Monday, May 31, 2010

Seed production and collection.

In my yard, everything is open pollinated. The bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies spread pollen from flower to flower. There's no telling what mix you might get from year to year. This is most evident in the black eyed susans. Early spring bloomers have started releasing their seed pods. Some have already been scattered around the yard. Some will be collected for trading. Most will be returned to the soil just before it rains for next year's plants.

Sweet Williams. I'm sending most of these to the backyard, especially the pink and white crape myrtle bed which needs some early color.

Columbines have already produced a lot of seed. Sown fresh, they will germinate this year and probably bloom next spring. I'm filling mostly shady spots with these plants.

Peonies. I've never grown peonies from seed, but I know it's possible. I might wintersow them, in summer.

Red Hot Pokers. There are a LOT of seeds on these two plants. I'll probably collect them instead of scattering them. People love these plants that start out looking like fine blades of grass. It takes 2 years for blooms from seed. Year three is where mine are now.

Poppies. I'll scatter them as soon as they are ripe. They'll germinate when it's time.

Mountain bluet seeds are hard to collect. These seedlings are beneath the current plants. Once they get a little size to them, I'll move them around this fall to areas that still need spring color. The parent plants need to be cut back soon.

Dusty Miller has just started to bloom. Planted in the fall of 2009, these plants have gotten huge. The blooms float about 2 feet above the soil. If I remember, the seeds are like dust.

Grown from scattered seeds, the annual Monarda citriodora is one of my favorites. After it blooms, it can be cut back for a repeat bloom. I did this twice last summer. The seeds are collected by shaking the spent blooms over a container.

Speaking to Cameron at Defining Your Home Garden, I've decided to scatter seeds as soon as they ripen. This seems the most natural method as it's what happens when there's no gardener present. Nature takes care of enough seeds to create a new crop each year. I'll save a few seeds just in case. You never know what could happen over the winter.

It's currently 81 degrees and pouring rain. Heavy thunderstorms are about to move through the area. The rain is expected to last a few hours.


Jean Campbell said...

I do not understand why your kniphofias have bloomed and set seed and my well established plants are green and just sitting there as if it isn't time. I haven't looked back to see when they were blooming last year.

I am gathering seed to sow in the fall. If I leave it to chance, mulch and digging bury seeds that were left. I did have good luck with pulling up some tithonia plants last fall and just laying them along the edge of a bed. Seeds planted themselves nicely. Plants from seeds scattered along the stone wall this spring are about a foot tall now.

We had more rain today. Will be a good time to go scatter zinnias and other summer goodies.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Nell, mine bloomed about this time last year, but since they were new, the blooms were very sparse and small.

The seeds I am scattering now are the ones I know will germinate before winter. Columbines do that from fresh seed. I've been told to do the same with poppies. I scattered in the fall with very little success given how many seeds I sowed.

All my seeds are out there. If they grow, so be it. I'm enjoying the ride at this point.

F Cameron said...

Tom - I'm definitely letting the poppies, cornflowers and larkspur seed out as the ones that did last year were much bigger than the seed that I sowed. I think the winter rains washed away so many of mine that I planted in November. The nigella pods are very interesting and I'm going to let many seed where they are and also collect seed, too.

I've started some cuttings today for a few perennials.

Darla said...

I am collecting seeds already this year too. Now I know why my Red Hot Pokers aren't blooming...started from seed last summer, thanks. I scatter seeds year round here.

Ginny said...

I lost half of my Dusty Miller to a long hard freeze we had this winter. I'd love to be able to grow more from the seed of the few I have left. Dusty Miller is a favorite of mine.