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This is the first Autumn that I’ve actively collected seeds for next year’s gardens. My Gardening Mother has been very encouraging and has collected a few for me as well. I’m still doing a little research on how to keep them through winter. It appears some seeds need to freeze in order to germinate. I’ll get back to you on that later….

Basically, the collection of seeds simply means that instead of dead-heading flowers in the fall, let them dry completely. Then collect the dried bloom and break open the center. I did this over a paper plate and let them get completely dry before storing in a paper envelope. They have to be dry so they won’t start growing mold. Once you’re sure they’re dry, place in a cool, dry place for the winter season.

So far, my list of seeds includes:

  • Double Pink Coneflowers
  • Cosmos
  • Dwarf Sunflowers
  • Cockscomb
  • Becky Daisies
  • Gerber Daisies
  • Impatiens
  • Tall Verbena
  • Silky Lupine

I have faith in most of them. I know that a lot of plants will re-seed themselves. Take Cockscomb for instance…it comes up EVERYWHERE! Plus, it survives the hot & dry Oklahoma summers and still shows off. I highly recommend it if you have those conditions. Plus, it can be transplanted and does not mind at all. I have transplanted some that were 24 inches tall and they hardly seemed to mind at all. Also, the Impatiens re-seed themselves – but they are very late in coming up in the summer.

I’m not sure what will happen with the Lupine. I collected the seeds in Colorado. I absolutely love their colors and tall, gorgeous stems covered with blooms. Stand by and we’ll see if they will germinate and grow in Oklahoma.

The Cosmos & Tall Verbena seeds are from my Mom. Hers were gorgeous this past season. I can only hope that they’ll do as well for me.

And here’s what I hope will happen with the seeds I’ve collected this Fall.

Are you a seed collector? Do you have any hints for me? I’d love to hear them!

[Photography Note: New Header Shot & Seed Envelopes shot with Nikkor 85mm f/1.4  Love that lens!]

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impatiens_3532

Impatiens love the shade and will brighten any dark corner of your shady garden.

Impatiens are a mainstay in my flower gardens and from what I’ve read, they’re the number one bedding plant sold in the United States. Every spring I purchase several flats to brighten the borders of my flower gardens and intersperse into some garden terraces on a slopping hillside.

impatien bloom and seed pod

Here you see a seed pod which has formed after a bloom has dropped. Note the small size compared to the bloom.

My Mother is a knowledgeable gardener and has been collecting and trading seeds for a few years. This summer/fall I started doing the same. Some of the flowers make it easy to collect seeds. Others, like the Impatiens, require a little more patience. Impatiens seeds can be collected from the flowers after the growing season when the pods develop at the ends of the stems.

 

impatien pods and seeds

The very tiny brown seeds are inside the spiral pod that has popped open.

When collecting the pods, it is a good idea to put something over the pod before picking it, because it will possibly pop open in the process of picking. I carefully placed a clear zip lock bag over them so I could see the pod and catch any seeds if it popped in the process. The first one I picked popped in my hand and startled me! :-)

The seeds of the Impatiens are inside the spiral that pops open and they are very tiny. I find that working over a white paper plate is the best way to see and save them.

Every year I have volunteer Impatiens scattered throughout my gardens, but I never knew how they re-seeded. Now I know. The seed pods are so impatient that they pop open and freely re-seed my beds. Isn’t that thoughtful of them?  ;-) I’ve also noticed that it takes the volunteer plants a lot longer in Spring/Summer to establish themselves and bloom. I live in Hardiness Zone 6B. Since this is my first attempt to collect Impatiens seeds, I’m looking forward to letting them dry and helping them with an earlier start indoors next Spring.

deer candy9457

Deer Candy

Also, be advised that a nick-name for Impatiens is “Deer Candy.” We have white-tailed deer in our area and they love to raid the gardens. Impatiens are one of their favorite snacks. So consider yourself warned. You may have to put in a deer defense system to enjoy having Impatiens in your garden.

Since this is my first attempt at collecting, drying and starting Impatiens seeds, I’ll give you an update next Spring/Summer. I’ll be starting them inside about 10 weeks before our last frost.

Happy Gardening!

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Ah yes….finally my favorite season of the year is upon us! The mild days and cool nights of October soothe my soul. It’s time to scatter pumpkins around the flower beds, patio and porch.  And time to load the fire pit with pinon. ~ Gardening tasks are so much more inviting when you can smell the sweet aroma of pinon. The leaves have begun their annual descent and the flowering plants are giving us their last hurrah.

I took a photo tour of the flower gardens and terraces this morning with the Nikon D300 and oft ignored Nikkor 85mm f/1.4.  I have to start using that little jewel more! A photo tour of your gardens is a good way to record what was blooming and when. The exif information will tell you exactly when you took the shots, so it’s an easy way to keep gardening records. (Please always do a backup…because as we all know, it’s not IF your computer will die, but WHEN.) ;-)

Small Garden Area

Small Garden Area

We live on a forested ridge, so the flower beds and terraces get a lot of shade. I’m talking a LOT. One little annual that I’ve come to love is the Impatien. Not only do they show off in the shade all summer, but they re-seed. You can’t get a much more friendly flower than one that wants to come back next year. Right? :-) I’ve had Impatiens come up and bloom in colors that I never planted.  For instance, this year I planted only red and orange Impatiens. But my terraces have those colors – PLUS light and dark pinks – the light pink ones, I planted last year & some others came from my neighbor’s flower beds. In addition to bedding Impatiens, I have a pot of New Guinea Impatiens that have really done well & it is in deep shade.

This Gallery includes some shots of the impatiens and a few other plants that are still showing off on this second day of October, 2009.

So, what’s blooming in your fall garden? I’d love to hear your about your favorite flowers that are still showing off.

More fall gardening updates will follow. Stay tuned!

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What is it with Night Blooming Cereus anyway?!?
What do they have against blooming in the daytime?

Cereusly!

These were taken last night. The plant belongs to our neighbor, but
he’s on a trip and left them in our care….so I crawled out of bed after midnight –  to shoot a couple of photos for him.
Safe travels, Mr. Wang!

(They really are amazing and gorgeous blooms; don’t you think? And their scent is so, so sweet.)

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