Easy species to grow from seeds – Edraianthus graminifolius

I’ve started to put together a list with species easy to grow from seeds as a way to provide info and encouragement to those who are at the beginning of their seeds adventures. The list will see additions as we go and every update will also include a plant portrait.

Let’s begin with Edraianthus graminifolius; yeah, I am not starting with A, just because I don’t feel like it :)

Edraianthus graminifolius – grassy bells belongs to the Campanula family and like its name suggests, has linear, grassy-looking leaves and large, blue flowers, in terminal clusters in May-June. The foliage remains tight and low at about 15 cm but the flowering stems are spreading/trailing so it needs its space ;)
An absolutely delightful and easy going plant, as long as grown in full sun/well drained locations. You don’t really need a rock garden for it; just keep in mind its growth habit and place it in a suitable spot.

Edraianthus graminifolius in June

Edraianthus graminifolius and another easy going, the silvery/pubescent – Hieracium lanatum

Growing for the first time from seeds, or just want something fast and easy? Try something from the list below. ‘Easy to grow from seeds’ means:
– easy to germinate & in large percentage
– seedlings that aren’t fussy to grow
– also, easy going plants in the garden, as long as provided with the required conditions.

I will avoid the so called two-stage germinators (although all you have to do is wait) or others that I never germinate/grow myself, species with naturally low germination rates, cases where the seedlings need special care or the ones I’m not quite sure about.

Easy species to grow from seeds from BotanyCa 2017 Seed list (list to be updated; other species not available currently  will be included)

Aquilegia bertolonii, A. canadensis and all others
Anemone multifida var. saxicola
Anthemis carpatica
Arisaema triphyllum
Arisaema flavum
Asarum canadense (sown fresh or moist kept seeds)
Asarum europaeum (sown fresh or moist kept seeds)
Asphodeline lutea
Berkheya purpurea
Calycanthus floridus
Centaurea triumfettii
C. orientalis, and other Centaurea spp.
Cerastium alpinum ssp. lanatum
Cirsium canum

Corydalis lutea (moist kept seeds)
Corydalis solida (when sown right away or moist kept seeds)
Clematis integrifolia

Dianthus nardiformis
Dianthus superbus ssp. sajanensis, other Dianthus spp.
Edraianthus graminifolius

Gentiana cruciata
Gentiana dahurica
G. tibetica, other spp. from Cruciata section
Geum triflorum. other Geum spp.
Gypsophila species

Hieracium lanatum

Iris dichotoma
Jurinea mollis
Lathyrus vernus
Lilium formosanum var.pricei
Lychnis ssp.
Lupinus bicolor

Mimulus spp.
Papaver alpinum
Paronychia cephalotes
Phyteuma orbiculare
Phyteuma scheuzeri
Podophyllum peltatum (moist kept)

Primula japonica and other Primula spp. (not all)
Plectritis congesta
Sedum ssp.

Silene ssp.
Scabiosa caucasica, other Scabiosa spp.
Stylophorum diphyllum (moist kept species)
Stylophorum lasiocarpum
Thalictrum cf. foetidum
Viola – most species

Friday’s seed and plant portrait – Hypericum kalmianum

Having too many seeds makes it hard to choose which one to show/write about.
I am going the easy way with the last species uploaded to the shop – the Kalm’s St. John’s wort, a (sub)shrub native of the Great Lakes region in Canada and US.

Hypericum kalmianum seeds – Kalm’s St. John’s wort (Fam. Hypericaceae)

Cultivated to some extent, this Hypericum has narrow bluish-green leaves and cheerful, large golden flowers with extruded stamens in late summer; the capsules mature very late.
It is a showy, adaptable plant; evergreen (or partly) and as one can guess after its wild habitat, with excellent cold hardiness. Another attractive feature is the brown/reddish bark which peels off.

Lots of qualities!

The specific epithet honors Pehr Kalm, one of Linnaeus’ disciples ; an explorer, botanist and naturalist, he traveled to and lived for a while in North America in mid-17th , discovering and writing about plants, animals, insects, Niagara Falls, and in general about the life of American colonies at the time.

Another species that can be found with H. kalmianum, bearing the same name is Lobelia kalmii  shown in the gallery.
Days are short now so you can start to read more about Pehr in the wiki stub and then follow other links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pehr_Kalm

Friday’s seeds – Echinops crispus

Besides the seeds, a sunny image with Echinops crispus (curly Echinops) on this bitterly cold day; the red flowers of Anthyllis might warm us up.

Echinops crispus and Anthyllis vulneraria var. coccinea in the background, early June 2017

I secretly watched this globe thistle evolve from a small seedling into a beautiful clump this year; too bad I was away just when at its most glorious time. The underside of leaves and the stems are covered with a thick pubescence (shown in the featured image), a perfect adaptation for the drought; grown from seeds collected in the southern Ural Mts. (Chelyabinsk region).

Echinops crispus, July 2017

 Like in many other species from Fam. Asteraceae, some of the fruits (achenes) are empty, thus careful selecting of the seeds is necessary.

Echinops crispus fruits and seeds

Echinops name from the Greek words ‘ekhinos’ = hedgehog, sea urchin and
‘ops’ = face, head (referring to the appearance of the inflorescences)

Friday’s Seeds and plant portrait – Amsonia hubrichtii

Honestly, I had no intention to write another post so soon, but plants need to be shown at their best moments. And, Amsonia hubrichtii, the Arkansas bluestar is absolutely radiant right now.

Amsonia hubrichtii in late fall

Depending how much sun receives it may also take a russet hue (notice the capsules).

I won’t wonder again about why is not cultivated more; the images speak for themselves. It is a foliage plant by definition, the thread- like leaves will combine beautifully with almost anything else; those who want more flowery display should plant other perennials close to it and let them complement/weave through the delicate foliage.

The flowers are pale blue, not very noticeable but a nice addition.

With Delphinium likiangense; probably larkspurs (Consolida regalis) would make for a nice combination as well.

Without thinking much, one year I planted Dahlia coccinea behind it; now it has become the rule.

The seeds are quite particular, like of other Amsonias (Fam. Apocynaceae); the fruits (capsules) can be spotted in one image above.

Amsonia hubrichtii seeds

PS. It is a bit late to emerge in the spring; planting a bunch of small spring bulbs & daffodils close to the clump will do the trick ;)

 

November Newsletter

Well, nothing significantly new happened that hasn’t already been posted in the blog. Besides the seeds, this is a busy time with garden winter preparations and tucking in the young plants for their winter sleep; about this a special post later.

Seeds wise

There are still a few species waiting to be assessed (GA3, embryo cut) and eventually placed in the shop, but otherwise the seed list for this year is pretty much complete. Latest addition to the shop: Paeonia obovata var. alba.

Bad news

To get over the bad news fast, I am sorry to announce that we have decided to discontinue shipping to the USA. Maybe one day the decision will be reversed, but under the present U.S. customs regulations and conditions, the whole process had become too cumbersome to manage.
Many thanks to all past US customers!

Fall is a good time for a note about grasses and sedges.

It is unfortunate that many don’t consider growing more from seeds; they are easier to grow than many other species. Because not in high demand, I haven’t collected anything new this season except Melica transsilvanica, and this only because I want to grow it for myself. Of course there are few extra seeds to share.

Melica transsilvanica, Silky melic together with Veronica orchidea in wild habitat

The assortment available in Canada has never been too broad, leaving aside the countless cultivars of Miscanthus, Pennisetum and Panicum, plus some Carex. Yes, there is also Hahonechloa and few others, but the offering is getting scarcer from one year to another.
Helictotrichon, Deschampsia, Sporobolus have become rare; also it seems Chasmanthium latifolium has fallen into disgrace.

I have all of the above but I particularly like the evergreen (or partly) sedges which provide texture to the winter garden in the snowless periods. Alas, native Carex species have never been much in fashion.

Carex lupulina (native) and Carex oshimensis ‘Everest’ are shown in the featured image, marking the entrance to a path in my garden.

Carex muskingumensis (palm sedge) is another interesting NA sedge which adds a nice texture to any planting.

Other NA native sedges that I would like to add to the garden, pending seeds availability, are Carex plantaginea, Carex eburnea and C. grayi.

In the end, either grown from seeds or ready purchased, I would say we need more grasses; “some may realize it and some may not”… ;)

On the tips of ten thousand grasses each and every dewdrop contains the light of the moon
Since the beginning of time not a single droplet has been forgotten
Although this is so, some may realize it, and some may not.
Dogen


Chasmanthium latifolium, Northern Sea oats

Friday’s Seed – Halloween edition

Anthirrhinum braun-blanquetii

Anthirrhinum braun-blanquetii capsules & seeds

The hardy snapdragon is a super easy plant to do from seeds: warm germinator and easy going seedlings. Started early it will flower in the first year, all summer long and late into fall (including right now).

Maybe I should pack some capsules and hand them out instead of candy? :) :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday Seedex with Asteraceae

I’m late with preparing the seedex donations; just sent a small one to the SCRG and since the local mail doesn’t take long, I’ll pack a few more for ORG & HP Society this weekend.

It’s not easy to decide what to give; I always start to think what would be more attractive from what I have surplus, then some need more cleaning than others, and so on…Speaking of cleaning, nothing is more disappointing than receiving the wonderful little packets only to find inside ‘not so good seeds’, or just parts of them (it happened a few times).

Special attention is needed to all species in Fam. Asteraceae because by as a rule some of the seeds are always empty and it is not always easy to see which ones with the naked eye; a strong hand lens is necessary.

For example, let’s look at Anthemis carpatica ssp. pyrethriformis I just prepared for ORGS & HP. This subspecies, endemic to Eastern Carpathian Mts., while bearing the same large flowers is smaller in size than the regular A. carpatica.
It is super easy to grow from seeds (warm germinator) and is a good plant for any rockery (attention when planting the grown seedlings in the garden – they need very good drainage). The seedlings shown are from a previous seed collection I did few years ago.

Anthemis carpatica ssp. pyrethriformis seeds

and the non viable ‘seeds’

Anthemis carpatica ssp. pyrethriformis – non-viable seeds; when shown already separated, it seems easy to distinguish them but actually I had to use a x 40 hand lens to do it!

Another Asteraceae donated to both SRGC and ORG & HP – Jurinea mollis seeds are shown in the featured image.

Two years in a row, instead of seeds I found in the seedex packets just the pappus of a dwarf Jurinea species (from AGS Seedex).
This is how Jurinea seeds look like, with variations depending on the species and the moment when the seeds were collected (the pappus can be reduced in size or it may have fallen out).

Jurinea mollis seeds

The cranberry

Another belated Friday’s seeds would have been unacceptable, so a plant portrait instead (seeds included ;) about the cranberry – Vaccinium macrocarpon, American cranberry.

The Cranberry is a North American symbol. Recently I’ve seen it growing in the wild and asked myself how many people actually know how the plant looks like?

Vaccinium macrocarpon fruit

It is very surprising to see that the large fruits are formed on a small trailing vine, which has thin, graceful branches. Is this indeed The cranberry?

Vaccinium macrocarpon

Yes, it is; after all ‘macrocarpon’ means ‘large fruit’.
Another species, Vaccinium oxycoccos, the small cranberry, is very similar and distinguishable by its pointed leaves (and few other details). The cranberries are specific wetlands species: they grow on swamps, fens, and occasionally on glacial deposits in kettle holes on shorelines (like shown in the picture). Usually will form mats on Sphagnum moss; leaves are shiny green/glaucous beneath and turn bright red in the fall.

The American cranberry can be found from Manitoba to Newfoundland, and south into the mid-western and eastern U.S. Probably in some areas fruits are still collected in the wild but most came from commercial operations. It was one of the first medicinal plant crop to be grown commercially in the U.S.; maybe in Canada as well.

Traditionally, Native people have gathered and consumed the fresh fruits for their vitamin C content and also used them dried and mixed with fat/dried meat and fish.
To note only few of the modern utilizations: they are used mainly for juice and pie making, jams, dried fruits, and for naturopathic preparations (bladder and kidney infections).

Have a bog/wet, acidic area in the garden? – do not hesitate to grow this lovely North American shrub!

 

Belated Friday’s Seed – a gift

Another belated Friday’s seeds and talk about a gift; the kind I like the most: plants and seeds :)

My Disporum uniflorum (syn. D. flavens) despite a vigorous growth had never set more than 3 seeds, just a lot of empty fruits. Obviously something’s wrong with pollination; in most cases another plant (different clone) placed nearby will do the trick. So, I am very happy I obtained one, plus some seeds !!! Next year we can hope for more.

Let’s have a look at them:

Disporum uniflorum seeds

And a picture from a few years ago, before I dug it up and divide it (shared with friends and took one with me at the new garden). It is an absolutely gorgeous plant (like all Disporums); in the fall the foliage turns yellow and contrast beautifully with the dark blue fruits.

 

Disporum uniflorum layered with Epimedium ‘Amber Queen’ and Epimedium lishihchenii –  a May symphony in yellow!

 

 

A well done job

Never enough gentians….

In my opinion the bumble bees did a great job with Gentiana andrewsii. There are enough seeds for Canada 150 Celebration sale, and also for the seeds exchanges! :)

Bumble bee pollinating Gentiana andrewsii

A well done job