A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Spring 2008 Seed Order

I get teased a lot in real life about being overly detail oriented. I will refrain from mentioning the Freudian term that is normally used to describe my “condition” but I’m sure that you are familiar with it. Sometimes, though, attention to detail is a good thing.

I’ve created spreadsheets every year documenting my spring seed orders (since 2006) and my fall bulb orders (since 2005). Each annual workbook contains a master list of everything I’ve ordered followed by individual worksheets for each catalog and each garden. Some interesting trends are beginning to appear.

I’ve been ordering varieties of butterfly weed and foxglove for three years now. Normally easy for other gardeners to grow, I’ve been struggling to get them established in my gardens. I’ve cut down on my orders of cosmos as it is firmly established in my gardens. I’m not ordering any tithonia this year because it gets so big that it crowds out and shades other flowers in the Butterfly/Hummingbird Garden. In that same bed, I’m ordering Maltese Cross for the third and last year. I’ve direct sown it the last two years with no luck. This year, I’m going to wintersow it. If that doesn’t work, I won’t order it again.

I’m trying Bells of Ireland again after a one year hiatus. It didn’t do well when I direct sowed it so I will try wintersowing it. Perhaps if I start with larger plants, they will do better. Monkshood, which never grew for me directsown, grew very well for me last year when I wintersowed it, so I ordered more this year to wintersow. Kiss-Me-Over-the-Garden-Gate also did well last year wintersown. I don’t know if it will reseed itself, so I have ordered more this year to wintersow.

Every year I try something new. Verbena bonariensis and Nicotiana sylvestris were both spectacular last year. They will be making appearances again this year. New this year will be sweet peas and heirloom petunias. I’ve grown petunias from seed in the distant past but sweet peas will be a first.

I was happy to finally get Johnny-Jump-Ups established in one bed. I’ve ordered more this year hoping to get them established in more beds. For the front of my house, I’ve ordered Bowles Black violas. I’m expanding that border to eventually meet up with the infamous Entry garden. A pleasant surprise there were the Nora Barlow columbine that I had planted in the spring but which disappeared over the summer but made a reappearance in the fall. More of those have been ordered also.

The biggest surprise of all is the fact that each year I have ordered exactly the same number of flowers: 69. I was sure that this year I would be ordering fewer seeds since I am going Back to Basics. After all how many different marigolds and zinnias can you have? (3 and 5 respectively). I think what raised my total this year was my decision to go with the same flowers, different colors for my yellow/pink bed at Rutgers Gardens so I effectively ordered double for that garden.

Seeds arrive in the mail daily now. The drawer in my refrigerator is slowly filling. I have to make time now to wintersow my seeds. It turned out to be a good thing after all that I have so many containers.


At 10:41 PM, Blogger Phillip said...

That sounds like a lot of seeds! Do Johnny Jump Ups reseed for you? They pop up all over the place here after I plant them and usually in odd places. They seem to be especially fond of cracks in concrete. And you've reminded me that I need to get Verbena bonariensis this year. I had it for years and it finally died out. It is a spectacular plant.


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