Owl's Acre Seed

Nora Holman and Lynn Davey

Elizabeth Crawford
 ‘Lynn Davey’

‘Lynn Davey’

These two elegant ladies are finally back in stock after a lengthy absence. Lynn Davey is a lavender sweet pea of considerable quality bred by E. W. James, which was awarded the AGM by the RHS in 1993, and an F.C.C. from the SNSPS. The flowers are well presented and are resistant to 'blueing' as they age, making this one of the best lavender sweet peas for cutting.

Bred by Pip Tremewan, Nora Holman is a light salmon pink sweet pea that won him the F C Harriss award for the best seedling of 1990. It won the Clay Cup in 1994 and 1995 and was the fourth most popular exhibition sweet pea of the 1990s. A distinguished variety recommended for both exhibition and garden.

 Nora Holman

Nora Holman

Blues Back in Stock

Elizabeth Crawford
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At last the seed harvest is making it’s way into packets and out into the world! I’m delighted that the beautiful blue varieties ‘Bristol’ and ‘Oban Bay’ are now available again. Bristol is a soft powder blue and Oban Bay a paler, ice blue shade. Both are deliciously fragrant and have a excellent track record on the exhibition bench. Find out more and purchase seed in the product pages.

Late Summer Flowers

Elizabeth Crawford
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My sweet peas have decided to put in a second flowering this year, so I am enjoying an abundance of fragrant blooms as I harvest the many seed pods that are also adorning my plants. I was recently given a beautiful hand made silk dress that makes me feel quite like a sweet pea when I wear it - so here is a photo of me communing with the refined lightness and elegance of these flowers. In the posy are Oban Bay, Mollie Rilstone and a few Limelight. 

Blooming through the Heat Wave

Elizabeth Crawford
  Bristol

Bristol

We've seen very little rain here in the UK over the past couple of months and the sun has been cracking the earth, drying and scorching the grass lands. Many flowering plants seem to nonetheless be thriving, and my Devonshire sweet peas are no exception - I have barely given them any extra water in recent weeks and they are putting on a gorgeous show. 

First Cut

Elizabeth Crawford
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My Sweet Peas started flowering here in South Devon nearly two weeks ago! I've cut back most of the flowers in the hope that the plants will generate a bit more vegetative vigour before putting on thir full floral display through July and August. The heirlooms varieties in particular have been very eager to flower - 'Wretham Pink' and 'Cupani' in particular have been beautiful (a mix of 'Cupani' and 'Matucana' are shown in the foreground here). 

Encyclopedia Botanica Podcast

Elizabeth Crawford

I am excited to share with you an inspiring and informative podcast recently recorded by Hilary Dahl of the Seattle Urban Farm Company with Guest Expert Simon Crawford - my father - who generously offered to represent Owl's Acre Seeds as an experienced and knowledgable sweet pea grower! You will hear about a few of our favourite varieties, some top cultivation tips, and advice on growing conditions and seed saving. You can listen HERE or click the image above. 

The Seattle Urban Farming Co. is committed to promoting local food production and sustainable, productive land use in urban areas. They support communities and farmers to design, develop and maintain site specific, city based edible landscapes. I'd like to thank Hilary for championing our seed, and for her passion for the beautiful Sweet Pea. 

Fresh Growth

Elizabeth Crawford
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Sowed in mid January, these little Sweet Pea seedlings are really shooting up now, really full of life and vigour! They've been enjoying some warm days in the polytunnel, and I'm wondering if and how the cold snap we are expecting this week may affect them. The plan is to have these planted out in my organic plot in South Devon by mid to late March. 

New Range of Chilli Seed

Elizabeth Crawford

Mark Rowland and Maggie Goodsell are the originators of Owl's Acre Seed, previously Owl's Acre Sweet Peas. I am grateful for our continuing business connections and their ongoing support and advice, gleened over many dedicated years of working with Sweet Peas. I have recently listed a range of chilli seed in the shop that has been bred and selected by Mark and Maggie's company, 'Gourmet Genetics', and we are offering some tomato varieties from them too. I've been meaning to put the chillies online for a while, and am really happy to now have ten of Gourmet Genetics selections available.

Mark's significant chilli program has involved trialling chillies from all over the world, to find those most suited to growing in the Northern European climate. His focus has been on determining those varieties with the most outstanding flavour. The chillies now available from Owl's Acre comprise three different cultivated species: Capsicum anuum, Capsicum baccatum and Capsicum chinense, as well as 'Lancer', a cross between C. anuum and C. frutescens. All the species originate in Central and South America, and comprise fruits with a wide varieties of flavours, colours and forms: from sweet bell peppers (C. anuum) to fruity, mild chillies (C. baccatum) and the more fiercely hot and pungent varieties (C. chinense and C. anuum).

All the varieties on offer here are suitable for Northern European cultivation, where they generally perform as annuals (though most are technically perennial in their native climates). Ideally chilli seed should be sown mid-February, and kept at a temperature of around 24 degrees or warmer for germination. They can then be kept slightly cooler, between 20 and 24 degrees, with plenty of light. As the plants become established the temperature can gradually be decreased. They can be grown in  pots or in the soil. 

Recording the Harvest

Elizabeth Crawford
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Podding 'Olive D'

This year I have been joined in the polytunnel by documentary photographer Tessa Bunney, who is working on a series about British flower farming for an upcoming exhibition, Farmer Florist. It is exciting to have such a careful focus brought to bear on the processes of seed growing, and has helped my own appreciation for this work. Harvesting and podding can seem laborious, but there is also a meditative element, and a joy in preserving all these precious seeds that will bring beauty to gardens in future seasons. You can see more of Tessa's work on her website: http://www.tessabunney.co.uk/ or instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tessabunney/

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New Foxglove: 'Digitalis Limoncello'

Elizabeth Crawford
 'the flowers are a very attractive light creamy yellow which are a joy to behold in a shady spot in the evening light of early summer.'

'the flowers are a very attractive light creamy yellow which are a joy to behold in a shady spot in the evening light of early summer.'

Digitalis Limoncello is a new foxglove bred by our colleague Maarten van der Saar. Both delicate and striking with its luminous pale yellow flowers, 'Limoncello' was Chelsea Plant of the Year finalist at this years flower show.

Our Digitalis varieties should be sown in September/October for flowers next spring. Sow on the surface of moistened compost and place inside a propagator or cover with a sheet of glass or plastic in a warm spot. Keep a close eye on the seed tray and bring into a shady pace and keep moist after germination. It will take about three weeks to see some evidence of germination. When the plants are large enough to handle transplant into small pots and grow on in a cold greenhouse or cold frame. Our Digitalis product pages can be found here