Planting an English Garden

June 23rd, 2010

This is the backyard garden of mad King George III.  It is behind his former home which is on the grounds of Kew Gardens in England.  After visiting this site last summer, I decided that I too, must have an English garden.

So when my mom traveled to Europe last winter and brought me back a few packets of seeds, I decided to put my plan into action.

Unfortunately, the English seeds required a bit more effort than I usually like to expend on much of anything.
I find it difficult to manage much more than poking the seeds in the ground and waiting around to see if anything happens while distracting myself from further effort with movies, books and buckets of beer.  But holding the vision of Mad King George’s back yard in my head, I threw back my shoulders and applied myself.

I had to start these seeds in a special seed compost and later transplant them.

I found some seed starter at the Garden Center where I work…

And I bought a seedling tray, which is just a plastic tray arranged into long narrow rows designed specifically to sprout seedlings.

I planted all the English seeds and also decided to start a packet of passion flower as it is supposed to be filled with religious symbolism and there is nothing that I love more than religiously themed flowers.

Sadly, my seed trays were not exactly a smashing success.

They would much more aptly be described as a pathetic disaster.

Here are some of Erin and Jan’s seed trays at work….

Note the thick stems, the sturdy leaves, the deep green color, the cheerful demeanor!

There was nothing cheerful about the demeanor of my seedlings.

“Chin up!”  I told myself and my weak, limpid seedlings.

Because isn’t that what English gardeners say?

And I stuck what little I could salvage from among the ruins of that seed tray into an empty bed on the south side of the house.

So here they are…

And here is a close-up.

As you can see, my English garden is off to a slow start.

But all it needs is just a little time – right?




  • Martha in Kansas:

    Maybe you could just spray paint that design on your lawn.

  • Dana in Munich:

    Maybe the seeds were damaged by the xrays at the airport. I live in Germany. Last time I went home to the US I bought some pepper seeds. I tried sprouting them and got nothing. Bought some of the same pepper seeds here in Germany and they grew fine.

  • km:

    They are frightened of your Kansas floods and crazy winds and miss trees and mild Church of Englanders. It’s all too much for them, poor dears.
    Maybe you need to act like Mad King George?

  • Jaime:

    Isn’t Kew garden fantastic? It was my favorite stop on our England trip. You’ll never live up to that.

  • Girl, I can tell from the photos what is wrong: Those seedlings need water! They should stay damp and never be allowed to dry out! If you want flowers, you need to water more.

    Hope that helps.


  • Alison:

    Oh my gosh that was so funny. You garden like I garden—poke in the seed, drink a beer, and see what happens. Well, now you can just blame the kids for the bad flower bed.

  • Rechelle, This is the most encouraging thing you have ever posted. All this time I’ve been thinking that what I really needed was a job at a garden center and I could start plants from seeds, but you have revealed truth unto me. Thank you. If I am ever discouraged by my seedlings, I will just come back here and be encouraged all over.

  • inga:

    OMG, that was funny. That seed tray is sooo sad! Well, you tried right??


  • Kait:

    I guess they were pining for England.

  • Patricia:

    No ! English gardeners don’t say “Chin up” ! They say “What the bloody hell is this little buggar ?” Trust me, I’m British, but I’m no gardener….