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Despairing Gardener, Failed Snapdragon


Not to come over all melancholic or bitter, but one of the garden disappointments of the year are the snapdragons. Snapdragons should still be in riot at this time of year and as the days get shorter and colder, it takes ever-increasing amounts of gaudiness to stay cheerful. I don’t believe in quietly passing through the autumn to the dead of winter.

Unfortunately, appalling weather and inexperience meant that the snapdragons were almost a no-show this year. I tried sowing a batch from seed in early spring and they took ages to come up and were just miserable, the second sowing was just the same. I realised far too late in the season that it was going to take a desperate dash to the local garden centre if we were to have any snapdragons flowering in the garden at all. The only colours available when we got there were mellow yellow and pastel pink; not what I was hoping for. We had to buy them anyway and they went in the ground. Cue the most miserable and wettest summer for a long time and the best we got was a sprinkling here and there.

There wasn’t really much more than this. It’s such a shame. I guess you win some, you lose some. We do have other small flowering plants that are dotted around, which should keep going until the frosts arrive but I was hoping that the snapdragons would take us out in a blaze of colour and glory. Though that’s not the case this year, there’s always the next.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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Mrs Mac 15/10/2012 - 10:08 pm

Bear up Sunil… it happens! I got lucky this year when a packet of free seeds (assorted blue annuals) didn’t germinate until August, and then September gave us a huge patch of Nigella (love in a mist), which is still going strong, but because of all the rain, lots of other stuff has been seriously bad this year. There’s always next year!

Sunil 16/10/2012 - 6:40 pm

Hi Mrs Mac, the late Nigella sounds absolutely delightful. We’ve also had several plants flattened by rain. It seems to happen in the night when no-one’s watching. Suddenly, the next morning they’re all prone and soggy on the soil and there’s no evidence of foul play. It’s very irritating.

gardeninacity 16/10/2012 - 3:58 am

Despair not, but seek solace in the catalogues that you should be getting in the mail about now. There you will find all the color you could wish for, and you can dream about how all those flowers will be blooming flamboyantly in your garden next year.

Sunil 16/10/2012 - 6:35 pm

Hello Jason, yes I shall have to turn to the catalogues and my Plant Encyclopaedias. I also like to go online “window shopping” since they’re always in bloom.

Jean 17/10/2012 - 6:04 pm

Sunil, I had a similar experience this year with morning glories, which are usually the glory of my garden in fall (at least until the first frost). But this year my morning glory seeds failed to come up in both gardens. I tried buying some potted seedlings from a local garden center, but it was so wet that they got devoured by snails before I could even get them in the ground. Let’s hope you and I both have better luck next year.


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