Change the label for Mimulus!

Everyone who bought Mimulus – given as alsinoides in the shop – it flowered in my garden and it seems to be M. guttatus – my apologies.

I hope no one gets upset; after all, guttatus has these large, bright yellow flowers, and it’s a short form!

Mimulus guttatus – bad picture, it was very windy

When collecting seeds from a new region for the first time, mistakes are bound to happen (more than usual). When I collected the seeds, all I could see were a few almost faded flowers of M. alsinoides, so it is possible that both species are mixed in the seeds harvested and sent.

A late arrival – Lindera benzoin seedlings

I’ve been watching out for Lindera germination on a regular base and had started to think about what could have been wrong: I collected the seeds myself, cleaned the pulp by hand (the seed coat is very thin), kept them moist and warm in late fall and then provided winter cold outside.

Lindera benzoin fruits & seeds

It seems nothing was wrong – a couple of days ago they finally showed up! Apparently they like to germinate (speaking of the shoots) after it gets a little warmer.


Lindera benzoin seedlings

Life in the fast lane – first seeds of the season available!

The very first seeds of the season, fresh and moist ;) are available!

Corydalis solida in various colours (although there is no guarantee on the seedlings colour) and the beauty of the spring, Claytonia virginica.
You can obtain 100% germination with both and have nice colonies developing in your garden in no time!

Dicentra cucullaria has put on a very nice show but it disappointed, yet again, when it came to setting seeds. But, ‘rice grains’ are always available to order (shipping only in Canada) and it saves you 1 to 2 years’ worth of growth.

Take advantage of the new shipping rates, very convenient for buying just a couple of packets, or keep an eye open until late June when Sanguinaria canadensis, Stylophorum and few others will join the moist company ;)

Hepatica seeds soon to follow after the pre-orders are finalized…


Paris in the rain

Paris quadrifolia

Maybe there will be seeds again this year…

Breaking the tradition – Medeola virginiana germination

More updates on germination requirements

It seems that Medeola virginiana seeds don’t follow the traditional double morphophysiological dormancy (MPD). Unlike most species with this type of dormancy, which require a cold-warm-cold cycle to germinate and produce roots in the warm period (2 years seeds), M. virginiana seeds do not form a root during this time; instead, root and cotyledon emerge at the same time in the second spring after sowing.

Medeola virginiana seedlings; seeds sown fall 2015 – germination spring 2017

Speculations are that this sort of germination pattern may represent a transition towards a type of more complex MPD.
Or is it sorcery involved ? ;-)

OK, the practical meaning of all this: be patient and don’t scratch the pots looking for tiny roots in the first year.

For me: I could keep the seeds in moist storage until the second spring, if I would have that many…

Note: again, we are talking here about sown fresh/moist kept seeds.

Alien vs. Predators – Aquilegia scopulorum

When in bud, the long spurred Aquilegia species bring visions of ‘Aliens’ waiting to ambush the ‘Predators’ :-)

Aquilegia scopulorum

Two years ago I lost A. scopulorum I had from Wrightman Alpines; don’t know if because I transplanted it or it was short lived, but luckily I collected a few seeds. The seedlings are just about to flower, and well, maybe they won’t be entirely true to species, but they look very close. I also obtained two variegated seedlings which I hoped in vain will revert to green. I’m not very fond on variegated foliage and so my question is: to keep or not to keep? – that’s a hard one…

Aquilegia scopulorum variegated seedling

Meanwhile, I hope the Predators won’t show up at night….I love my Aliens. I will post an image with the fully open flower in a couple of days.

Thanks to the heat wave, it opened fast – so here it is, the very image of its ‘mama’ :))

Aquilegia scopulorum

Hello Sunshine!

Saruma henryi starting to flower; a super easy plant to grow

Back to basics – Aquilegia

Most probably the first plant I grew successfully from seeds (that is, which I saw it flowering :) was an Aquilegia. I don’t remember precisely which one and it doesn’t matter; I like them all very much. They are easy to grow, provide a whole array of heights/colours and are good pollinator plants.

Yes, some are short lived, and yes, some will get the leaf miner, and of course, they hybridize and not all seedlings come true to the mother plant, but I still like them very much.

After being transplanted (a few times) last year, a few of my Aquilegias went into a ‘flower strike‘. I apologized for the treatment and we reconciled…

Aquilegia flabellata var. pumila – is one with few of the above mentioned flaws: it usually comes true from seeds, and the thick, leathery foliage won’t be affected by the leaf miner (or very weak attack); all ‘flabellatas’ could be grown just for their handsome, fan-shaped foliage.

Aquilegia flabellata var.pumila – Cute as a ‘button’ ; grown from seeds


A. flabelata ‘Nana Alba’ will be flowering soon…


Lost in translation – updates on germination requirements

Slowly, as I have the chance to try more species myself, and/or find reliable info, I work on making updates for the germination requirements on the Seeds shop. I already mentioned about Sanguinaria canadensis.

It is easy to ‘get lost in translation’ when reading about various types of morphophysiological dormancies, but a short summary for species from temperate regions that require warm/cold cycle for germination will be as follows:

This dormancy breaking requirement is naturally fulfilled by summer (high temperatures) followed by fall (lower warm temperatures) and winter (cold stratification). Note the need of high followed by low(er) warm temperatures.

Because of the collecting/shop logistics and peoples habit of buying seeds in late fall, this means that such species, when sowed in late fall/winter will need the whole next season to undergo these requirements, although otherwise they would not qualify in the ‘2 year germinators’ category.
So it goes: changed from require ‘cold stratification’ to ‘warm – cold stratification’:

Hydrophyllum virginianum
Hydrophyllum canadense
Aralia racemosa
Prosartes lanuginosa (moist packed seeds available this fall I hope)
Ilex verticillata

Hydrophyllum virginianum seedlings, seed sown fall 2015, too late for the warm treatment, germinated this spring (2017)

Prosartes lanuginosa: seeds sown after collecting in early September 2016 – germination right now (I only had about 9 seeds)

Other warm/cold germinators that we already know about and I already posted pictures (many require moist storage): most Corydalis, Allium tricoccum, Asarum canadense and europaeum, Saruma, Anemone quinquefolia and A. nemorosa, Dicentra (D. formosa in the featured image), Thalictrum thalictroides, Jeffersonia, Hepatica….

Corydalis nobilis seedlings

What’s with the farina?

Primula gemmifera var. amoena

Ever wondered about the farina that many Primula species develop on the leaves, stems, buds, flowers?

I haven’t until I started to observe the tiny seedlings of P. gemmifera var. amoena (syn. Primula zambalensis) starting to get covered with the white ‘stuff’.  Being the only Primula I grew this year from seeds, maybe I looked more often at it.

Of course, others have preoccupied themselves with the subject a long ago. It seems that about half of the Primula species bear minute glandular hairs (see in the image the small dots on the leaves) which secrete the white (or yellow) powder called ‘farina’. It is actually a wax-like material mixed with flavonoids, in most cases.

Primula gemmifera var. amoena seedlings showing glandular hairs starting to secrete the farina

It has taxonomic significance and it was used to define sections in the genus Primula, but otherwise it is considered of no use to the plants being in fact just a ‘waste’ product eliminated from the plant cells through the secretory hairs.

Looking at it from the gardener’s perspective it is of great use though – think about how much it enhances the beauty of all farinose Primula species! Next year I hope to show the flowers of this Primula which grows on stony moist  slopes of NW Yunnan and SW Sichuan; they are said to be lilac- blue and deliciously scented!

Primula gemmifera var. amoena seedlings