This year for the first time I took some cuttings in the autumn (verbena, fuchsia & pinks), and to my great pride I have managed to keep them alive through the whole winter and even multiply them, even though the location isn't ideal - it doesn't have light enough hours in the day, but in the middle of the day it can get blazing sunshine, plus it's on top of a radiator. In the spring I started with seeds (Livingstone daisies, cosmos, foxgloves) and so far everything is going well, and I've now started to plant some of both cuttings and seeds out in the garden.
The thing that is troubling me is that my precious babies are so wimpy compared to what is available in the garden centre, and far behind - absolutely no sign of flowers yet, while the garden centre has had blooms for months already.
Am I doing something wrong (e.g. starting too late), or is this because they have a more controlled environment? Is there a chance that e.g. the fuchsias will do better next year (assuming they survive the winter), or will they always be stunted? Is it worth bothering to grow annuals from seed when you don't have a greenhouse, if it takes so long for them to mature that you don't have long to enjoy the flowers?
I'd be glad to hear your advice and experience!