Rewind: Spring Seeds

by Andrew Keys on October 5, 2010

Way back in January, I posted a Roll Call of seeds I had ordered or intended to order from nefarious seed catalogs that arrive to tantalize us all in the dead of winter.


Let’s just say my reputation as a grower of things from seed has not been buoyed by the class of 2010. Results are decidedly in favor of my procurement of more durable, already-growing plants, as opposed to seeds. I am, however, nothing if not an honest man, so I intend to share with you my seed follies. Fear not, novice gardeners! This should serve as proof to you we’re ALL novices at something!

  • Hibiscus cannabinus: when it came time to plant these, I had sort of lost interest. I gave them to Michelle G. Michelle, did you plant them? Did they turn heads? Did feds descend?
  • Alonsoa meridionalis: I found one tiiiiiiiiiiiny sprig of Alonsoa where I’d planted it… In probably too much shade. Plus, we had an insanely dry summer, and I have a feeling it didn’t get enough to drink.
  • Emilia javanica: Nada. Planted with Alonsoa. Who knows?
  • Brassica ‘Nero di Toscana’: Did I plant it too late? Must’ve. Either that, or it was stunted by some compost I realized too late was still hot. It bolted practically as it germinated, so much so that I mistook it for the Sanguisorba below for and nurtured it lovingly as such for a period of time.
  • Lunaria annua: You know, I thought the money plant went kaput, but I recently discovered a clutch of them growing in a far flung corner. This one’s okay.
  • Moluccella laevis: Um, I forgot to plant these.
  • Sanguisorba officinalis: See above, Brassica ‘Nero di Toscana’. See also: the expression “Oh, brother.”
  • Quamoclit pinnata: Did. not. grow. It’s sort of a morning glory but not quite. Does this mean I can’t grow morning glories? As a British friend of mine used to say, “Oh, bless…”
  • Salvia sclarea: These grew! Lots of little ones! I win on these.
  • Polymnia uvedalia: This wins the Darwin Award, because I followed the supplier’s recommendation of burning them first, and it’s a wonder I still have my eyebrows.
  • Asphodelus ramosus: Forgot these too.

I have to add one late-breaking addition that came after the others on this list, because IT was actually a success, and that is Cleome ‘Violet Queen’. (Click that photo at left, from my last GDRT post [hence the Ilex crenata reference], to enlarge.)

Yes, it probably would’ve been more a success if I hadn’t mistaken the seedlings for Vitex (which I tried from seed last fall) and thinned them. Sigh. Still and all, the few plants I ended up with were 6-foot stunners, and provided me with more additional seed than I ever could’ve hoped for.

I think Cleome ‘Violet Queen’ may be the only thing we grow from seed from now on here at Smackdown Gardens. Ask me again in January.

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