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)
Updates highlighted in green

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
Erinus alpinus

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
Linaria
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 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

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!

 

Overheating – Roscoea tibetica f. atropurpurea

In this part of the world, the heat & humidity combined together can be quite unbearable. Today, we reached around 38C, with the humidex!
Even the little Roscoea tibetica f. atropurpurea couldn’t take it anymore and the first capsule bursted out in desperation. Two more to follow…

Roscoea tibetica f. atropurpurea with split capsule

I talked about this Roscoea a few times; a cute little thing and a curiosity. It shows up very late (June), produces only few flowers and it is so small that it needs a special place to be seen. Plus, the capsules split in a most unattractive way. Still, I found it charming :) Don’t you?

Roscoea tibetica f. atropurpurea – measured last year

Sneaky Saruma

Saruma took advantage I didn’t watch it for a couple of days and dropped its seeds into the ground. Sneaky!

But I still caught some of them ;) and there will be more because, unlike its cousins Asarum species, it flowers on and off throughout the summer.

Saruma henryi fresh seeds – the clustered seeds seem to mimic bird droppings or a caterpillar?; no need for the strategy because they fall to the ground very fast after the fruit splits open.

It joined right away the Moist packed seeds category! Very easy from fresh or moist kept seeds.

A Gentiana representative

We can’t celebrate without a Gentiana and there is no other species easier to grow from seeds (and in the garden) than G. dahurica; granted, I still have a lot of Gentiana species to try.

Laden with blue flowers in mid- summer, it will make both you and the pollinators happy for  a very long time!

Representing China and Mongolia for Canada 150 Celebration Sale –
Gentiana dahurica

Gentiana dahurica

Refreshing – Aconitum ‘Ivorine’

White on blue is a refreshing combo. Yesterday, amidst the heat wave I took few pictures of Aconitum ‘Ivorine’ just starting flowering.
Pure white, tinged with green flowers on sturdy stems make this Aconitum very appealing.  The bluish background provided by Juniperus ‘Wichita’ is pure serendipity – most of my plants were planted where I could find a proper space in this new garden without much thinking of colour combinations.

Aconitum septentrionale ‘Ivorine’

It doesn’t clump excessively, which is unfortunate; I could use more seeds, so this is the next ‘ivory’ generation! Very easy to germinate if the seeds are sown fresh or kept moist and allowed a warm/cold cycle. The pots can be brought indoors around February to germinate and grown under lights will achieve a better growth by June. I had no more space available this year so they germinated outside somewhere beginning of May.

Aconitum septentrionale ‘Ivorine’ freshly transplanted seedlings

 

 

 

Exception – Sedum atratum

Growing annual plants is very satisfying – they germinate, grow, flower and set seeds in one season; some will also self-seed themselves for the next year; nothing to worry about throughout the winter…I can understand the attraction. But I still like to grow perennials ;))

Sometimes I make exceptions – and Sedum atratum is one notable because I collected the seeds from a place in the Carpathians that is not easy to reach; it reminds me about ‘my mountain’, and belongs to the ‘little plants’ category.

Sedum atratum ssp. atratum in the Carpathian Mts.

Last year some nocturnal animal took a snack from a little clump growing at the edge of the rockery; luckily a few seeds were already into the safety of the tufa rocks and I can continue to enjoy it. Maybe even collect a few seeds later.

Sedum atratum ssp. atratum among Dryas octopetala ‘Tundra Pygmy’

Sedum atratum ssp. atratum is an annual species, with the mention that I’ve seen non-flowering rosettes and most likely also behaves as a biennial; from the mountains of South and Central Europe.
It is great in a rockery or scree area, showing here in there, without bothering other species; small, fleshy stems and leaves, which turn deep red later in the season.
Best to scatter the seeds in the desired place, in late fall or early spring.

 

Paris in the rain

Paris quadrifolia

Maybe there will be seeds again this year…