Back with more seeds

I’m back and guess what? – I brought more seeds :)
We cannot remove/transport plants but, no worry they are contained within the seeds: tiny capsules of time and memories, of new places, mountains and blue skies…
A gallery with few images for now, there will be plenty of time for stories when days are getting shorter.

All available seeds, including more local collections will be added to the Shop over the next couple of weeks. Please stay tuned…


with Geum reptans

Our night temperatures have plunged to new record lows of -30˚C; our spirits are following the same trend. Short of being able to fly away to a sunny destination, I made a trip into the past summer days.

Geum reptans

Geum reptans – in habitat, Carpathian Mts.

Geum reptans sits at the top of my ‘to collect’ list. I would have a lot to say about this mountain Geum. After seeing it in full splendour, there is no denying that it holds the record of the largest flowered Geum species. From my present frozen perspective however, size is not as important as their irradiating glow, which could (metaphorically) melt the ice away.

I am convinced now that it is a total calcifuge species. In the natural habitat we found individuals growing majestically on granitic boulders or isolated populations scattered over sloped rocky alpine meadows only where the underlying substrate was predominantly of silicaceous nature; amongst them were rosettes of Soldanella pusilla and Primula minima. Needless to say that, the drainage they enjoy in these conditions is nothing short of being ‘stellar’.

Geum reptans - solitary on a versant boulder

Geum reptans – splashed over a big boulder, on a stabilized scree

Geum reptans - on a rocky alpine meadow slope

Geum reptans – on a rocky alpine meadow slope

In a few early flowered plants, the magnificent rose and fluffy seed heads were just beginning to ripe, so I couldn’t collect seeds last year; another record – of disappointment this time…

Geum reptans - immature seed heads

Geum reptans – immature seed heads

Propagation: I wrote about the germination and showed seedlings in other posts. The seeds from a previous collection have germinated very well. Seedlings developed strong tap roots and weren’t too fussy, but I didn’t manage to keep them going longer than two years. Not enough drainage was surely a big problem, especially in my newly planted rock-plants containers. I hope one day I’ll broke another record: of growing this mountain avens in my rock garden!

Geum reptans in late November

The Return of the Germinatrix

A rather silly post from last spring inspired by the good growth of a few very special seed collections from the Carpathian Mts. By fall some of them had grown up quite a bit so I added a few other images.

The youngest heralds of the new gardening season are looking grown up now and some are ready to be transplanted. There is the constant chattering and moving around plus that they pick their noses out from under lights as soon as they feel something is happening around.

Hello there! My name is Geum (reptans) and I am from the Carpathian Mts. I am 2 months-old and I like to play under lights with my friends: Anthemis, Oxytropis, and Anthyllis. When I grow up I would like to have a nice big boulder to spread unto by myself. Some say that I’m the most beautiful of the mountain avens, but I’m too little to know about this. My flowers, they say, are very big, bright yellow, like the sun. My fruits will be like fathe.., feater.., feather…I have to go now – farewell!

Hellooo! I want to see who’s there too…Don’t listen to Geum, I’m the prettiest, everyone says so! The mountain avens and all the others are so envious, that’s why I’m playing only with Dianthus (petraeus); she’s pretty too. And my name is Aquilegia (nigricans) and I am going to have the bluest flowers.  Oh! Look who’s talking – the ‘princess’. See how lacy I am and I’ll form a nice clump with lots of white daisy-like flowers. By the way, my name is Anthemis (carpatica)

Kids! I’m just their nanny, I’m wondering what their parents from up the mountain would say….you can see them all in the Botanical Trailblazers page – Bucegi Mountains.

Dianthus glacialis

Still botanizing in the Bucegi Plateau

Geum reptans is an alpine gem of which I was able to collect a few seeds. Growing in crevices and spreading in mats over boulders, it was already past flowering during late July, and its ornamental fluffy seed heads were getting pink. Although also admired for its yellow flowers, I find the pinnate, fernlike foliage very beautiful in itself. Called ‘the best of its race of mountain avens’ by Jim Jermyn, it is most definitely calcifuge requiring a perfectly drained mixture and full sun exposure – perfect for a scree garden.

Near the Geum reptans, small tufts of Armeria alpina stood out on top of the rocks, and then, fiercely competing with them for our attention, Dianthus glacialis, with its brilliant pink flowers, was making it very hard to concentrate on taking pictures! Dianthus glacialis in flower is a must see, at least once in a lifetime. Small green cushions covered in almost stemless pink flowers, defy description. There are two subspecies, glacialis and gelidus, the later being a Romanian endemic. The differences between them are quite minute; without going into details, subsp. gelidus has bigger flowers with a more intense pink colour, and it seems that the clumps we found belonged to this subspecies. To change the colour spectrum, clumps of two wonderful Asteraceae with white flowers: Achillea schuri and Anthemis carpatica were sprinkled on the rocky slopes, blooming profusely. Anthemis carpatica is already taken into cultivation and apparently adapts well to full sun and calcareous substrates, while Achillea schuri, endemic to Romania, has still to make its way into the gardening world.

Whenever the trail goes close to stone walls and outcrops, the delightful Campanula cochlearifolia greets you from above with its thimble-like delicate, blue flowers. It is not a pretentious plant to cultivate either, and can even overcome its boundaries if not restricted between some rocks. Among the species with violet or mauve flowers I have to mention Calamintha alpina subsp. baumgarteni (syn. Acinos alpinus subsp. alpinus). Considered a chamaephyte, it has a woody stem with small leaves and mauve flowers typical of the Lamiaceae family. On the other hand, the genus Oxytropis is not a stranger to rock gardeners, and Oxytropis halleri is a wonderful example with its violet flowers and dense pinnate foliage. And of course, it cannot be a mountain ‘story’ without a Saxifrage. Quite a few species are abounding in the Bucegi. Saxifraga paniculata seemed very happy in the Plateau, flowering in big colonies at margins of the path, as well as Saxifraga moschata, which has small rosettes, with finely divided leaves and yellow, fragrant flowers.

And to be continued…





Seeds of a New Year

Happy New Year everyone!

In keeping with a not too long tradition, on first of January, I’m writing about something that was the most special plant-wise for me, in the past year. And it seems that having up and running my indoor light stand won the honour!

From under the lights Under lights

For all of us gardeners and plant-alcoholics in the Northern hemisphere, the counter-attack to a long, harsh winter is without doubt having a growing light stand. With the seeds packages that start pouring in January, and the personal seeds collections, by mid February one can have a small growing operation! Of course that with the ‘seedling joy’ also comes frustration and sadness after loosing some, but that’s all part of the game, isn’t it?

Garden ready for 2014

Let’s all prepare to plant the seeds of a New Year! Try something new, approach differently what didn’t work last year, be creative, experiment, learn some more and watch your garden flourish.


May all your seeds germinate and all your plants and dreams come true in 2014!