Weekend work: Time to sow snapdragons


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The Independent Online

What to do

Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are generally treated as annuals, but by nature they are perennials (though short-lived) and often flower better in their second season. By then, they are big bushy plants and produce a succession of secondary spikes when the main head has finished flowering. I have had good results sowing seeds in pots in a cold frame and then pricking out the seedlings into individual 8cm/3in pots. Sown in multi-purpose compost and covered with a thin layer of vermiculite, seeds germinate in two weeks. 'Crimson Velvet' (Chiltern £1.78) is a gorgeous variety; 'Apple Blossom' (Chiltern £1.75) grows to about a metre, with white flowers flushed with pink.

What to see

Other snowdrop gardens open this weekend include Forde Abbey, Chard TA20 4LU, every day (10am-4.30pm), £5, atfordeabbey.co.uk, 01460 221290; Marks Hall, Coggeshall, Essex CO6 1TG, Fri-Sun (10.30am-dusk), £4.50, markshall.org.uk, 01376 563796; Easton Walled Gardens, Easton, Lincs NG33 5AP, snowdrop week 16-24 Feb (11am-4pm), £6.50, eastonwalledgardens.co.uk, 01476 530063; Kelmarsh Hall, Kelmarsh, Northants NN6 9LY, open tomorrow and 24 Feb (11am-3pm), £3, kelmarsh.com, 01604 686543; East Bergholt Place, East Bergholt, Suffolk CO7 6UP, snowdrop walk with owner Rupert Eley, 21 Feb, starts 10.30am, £10, placeforplants.co.uk, 01206 299 224