
Sanguisorba minor
Tricyrtis pilosa
Alchemilla fissa
Coronilla valentina subsp glauca
Daphne mezereum f. alba
Pawlonia tomentosa

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