Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wintersowing

The holiday season is always hectic. I never seem to be able to begin wintersowing on the Solstice. This year I made a conscious effort to get started as early as possible. I have a drawer full of seeds and over 80 gallon containers in the basement.

I like to try growing different plants every year and my wintersowing efforts are no different. This year, not knowing if it will work or not, I wintersowed hosta and clematis seeds, all of them harvested by me and dried in my kitchen.

The hosta were a last minute addition to my seedsaving efforts. At the end of the season last year, I noticed that thanks to sheer laziness on my part, the flower stalks on two plants that had never been pruned now carried seeds instead of flowers. I gathered them and dried them along with my other saved seeds. I was careful to keep them separate because one set was from my favorite purple-flowered passalong hosta while the other was from one of the hostas that I had purchased cheaply at my local grocery store. The gallon containers where they now reside are labeled [Giver’s name] Hosta and Pathmark Hosta.

The clematis comes from Rutgers Gardens. It grows on the fence along the back of the veggie plot of one of the volunteers. She told me the name, which I forgot almost immediately, along with the fact that it is one of those rare and expensive clematis. Another volunteer had given the plant to her. She lamented the fact that she had never been able to propagate it because she would like to grow it at home also. I pointed out that there were seeds on it and asked if I could harvest some of the seeds to take home and try germinating. I’m hoping that my wintersowing effort is successful so that I can give her some of the plants for her home garden.

Another passalong that I wintersowed today is salvia ‘Lady in Red’. I was given the seed at the Master Gardener picnic. The gardener said that it reseeds wildly every year in her garden. That sounds perfect for wintersowing and for my Butterfly/Hummingbird Garden.

The final passalong seed wintering in a container has origins that must remain in the dark. I did not have permission to harvest it but succumbed to peer pressure on a (public) garden tour. There was beautiful baptisia growing around the parking lot. Being gardeners it was only natural that we each pocketed some seed on our way back to our van.

One of my wintersown failures last year was seed that I gathered from my Madonna Lily. I’m not entirely sure what went wrong. The seed appeared to be mature. It seemed to dry properly. But it never germinated. Undaunted, I am trying again this year. I have some left over that I may try direct sowing in the garden also.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the seed catalogs have begun to arrive . . .

2 comments:

Brenda Jean said...

Isn't it great getting the seed catalogs this time of year? I'm still ordering seeds, and I'm going to start some inside this year. I can't wait to hear how the clematis seeds do!

OldRoses said...

Browsing seed catalogs keeps me sane until spring!