Tag Archive: germination

Lunaria – Honesty – Hardy Biennual

Its April 23rd 2022 and I have sown seeds of purple Honesty. I used to have purple and white growing in the garden but they seem to have disappeared so another sowing was in order. They should take about 20 days to germinate. They are quite old seeds so as they are biannual I have sown more than I normally would incase of failures. They are quite tough plants though so I am hopeful of getting flowers from May/June in 2023. Once again I made the mistake in thinking that these plants would self seed and proliferate around the garden. I really need to concentrate on building up the soil.

Since Adam was poorly and consequently passed away I have let the garden go a bit so need to get some quality into the soil. I have two compost bins that need emptying so that should have been put all over the borders before the start of the growing season. It’s difficult to do when things start to grow because I don’t want to bury new seedlings. I will do what I can little by little and hope that I live long enough to see the results of my labour.

Another attempt at growing climbers from seed 2022

I have just sown four each of Ipomoea Pennata Red; Ipomoea Pearly Gates (white) and Thunbergia Alata Mix. I tried these climbers last year with no success so try try again. I have put them in a root trainer affair which is green and open to the light but sealed to keep in the moisture. They are sitting on the window ledge in as much light as I have available so fingers crossed. From what I can remember germination could take 20 to 30 days so about a month. Its 12th April 2022 today so well into May when the soil should be warming up. Update – 18th April 2022 – two shoots already. Update – 21st April 2022 – six shoots now. These root trainers are good.

I love climbers and as our garden is quite small they allow us to use the fence and various arches to give us more flowers at eye level as well as in the ground and in our myriad of pots.

Thinking about sowing these seeds today has made me take stock of what climbers we have already. We have a basic Ivy that has been with us for years as a dividing screen between our garden and next door. I have a climbing Hydrangea alongside it that is also very old and well established. Clematis have come and gone over the years but the ones that come to mind that are still with us are Montana, Apple Blossom; Hagley Hybrid; Mrs Bateman; Princess Kate; Guernsey Cream and a couple of deep red and purple ones that I’ve forgotten the names of, Warsaw something I think one of them is. I have a Russian Vine that I have had to cut back excessively this year as although it s flowers are beautiful it has taken over a part of the side garden and climbed up into the plum trees so urgent secateur work was required.

I have an old Jasmine that could do with removing too. Tidying up work desperately needed I think. Ours is an old garden and as it is small I can’t let things go.

Warsaw Nike I think
Princess Kate
jasmine
Climbing Rose Shropshire Lad

You can’t have enough climbers can you.

Mirabalis Japala – collected seeds – 2022 – The four ‘o’ clock plant

Today, 28th March 2022, I have sown 14 seeds that I collected the last time I grew these plants. Apparently that was 2018!!!! I wish that I had looked at my old posts first as I had already sown them only to read that I shouldn’t have excluded light as in nature they drop to the ground and germinate in the light.

They are on the windowsill here in my office so the pot has lots of light but I did put a sprinkle of compost over them and put them in a polythene bag. Roll on 40 days which is how long they took to germinate the last time I gave them a try. Update 23rd April 2022 – 8 seedlings already through after only 27 days. Looking good.

“Mirabilis is a genus of plants in the family Nyctaginaceae known as the four-o’clocks or umbrellaworts. The best known species may be Mirabilis jalapa, the plant most commonly called four o’clock. There are several dozen species in the genus, of herbaceous plants, mostly found in the Americas.” Wiki

I have done a search online for Mirabilis and found a picture of the dormant root of this plant. It was a hefty looking root and I fear that maybe I threw mine away in the winter not remembering what was in the pot. Lesson learned I hope. Label the pot and don’t throw any dead looking root into the compost bin. The roots or tubers I think look very much like Dahlia tubers.

Mirabilis flower
Mirabilis Seed

Cerinthe Major Purpurascens – sowing and growing

Back in 2017 I sowed some of these Cerinthe seeds thinking that they would self seed everywhere but alas there is no sign of them in my garden today. I collected seeds from the couple of plants that did grow and I came across them today and have decided to give them another go. Obviously they are old but they look good so I have first put them to soak a little and intend to start them indoors. I think I shall put the plants in to a large pot rather than directly into the garden this year. Update 28th March 2022 – I put the seeds into a pot of multi purpose compost today so fingers crossed for germination. Update 2nd April 2022 – Four of these seeds germinated at 5 days. Looking good and strong.

The common name of these majestic plants is Honeywort or the blue shrimp plant. They are much loved by bees and flower arrangers alike. I remember the plant as having beautiful blue green foliage and brilliant deep blue/purple flowers, as its name implies. Seeds are sold as hardy annuals and said to self seed easily. However, the seeds have a coat of armour that benefits from a little soaking in tepid water before sowing. Once established they will flower all summer but this time I shall save more seeds rather than leaving them to their own devices.

Ammi Majus – Queen Anne’s Lace

This year I decided to buy a few more seeds of Ammi Majus but unfortunately I had put the seed packet in my jumper pocket and it ended up in the wash. Disaster. I have put them in a bit of compost but an pretty certain that I have ruined them. I think if I can get just one plant to grow I shall be happy. I last sowed these in 2017 and thought that they would be popping up every year but not much survives in my garden, not even plants like this tough weed-like specimen.

Bishop’s flower, Ammi majus is a superb annual bearing delicate white lacy flowers and attractive ferny foliage. They look good in a mixed herbaceous border. These tall plants do best in well drained soil in sun to partial shade. As Ammi is an annual collect seeds to sow the following year but leave some for the goldfinches which like to eat them in winter.

Ammi Majus

Ammi majus, commonly called bishop’s flower, bullwort, greater ammi, lady’s lace, false Queen Anne’s lace, or laceflower, is a member of the carrot family Apiaceae. The plant is native to the Nile River Valley. Wikipedia

Warning: These plants can cause skin irritation.

Mirabilis and Balsam

This morning I have sown seeds of Mirabilis and Balsam that were collected from the garden about three years ago. As I remember they were both large and colourful flowering plants which I thought would self seed. I came across the seeds today so decided to try them. I have listed the links to the original page when I first bought the seeds. Update on 15th March, six days after sowing and good signs of healthy germination.

https://www.citychickens.co.uk/2017/02/27/miribalis-jalapa-marbles-mix/

https://www.citychickens.co.uk/

Growing Snakeshead Fritillaria From Seed

I have planted bulbs of Snakeshead before several times to no avail. Last year I bought another bag of bulbs from Wilko. Only one flower popped up last year. which was encouraging, so we left it in the same large pot and this year we were blessed with about five flowers which have now gone to seed and all but two had popped and cast their seeds to the wind. The remaining seed heads had many seeds inside so Laura has sown some in a tray and I have kept a few in order to research how to grow these beautiful and endangered wildflowers from seed.

grasslike seedlings

We are hoping that this years plants, having already scattered their seed to the wind, will grow on for us next Spring so as with all gardening its a waiting game now. The undisturbed bulbs should multiply too so fingers crossed.

Fritillaria seed ripens in mid to late summer and is best sown as soon as ripe or soon after in autumn. While older seed may still be viable it develops germination inhibitors that can make late sowings germinate erratically. In the wild Fritillaria spreads its seed by wind dispersal and seeds germinates on the surface of the ground. When sowing at home it is best to sow the seed on the surface of gritty compost and not bury it.

Water the seeds and place in a cool, sheltered place out of doors such as in a cold frame. Fritillaria seed requires a period of cold to stratify before germination so the pots can be left outdoors through the winter until they germinate which is usually in the Spring. Check the seed regularly for any germination and remove immediately to a bright place.

Once germinated keep the pot in a sunny position and keep watered throughout the growing season until the seedlings start to die down for their summer dormancy. By the end of the first year the baby bulbs will be small and difficult to handle so it’s better not to pot them on until the end of their second year. A typical Fritillaria will probably take 5 to 6 years from sowing to flowering.

Snakeshead Fritillaria

https://www.citychickens.co.uk/?s=snake+in+the+grass&searchsubmithttps://www.citychickens.co.uk/?s=snake+in+the+grass&searchsubmit

The snake’s head fritillary is one of the most exquisite jewels in the treasure house of British wildflowers with a long list of common names which include Checkered Daffodil, Chess Flower, Frog-cup, Leper lily and Guinea-hen Flower. The bell-shaped flowers are unmistakable for their nodding heads, sometimes of pure white, or more frequently marked with a delicate chequerboard pattern in shades of purple. This rare British wildflower is now protected in its native meadows, but will always attract attention in a woodland garden, rockery, or naturalised in grass .

The white form of this rare British native is rarely found in the wild. It flowers from March to May growing to between 15 and 40 cm in height. In the wild it is commonly found growing in grasslands in damp soils and river meadows and can be found at altitudes up to 800 metres, although it takes readily to garden culture where it makes a superb border plant.

.https://www.plant-world-seeds.com/store/view_seed_item/2315

White Snakeshead
Seedheads

Success 2022 – Spring

We have Snakeshead flowers plus grasslike seedlings appearing here and there in the garden. It was so exciting spotting fully formed plants and has been well worth the wait. I think they have to be my favourite plant for this year. At present we have red checkered flowers and I am looking for seeds of the white variety.

Overwintering Cabbages 2018

Overwintering cabbages

Overwintering cabbages is a method whereby spring cabbages are late summer sown. by doing this they  produce small tender cabbages or spring greens in April and May. Confusingly, late spring sowing of Durham Elf can ensure earlier crops in autumn and winter so I may try those next Spring..

Overwintering cabbages

Overwintering cabbages

To over winter cabbages sow mid July to August ¼” deep in a seed bed or in trays of seed compost. Keep moist. Transplant to their final position when plants can be easily handled which should be in about 5-6 weeks.

Allow 18” between plants. Plant firmly and water well until established. Harvest in April and May for good firm hearts.

The four varieties that I am sowing today are Durham Early, Durham Elf, First Early Market and  Offenham 2 Flower of Spring.

Update – The seeds I sowed on 13th August have not all germinated. Today 4th September I have potted on 12 First Early Market.  Nothing else was big enough to transplant but I shall leave them a little longer.

I am hoping to get these in at the allotment in the middle of October and hope to harvest in April and May 2019. They will be protected by a tunnel as we have lots of hungry pigeons down there..

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Gaura lindheimeri – The Bride

I have finally bought some seeds of Gaura lindheimeri or Whirling Butterflies. I saw these in a garden on the estate last year and they were immediately on my wish list. The plants were a bit out of my price range so I started the hunt for some reasonably priced seeds. Today I have sown three seeds each in two ten inch pots and after a good watering Laura has put them into her greenhouse so fingers crossed. Germination could be anything from 14-28 days. I don’t expect to see any flowers this year but if I can get a couple of good plants for next year flowering I shall be happy. I bought 30 seeds from Johnsons for £2.40. Apparently Gaura is a late performer so it tends to be put into the ground too early and too small. The time to bring on your Gaura is in July as a well-grown pot plant. It is said to self seed freely and as it is also short lived I intend to let some seed fall and save some to sow myself.

Update on 12th August 2018 –  I have four healthy seedlings. All I have to do now is get them through the Winter.

Update 18th July 2019.  – Two plants have survived and are now in the garden. One in the ground and the other in a large planter. 

 

Propagate by seed in pots in a cold frame from spring to early summer or propagate by basal cuttings or softwood cuttings in spring or semi-hardwood cuttings in summer. Cut back in early Spring.

A fully hardy, graceful, hazy plant with airy spikes of white, star-shaped flowers with long anthers held on slender stems from May to September. This exceptionally long-flowering perennial looks equally at home in an informal cottage-style garden or among soft grasses in a new perennial border. It is exceptionally drought-tolerant and will soak up the sun. Give it space as its wispy stems will lean over plants and pathways. Resist the temptation to cut back after the plant has flowered as it takes on beautiful autumn tints, particularly in cold weather. Cut back and divide large colonies in spring. information from Crocus.com. Can’t wait.

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At last. My own Gaura Whirling Butterflies

Laura’s Higgledy Seeds – May 2018 – Crazy Daisy

Laura has become a secret Seedaholic. Although we have loads of flower seeds she has been ordering from T&M and one of my favourite seed suppliers, Higgledy. She is in love with growing things so for her birthday on 18th April I bought her a walk in greenhouse, just a plastic one from Wilkos, but she loves it. A bit of compost a few pots and seed trays and she was off. Her latest seed purchases from Higgledy are Chrysanthemum Crazy Daisy, Zinnia Persian Carpet Mix, Echinops Ritro, Tithoria Torch and Statice Blue. She loves all things ‘Daisy’ so I have given her a new name, Crazy Daisy, after the Crysanth she chose. The name suits her to a Tee.

Higgledy £1.95 – Chrysanthemum Crazy Daisy is widely regarded as one of the best Chrysanthemums for the cut flower garden. Lots of white and cream flowers. Blooms are numerous and the white frilly petals have egg yolk yellow centres. This is a no fuss easy care perennial and a great addition to your  perennial bed in the cutting garden. Sow seed from February-May or August-October, into trays of compost and lightly cover seeds with vermiculite as the seeds need light to germinate. Keep at temperature of around 15°C. Germination usually takes between 3-4 weeks. If there is low germination rates induce a period of vernalisation where the seeds dormancy is broken by moving to a cold area about 4°C for a week or so and then return to 15°C. Once seedling are about 5cm tall pot on into individual pots. Its August and these flowers are just beginning to open. They belong to the Chrysanthemum family and should be sturdy perennials. Update July 2019 – sown last year, these daisies have given us a brilliant show this year. Worth the wait.

Higgledy Free Gift – Zinnia Persian Carpet  is a very elegant and charming flower. Colours range from deep reds to shining yellows on single and bicoloured blooms. The flowers themselves are more compact than most Zinnias but also more abundant. An old fashioned variety. Drought tolerant. Take care if sowing in pots as Zinnia do not like root disturbance. Sow them in May directly into the soil after the last frost. I’ve sown a few seeds into a small pot on 4th May 2018. Its August and we have these flowering here and there in pots. The flowers are a very striking bright orange with red accents.
 
Higgledy £2.25 for 50 – Echinops Ritro. Echinops is Latin for hedgehog apparently. Flowers are beautiful silvery blue spikey spheres. Foliage is also a striking blue green colour. As cut flowers they are very versatile and they dry easily too. Echinops is a hardy perennial much loved by bees and it self seeds. A tough plant for the back of the border.
Higgledy Tithonia Torch £1.95 for 50 – Mexican Sunflower. Tall vibrant dahlia like flowers ideal for the back of the border. Easy and fast growing. This variety has extreme tolerance to heat and drought making it very useful for those dry areas of the garden. It produces brilliant deep orange flowers that are 3″ across on a plant that spreads to 3′ wide. Sow the seeds From Feb – March in trays of a good quality seed compost. Cover lightly as light is needed for germination. Germination will take between 18 – 30 days. Plant out in late Summer.These plants will not require very much care. A little fertiliser every now and then and occasional watering will be ample. Best planted in full sun. Its 3rd August and Laura has been very disappointed with these plants as they are not very attractive foliage wise and so far the only one to flower is bright a bright yellow sunflower. We should have realised what the foliage would be like as the name does say Mexican Sunflower and sunflower foliage isn’t very attractive. Update – Its 7th September and still no flowers from these seeds.
Higgledy Statice Blue £1.95 for 100Statice is easy-to-grow from seeds and it is very rewarding with bright blue,  flat flower clusters of a papery texture that hold their color well . Usually used in dry flower arrangements. Its 3rd August and these plants are just coming into flower.
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