Children's Corner

Many children are keen to try their hand at gardening or are just inquisitive “to see what comes up”. Others may want to grow something giant that reminds them of children’s stories. I was roped in to take out tomato side shoots and to debud Chrysanthemum flowers at the age of 4, and I really enjoyed it all, until our geese neatly cut off all my flowering Anemones! We have put together on this page some fun items to tempt any budding horticulturists. The picture above shows what fun can be had painting dried large Gourds!

Arachis hypogaea

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Monkey Nut   15 seeds
Monkey nuts (Arachis hypogaea) are neat plants resembling clovers. They can grow to 10 feet high but much smaller in pots with pretty yellow male flowers. The novelty is the female flower that sends out an aerial “peg” that extends all the way down to the soil, buries into the soil and produces up to four peanut seed pods 2” to 6” deep at the tip of each “peg”. Fascinating if you have not grown them before.

Carrot Purple Haze F1

Purple Carrot  Aprx 300 seeds  җ
Carrot Purple Haze is an award winning purple carrot. The 10” to 12” smooth purple carrots taper to a point and reveal a bright orange centre when cut. Colourful and sweetly flavoured raw, their colour though will become diffused when cooked. Apparently this carrot was named after a Jimmy Hendrix song!

Coffee arabica

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Coffee Bean Tree 10 seeds
Such a well known commodity! But did you know that Coffee arabica make interesting house or conservatory shrubs with dark glossy green leaves, small white scented flower clusters followed by bright red coffee beans. Don't get too excited though about grinding your own coffee from the seed - it tastes awful if you do not dry it correctly!

Courgette Tromboncino


Climbing Courgette 10 seeds

A very unusual heirloom courgette that has long pale green fruits with a bulbous end. Best picked small for eating but if left can grow to over a metre in length! With its somewhat rude shape it will really make a talking point in your vegetable garden or allotment. To display the unusual fruits at their best try growing it up a frame like a gourd plant.

Cyperus papyrus

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Egyptian Paper Reed Pkt
Cyperus papyrus or Egyptian papyrus reed produces the original paper made from the crushed and pulped stems. Easy to grow reaching 6ft to 7ft when mature. In the first year it makes a more manageable 3ft and is easy to grow from seed. Remember that it is a water reed and ideally will need to be left standing with the pot in tray of water. A decorative plant that we often grow as part of our summer bedding in a tropical border.

Desmodium gyrans

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Telegraph Plant 10 seeds

Desmodium gyrans is another really unusual plant that actually moves its leaves about under certain conditions. Small lateral leaflets rotate on their axes and jerk up and down within a period of about 3 to 5 minutes early in the morning as the sun warms the plant to around 22°C. Patience may be needed to observe this phenomena but the plant is easy to raise from seed and soon makes a small shrub in a warm greenhouse.As far as we know the only four plants that show any leaf sensitivity movements are, Desmodium gyrans, Mimosa pudica the sensitive plant, Venus Fly Trap, and Averrhoa carambola the star fruit tree.

For a youtube video of this plant in action click here:- courtesy of Ian a customer of ours.

Ecballium elaterium

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Squirting Cucumber 10 seeds
Another plant for the masochists out there with mischievous young children, looking for suitable revenge! Ecballium elaterium has rough sea-green leaves on wandering stems to 1m or more and yellowish flowers followed by exploding inedible mini ‘cucumbers’ from July to frosts. These fruits explode to the touch when ripe, squirting out a thick gooey mess of seeds. I have read that it is hardy to about -5C!

Gourd Dinosaur

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Large Strange Gourd 10 seeds
Dinosaur Gourd is a very unusual club gourd with raised "veins" A new item for us and a real novelty that I will certainly be growing next year in our seed trials.

Gourds Autumn Wings


Ornamental warted Gourds 10 seeds

This ornamental gourd mix is a delightful assortment of deeply winged, warted pears and other shapes. The colours are vibrant, extraordinarily eye-catching and ideal for tabletop decorating.

Gourds Large

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Mixed Shape Large Gourds 10 seeds

I have had great fun growing these large gourds again a few years ago in one of my greenhouses. Don't be fooled by the pictures these are monsters some up to 3ft long! Fully ripe and allowed to dry out in a warm room over winter they turn "wooden" making excellent Maraca ornaments.

Helianthus Bott's Strain

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Giant Sunflower 10 seeds
Helianthus Bott's Strain is a huge slender sunflower with smaller, sometimes multiple flower heads, capable of achieving 16ft or more, mine only reach about 12ft so lets see what you can do! A great novelty for the kids.

Helianthus Craven Strain

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Super Giant Sunflower 10 seeds
Helianthus Craven Strain, a huge, heavy 4" diameter stemmed sunflower with large flower heads 18” across and big leaves, capable of achieving 20ft or more with a rich soil and an early sowing. The original seed source came from a 25ft record height sunflower.  They need an earlt start and a long growing season to develop their full potential and some support will be needed in early autumn as windy conditions set in.

Helianthus Grey Stripe

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Giant Sunflower 10 seeds
Helianthus Grey Stripe sunflower grown for shear size maybe to 16ft with massive 18” wide flower heads. The challenge with this one is keeping it upright with the weight of the large heads! Heavy 3" diamaeter  stems and large leaves.

Helianthus Russian Mammoth

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Giant Sunflower 10 seeds
Helianthus Russian Mammoth is not from Russia but one that the Russians preferred for eating purposes. It bears huge single 22” flower head on strong plants to 10ft. It will probably need staking to support the heavy heads.

Mimosa pudica

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Sensitive Plant 20 seeds 
If you have small grandchildren or children you must try growing this unusual Mimosa pudica plant. Only reaching 12" or so high it has delicate ferny foliage and pretty small pink flowers.

However the leaves fold up at the slightest touch recovering in 10 or 15 minutes back to their original form hence the name!

Ornamental Corn Fiesta

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Ornamental Corn 10 seeds
A hybrid mix of the best ornamental corn for dried decoration. This unique Indian corn includes various tones of blue, red, yellow and white. Earlier than other Flint corn and averages 7 to 10 inch ears with 50 to 70% having attractive ornamental purple husks.

Pea Tom Thumb

Dwarf Pea   Aprx 25 seeds җ җ җ
Pea Tom Thumb is a rare heirloom pea that was introduced back in the 1850s. As the name indicates, this very hardy frost tolerant pea has an extreme dwarf growth habit to only 8" but produces an abundance of full-sized pea pods in limited space. Ideal for Patio pots and great fun for Children.

Pumpkin Dill's Atlantic Giant

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The Worlds Largest Pumpkin!  5 seeds 
Have a go and see how big you can grow a pumpkin. Pumpkin Dill's Atlantic Giant regularly produces 400 lb. pumpkins with a record weight of  over 1000 lbs.! I have even heard that in hot weather the vine can grow 3ft over night! You will need a big warm plot for one of these and some rich manure dug in. Note this variety is much larger than "Hundredweight" that has had a lot of publicity lately.

Pumpkin F1 Jack of all Trades

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Halloween Pumpkin  10 seeds
Perfect for Halloween with the right size, skin colour and quality, Pumpkin F1 Jack of all Trades is also good for eating. You can expect pumpkins to weigh about 5kg to 7kg. Why not let the kids have a go at growing them for Halloween?

Pumpkin Freaky Tom

Halloween Pumpkin  5 seeds

This is an unusual heavily warted pumpkin bred especially for Halloween. Pumpkin Freaky Tom's fruit is about 12" high and 10" across weighing 5 to 6 kilos. Perfect for carving and it also stores well. The kids will just love this one!

Scorpiurus muricatus

Prickly Caterpillar 10 seeds
Scorpiurus muricatus is an annual native of southern Europe preferring full sun. The hairy pods are narrow and twisted like a caterpillar rolled upon itself. Low-growing plants make a nice ground cover and are sure to be a talking point in your garden. The "caterpillars" can be added to salads to surprise unexpected diners, but not really meant to be eaten, because they are so hairy. Kids will love this!

Sweet Corn Mexican White

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Giant Sweet Corn   15 seeds 
A huge edible American sweetcorn variety to 16ft tall with massive 2ft cobs. Sweet Corn Mexican White grows really fast which the kids will love and easy to germinate. Start off in pots in the warm then plant out after any frost danger has passed. Although very strong plants they may need staking in a windy position.

Sweet Corn Miniature Blue

Miniature Blue Pop Corn 15 seeds
Exotic midnight blue kernels cover the small 2-4 inch ears of this unique variety. Sweet Corn Miniature Blue produces several ears that are ideal for ornamental and craft use as well as an exotic popping corn. A real must for those growing ornamentals.

Triffid Pack

Novelty Pack of Fast Growing Monster Plants

For anyone with a sense of fun, or like me have never really grown up, we have put together a novelty pack of "Triffid" seeds, all of these monster plants either grow tall and/or have huge leaves. I have included a mixed packet of each of the following seeds

  • Amaranth Lotus Purple (8ft)
  • Hibiscus manihot (10ft)
  • Chenopodium giganteum (8ft)
  • Ricinus Zanzibarensis  Huge leaves (15ft)
  • Ensete ventricosum (12ft 2nd year)
  • Helianthus Kong sunflower (12ft)
  • Solanum quiotense - Huge Triffid leaves (6ft)


Variegated Cat Grass


Hordeum vulgare variegata aprx 500 seeds

Variegated Hordeum vulgare or Cat Grass is becoming really popular and now the most fashion-conscious cats can satisfy their craving for grasses and their discerning eye with this one variety. Speedy from seed and simple to grow, it's excellent for a sunny windowsill or garden beds where your pet roams. Even if you don't have a cat to pamper, it's a gorgeous ornamental and excellent as a contrasting accent plant in containers or beds. When left untouched, plants can reach 2-3 feet. Cats go nuts for this delicious easy to grow grass. It helps with digestive issues, helps with hairballs and adds roughage to their diets and keeps cats from eating potentially harmful house plants. Can be grown all year round indoors and outside after frosts have finished.



Symbol Codes

Germination -- Easy Moderate and Challenging

Backlog for Fresh Seed Flavour

Hardiness - To -5°C җ To -10°C җҗ Fully Hardy җҗҗ

Needs Shady Position Sunny Position Water Loving