A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Friday, April 04, 2008

Winter Sowing Update

No April Fools here! The Rose Campion really did sprout. I’ve been waiting for this one. I direct sowed it two years ago but only two plants survived. Undaunted, I direct sowed some more last year and patiently waited for the two plants to grow and bloom amidst all the new seedlings. None of the above happened. Not only did none of the seeds germinate, but the two plants from the prior year disappeared. And wouldn’t you know it, every where I went last year, I saw magnificent Rose Campion plants!

This year, I am determined to succeed. I’m confident that wintersowing will yield a lot of plants which I will put in the garden along the side of my shed. Keep a close eye on that garden. One of the original Rose Campion plants has mysteriously reappeared. I think I have the makings of another Weirdness Chronicle.

The next day, April 2, another eagerly anticipated seed sprouted: Joe Pye Weed. I’m ashamed to admit how many times I’ve direct sowed this one. Come on, it’s a native plant which is just a fancy name for a weed. It should grow, no sweat. But it didn’t.

Time to take drastic measures.

Step 1. Enough with the expensive store-bought seed. What was I thinking? Gather some free seed from plants that I know grow well.

Step 2. Ignore the coddled Joe Pye Weed in the perennial borders in the Display Garden at Rutgers Gardens.

Step 3. Keep an eye on the Joe Pye Weed growing wild by the parking lot of Holly House. If it’s tough enough to compete with other weeds native plants, then it should grow for me. When it sets seed, gather it from as many different plants as possible to ensure genetic diversity.

Step 4. Spread seed on a paper plate and dry on top of fridge.

Step 5. Discourage cat from using top of fridge as a perch to watch the birds on the birdfeeder.

Step 6. Store dried seeds and cat hairs in a moisture proof container in the seed drawer in my fridge.

Step 7. Wintersow.

Joe Pye Weed Or Bust!!

Not nearly as exciting, today I noticed that the Zinnias “Daffodil” for the yellow side of my plot at Rutgers Gardens have begun to germinate. I probably should have direct sowed them but it’s more fun to have plants to put in the bed.

Also today, Nicotiana sylvestris appeared in its container. I successfully wintersowed this one last year. The plants grew well but were shaded out by the Canterbury Bells that just wouldn’t quit so I never got any blooms. This is another one that I saw in every garden I visited last year. I’m looking forward to it finally blooming in the border along the Ugly Green Fence. It should look nice with heirloom Rose Queen cleome.


At 11:04 AM, Blogger Colleen said...

Congrats on the Joe Pye! Mine are still hanging in there. I wintersowed nicotiana sylvestris, too---still no sign of it.


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