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Saving Seeds

September 20, 2012

My Nigella ‘Love in a Mist’ seeds have only just ripened so I’ll sow some on the allotment now and save the rest to sow next spring .  Most summers it’s possible to scatter the seeds in august for an early display the following year but the ground is cold and wet and sowing next April will simply mean they flower a bit later.  The honesty Lunaria ”Munstead Purple’  has produced masses of seeds encased in pretty papery-thin membranes and now, hard and black, these too can be sown now and the rest saved to sow early next spring.  Honesty made a great display flowering in the garden for weeks and combined well with the acid green flowers of Euphorbia robbiae. It lasted in a vase for days and the intense, richly coloured purple flowers added drama to almost any plant I mixed it with.  At the top of the image are the seed heads of Phlomis russeliana which is a very handsome perennial that tolerates hot and dry conditions. This plant will be good on the allotment in the large herbaceous border amply filling the space and requiring very little attention. I’ll sow the seed on the edge of the brassica bed to transplant when it’s sturdy into any gaps late next summer. Other annual seeds worth saving are nasturtiums, poppies, calendulas, aquilegias, Verbena bonariensis and Virginia stocks to name a few.  Collect the seed heads on a dry day and have ready written labels then drop the seeds in paper bags and leave in a cool dry place. Never use polythene the seeds need to ‘breathe’ to keep healthy.

I finally got round to buying myself a Buddleja ‘Black Night’ prompted by seeing one at the Bristol Botanic garden last week smothered in butterflies. I’ve wanted one for years and now I’ve made room for it I can look forward to weeks of cut flowers smelling of honey. Unlike the self-seeded plants found on waste ground it grows to a manageable size, 3 metres maximum, and requires very little other than full sun. I’ll give it a hard prune next spring, taking this year’s flower stems down to 15-40cms,  to encourage a strong base.  It’s important to avoid cutting the stems with buds since these will produce the flowers next summer.

One of the first plants I can remember that inspired me to start gardening was Passiflora caerulea the passion flower. It was climbing up a huge vertical trellis at the end of a very small courtyard garden where it mingled with a late-flowering honeysuckle.  These strange and beautiful flowers were like nothing I had ever seen and combined with  the scent of the honeysuckle I instantly wanted a garden.  But although it’s very lovely I’ve never been tempted to grow it, it’s too exotic for my gardening style, I am attracted to more  traditional plants. But I passed it this last week in a local front garden where it’s attracting loads of interest and soon it should produce edible (though not very tasty) fruit. It’s definitely an exciting plant and one that I will continue to enjoy but in someone else’s garden.

The cut flowers for this week are the hydrangeas from last week recycled into a new vase of fresh water plus allotment Dill and a few white Cosmos ‘Purity’.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2012 3:31 pm

    It is so satisfying getting flowers for nothing isn’t it? I cannot stop verbena and nigella rampantly self seeding – they seem to especially love the gravel paths, maybe because they don’t get damp there? I think your posy is gorgeous too. x

    • September 20, 2012 3:58 pm

      I especially love verbena and welcome as much self-seeding as possible and yes it’s very satisfying get free plants.

  2. Marigold Jam permalink
    September 20, 2012 4:42 pm

    As always it is your little bouquet that I am drawn to. Wonderful what a few sprigs of this or that can look like in the right container.

    • September 20, 2012 7:03 pm

      Yes and now that I am ‘obliged’ to find stuff I am constantly amazed at what is out there that actually goes together.

  3. September 21, 2012 3:04 pm

    I was up at the plot yesterday collecting some seeds. The weather has been perfect for plants to set seed. A wet spell always makes the seed heads damp and mouldy. I’ve got so many blue cornflowers and calendula seeds I don’t know what to do with them.

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