More Comps flowers and apologies

I knew this it will happen sooner or later and I knew it will be a damn comp – running short on seeds for an order.
Luckily there are many other species that I can make up with for the missing Aster alpinus seeds.

Aster alpinus – good (upper right corner) and bad ‘seeds’

The embarrassing moment put behind, let’s have a look at a few more Comps flowers.

Seedless Friday – Compositae

Well, not quite seedless – here’s one image. I didn’t have time to finish what I wanted to do for the Compositae family and, taking into consideration the weather here, maybe it is for the best. We can really use some colours at this time!

Centaurea salonitana seeds

So, just a gallery with mostly Centaurea and few others thistle-like species :)
The names are displayed on mouse hover, or click and browse through the gallery




February Sale and shop announcement

February – welcome to fresh snow, the new February Sale list and the first germinated seeds of Aconitum ‘Ivorine’. A couple of packets have just been placed on the February Sale list.

Aconitum septentrionale ‘Ivorine’ germinated seeds

This is also the official announcement that the Seeds Shop will close for the month of March.

Please take advantage and do the seeds shopping during February. In March it is too late to provide cold/moist stratification for many species, a bit too early for the warm germinators and, most importantly, time off is needed to put in order the whole inventory, make plans for the new collections and perform various technical adjustments on the website.

All has to be ready by the time Hepatica starts flowering in April and the first wave of new seeds comes crushing upon us on May :)

Thank you all!



More new seeds

A short note again about the last seeds added to the shop, about a Lilium and thanks for sharing

The most recent Lilium species added to the shop doesn’t have a name, yet. The seeds were collected in the Durmitor Mts. of Montenegro, and it is offered for now as Lilium ssp. B17Durm.
The collector thinks it is a species from L. carniolicum/ chalcedonicum group.
Someone who already started germination tests, shared their findings and came back with the same conclusion (based on the fact the seeds displayed neither delayed hypogeal at warm, nor immediate epigeal germination).

Lilium ssp. B17Durm.; identifying Lilium after the seeds, an almost impossible task (1 mm grid)

Sometimes it is very hard to correctly identify certain species when plants reach seed maturity. Add to this being for the first time in a certain region and it becomes even more difficult. The only option in such cases is to ‘attach’ a collection name to the seeds; after the species is identified later everyone can refer back to it and write the correct name in their garden journal.

On this occasion, I would like to thank those who take time to write back and share their germinations findings, pictures, as well as other seedlings & plant related stories. I couldn’t possibly test by myself so many different species and any reliable piece of information is greatly appreciated.
It is always a pleasure to receive your emails – Thank you very much indeed :)

So, these are the last species added to the inventory (hover with the mouse to see the names).
Also in the Seed list,  Papaver ammophilum joins the others Papaver species (P. bracteatum and nudicaule) and the above mentioned Lilium.


New seeds for 2018!

Saying goes I should be more proactive with the shop announces so here they are – Latest additions to the shop, and more to come…
Hover the mouse over the pictures for the names or click to open the gallery.

Winter getaway – Dobrogea II

Continuing the Dobrogea I with other species which call this particular and beautiful region home.
I hope you already got a taste of it; this should make it easier when growing some of these species from seeds and also help selecting the garden location.

First a mention for two endemic species:

Campanula romanica:

Campanula romanica growing on a lichen covered rock outcrop, North Dobrogea, Romania

Centaurea jankae: a species with few populations known only to exist in Romania and Bulgaria. Good luck (and broken stems by wind/animals) made it to find a few late flowers to photograph.

Centaurea jankae

Remembering the sunny days of past summer, the flowers, the rocks and wildlife:

Stachys atherocalyx, very similar with Stachys recta that I offered seeds from Carpathian Mts.

Stachys atherocalyx

Hedysarum grandiflorum, as well just one late flowering stem was waiting to be immortalized :)

Hedysarum grandiflorum

Hedysarum grandiflorum habitat

Convolvulus cantabrica, perfect in a rockery and probably hardy in our area (Ontario) with reliable snow covered. I have a two-year old Convolvulus tragacanthodes growing in the rockery, we’ll see how it comes out from this winter.

Convolvulus cantabrica in wild habitat

Iberis saxatilis, you have to imagine it covered in white flowers in the spring :)

Iberis saxatilis

Cephalaria uralensis

Cephalaria uralensis

The Dobrogean tortuga for a variation

Dobrogean tortuga, Testudo graeca

Thymus zygioides, found growing in the company of Paronychia cephalotes

Thymus zygioides

One more view from Macin Mts.

And a little lizard (Lacerta) basking in the sun

There were many other species of course; more to follow when the next wave of arctic air hits us!


Winter getaway – Dobrogea I

Well, the trip interruption was a bit longer that I would have wished, but here we are on the road again (see first part of the trip here). In order to beat the polar vortex that descended upon us we need sun & flowers!

As I said, the drive from Southeastern Carpathians to Dobrogea region is not very long, depending on the destination it can take 4-5 hours. The Dobrogea region (with Dobrogea Plateau) in Romania is surrounded to the north and west by the Danube River and to the east by the Danube Delta and the Black Sea. Most visitors are aiming for the Black Sea sand beaches, bird watching and/or fishing in the Danube Delta, and very few aim to enjoy the particular flora of the region.

Given its position, the climate is slightly warmer and more arid than in the rest of Romania, winters are cold but with less snow and the flora is very specific with a combination of endemic plants and various species at their geographical limits. It is a special ‘meeting’ place for species of Mediterranean, Eurasian and even Caucasian origin!

Even if in late July it is very hot and dry and many species are at the end of flowering, there is still a lot to explore. I will start with a few Caryophyllaceae to keep the continuity and then show various other species.

Dianthus nardiformis is an endemic of this region and luckily being a late flowering species it was still very showy; photographed on the dry, exposed, rocky hills of Enisala fortress and everywhere else. Striking especially when dispayed against the lichens laden rocks.
Cultivated for a long time, this Dianthus makes for a good garden plant, although not as tidy (foliage speaking) as other species, but extremely floriferous, hardy and long lived. There is an impressive specimen at Montreal Botanical Garden to testify it.

Dianthus nardiformis

On the same dry, rocky hills surrounding Enisala fortress, it was a nice surprise to find Paronychia cephalotes. I have a young plant grown from seeds of Crimean accession in the rockery, and I look forward to see it flowering. However, seeing a species ‘perform’ in the wild is always much better!
It is a mat forming species with white, papery bracts posing as ‘flowers’. It is hard to think it belongs to Caryophyllaceae at a superficial look.

Paronychia cephalotes and Thymus zygioides, Dobrogea July 2017

From the neglected genus Minuartia, I will note Minuartia adenotricha, a species that you will also found on the other side of the Black Sea, on the Crimean mountains.

Minuartia adenotricha, Dobrogea 2017

Gypsophila pallasii is a similar species with G. glomerata offered in the seeds shop (as well of Crimean origin); doing very well on the dry, rocky substrate in the company of Echinops, Artemisia, Xeranthemum, Astragalus, Allium ssp. and many others.

Gypsophila pallasii at Capul Dolosman, Dobrogea 2017

A must have stop for plant lovers in Dobrogea are the Macin Mountains located in Tulcea County. These are among the oldest mountains in Europe, formed during the Hercynian orogeny with the predominant rock – granite, but also sandstone limestone. Their specific look is given by the eroded granite formations.
Although a very, very long time ago these mountains were taller than the Carpathians; today the highest point is Ţuţuiatu/Greci Peak with an elevation of 467 m above sea level.

Macin Mts., Dobrogea, Romania

In the quite dry-looking landscape of late July, Silene compacta stood apart with its rich magenta inflorescences. It is not difficult to assume that full sun locations and super good drainage would be mandatory for its successful cultivation. 

Silene compacta in Macin Mts.

Many other interesting species grow in the particular habitats of the Dobrogean plateau – I will follow with more pictures.



Back to normal and a Viola

The Seeds Shop activity is back to normal; special thanks to those who placed orders and waited patiently!

About the Viola

Last day in the Carpathian Mts. this summer was dedicated to revisiting a special place, no seeds collecting in mind, just pure enjoyment of the scenery.
Going up a narrow rock ravine to join a narrow terrace grass trail (known as “brâna”) I snapped a few pictures, which included a Viola and then kept going. On the return, I stopped to collect Aquilegia nigricans seeds and also took on the fly some from the mentioned Viola thinking it would be nice to grow it in the garden together with Polygala vulgaris, like in nature.

Viola cf. declinata, and Polygala vulgaris – Bucegi Massif, August 2017

I didn’t know on the spot which species it was, so I should have taken proper pictures for ID. But we know about ‘should and would’….
Taking into consideration the site, flowering period and flora of the region, it is very probably to be Viola declinata.
Another option is Viola tricolor subsp. saxatilis (syn. subsp. subalpina).

Close up pictures of the seeds may have a final say on this; or not…To follow…

*Allium thunbergii ‘Ozawa’ and Gentiana cruciata seeds were added to the inventory.

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
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 ;)