Annual Seed Lists

Reliable Annuals.

Annuals are an important feature in any garden and may be even more vital this year to plug the gaps left by plants you have lost to the snow and ice. They will also give you colour in the flowering gaps that can occur in June and late Summer. The examples below can be sown from January onwards undercover for early flowering or left until later to fill the high summer garden.You could sow them twice for two hits of colour. Here are some suggestions of seeds that we rely on every year.

Sweet Peas:

This beautiful plant is the mainstay of our Pickery (or cutflower garden) in early summer. We grow over 100 varieties and the scent on a sunny day is pure English summer. We sell mixes and over 50 named varieties by mail order so if you would like to order these, see our shop page or email Mary at

Calendula officinalis:

This photo shows our heritage sweet peas underplanted with the simple pot marigold. A versatile annual that is extremely easy to grow from its curly seeds; it can be used in the vegetable and herb garden and sown in several batches for a succession of colour. Good for children and, in its simpler forms, for insect life. We offer Calendula officinalis ‘Indian Prince’. It has deep orange flowers with a beautiful red sheen to the back of the petals.


The perfect cottage garden or meadow annual. Really easy, cheap, loved by insects and available in 3 or 4 colours. We sow these early and late.The late sown seedlings are perfect for putting into gaps left by early bulbs. If you leave the seeds heads on the plant you can collect seeds or seedlings from your garden in late summer. We offer individual and mixed colours in our online shop.

Gilia tricolor:

I love this annual, it is not grown nearly enough. We came across this plant when we decided to grow cut flowers listed in the Chiltern Seeds catalogue.It will flower twice in a season without any help from you as the seeds drop early and reseed around their base. Look close into the flowers and they are an exquisite two tone deep purple with yellow throat. Again, really easy and a great cut flower.


Rudbeckia hirta ‘Moreno’ :

Although strictly a perennial this works better in areas with hard winters as an annual. In the past we have trialled 15 varieties of Rudbeckias and this is a beautiful variety. Other good forms include ‘Indian Summer’ (recommended to me by Val Bourne) and ‘Dwarf mixed’ (in spite of the name, not very dwarf and an excellent mix of colours) Suttons sell Moreno and Indian Summer and we offer ‘Dwarf Mix’

Cosmos ‘Psyche White’:

Nailing Cosmos so they grow well for you can be a proper horticultural challenge. At RHS Wisley they grow well over your head but you can also grow them badly as little dumpy things that are all spindly with a sad flower head. This is one we have had had great success with and is more reliable for us than the better known ‘Purity.’ We are going  to grow a range of  Cosmos this year to try and add to this one. Great for late summer colour and the single forms are, like most daisy-type flowers, popular with bees. Thompson and Morgan offer a good range including ‘Psyche White’

And finally, the picture perfect, disease free, flower vase enhancing Clary or Salvia horminum Flowers for ages with blue, pink and white bracts and will resprout throughout the summer if you crop it by cutting down to a shoot.The pink form is shown in close up above with Cosmos. Don’t dismiss the white form, its green veining looks lovely in small posies. We have limited quantities available in the shop.
Salvia horminum
If you can’t imagine summer ever being here again or are looking for a starting point for seed catalogues, I hope this post has inspired you. Happy Christmas x

Snow at Easton

With the gardens covered in a blanket of white, it seems a good time to show some pictures of the gardens in snow over the years. Hope you enjoy them.

The bridge in the snow.
Dogs outside the hall in the 1930’s
If you can get up enough speed sledging on these slopes, you can take off! (easier to do if you are under 10.)
The outline of the turf maze shows the wheatsheaf, a family crest.
The Tool Tower. This was leaking badly when we first started repair work, but now melting snow is not a danger to this grand bothy.

The snowdrop contains anti-freeze in its cells to protect the plant from extreme temperatures.

Lincolnshire Longwool sheep are perfectly adapted to cold conditions in the park.

Thank you to everyone who visited this year.The team at Easton wish you a very happy Christmas.

November in The Gardens


Autumn colour on the Lime trees in the village was especially good this year


Prunus subhirtella. Its fiery leaves fall and are replaced by delicate blossom whenever the weather is mild, from November to March.


Details from the cottage garden. Ornamental winter cabbage and a cherry grown on a very dwarf stock



The terraces ready for winter. On the slopes we are creating wildflower meadows. The colour in the wider park adds to the charm of this view in autumn

Berries and Leaf shapes get closer scrutiny at this time of year. The ghostly Gunnera has been hit by the first frosts and berries are bringing in migrating birds throughout the gardens.