Friday, October 10, 2014

Seeds as Art, A to Z

Seed gathering is not a task that I do one day at the end of  a season. I collect them as they are available. Botanically speaking this should be B to Z, Brugmansias to Zinnias.

Dried flowers fallen on boxwoods caught my eye.

Angel trumpet blooms fell to the lawn as well. Usually a limp bloom falls but these dried on the stalk. I don't know if that means they were protecting a forming seed or just that the weather is drier now.

Spent blooms hang on longer since the weather turned cooler.

The bloom falls from the pod-like calyx that holds it, leaving what looks like a piece of string hanging from the pod. If you peel back the sepals, there may be a seed forming in the ovule at the end of that string-like stigma. High school biology lesson. Did your eyes glaze over? 

I've never researched saving and planting Angel Trumpet seeds because it was easier just to take cuttings. 

Seeds are forming all over the garden. When I took Pentas cuttings in 5 colors this morning, I left seed pods. They need to get ready for fall and I want to try planting some seeds. Since they tend to keep seeding themselves in the greenhouse floor they must not be difficult.

Duranta is forming little green seeds that will turn to 'Golden Dew Drops' if frost doesn't get them. I found seeds on White Shrimp Plant, another I've never considered for anything but cuttings. Big pods on Pride of Barbados will pop open and fall to the ground to rot because I seldom catch them in time and could not find paper bags for covering them like Janie V. suggested.

I'm picking seeds off a white Madagascar Periwinkle as they ripen. You can catch them before they fall if you watch for the black seeds visible through a translucent pod -- bring them in and put in a container until the pod opens. Since they're surrounded by pinks and purples, I'll probably have another bunch of purple Periwinkles but that's okay too. Plenty of seeds fall to the ground to insure a return next summer.

This was not a seed-gathering task. I pulled up Zinnias past
their prime to make room for cabbage plants.

When I cut off their heads, they just looked so arty to me that I made a pic. I added in a basket of Zinnias that were gathered a few days ago for seed-saving.

Zinnia seeds look like little spear heads.
Cleaning seeds is not a chore I enjoy but I want seeds.
Next summer I'll wonder where I stored them.

Last of Zinnias with Lantana and Gulf Muhly grass.

Next month is time to plant in the Coastal South seeds of flowers that bloom in early spring: Larkspur, Catchfly and 3 kinds of Poppy seeds from last spring are ready and I know where they are.  


  1. This post befits your blog name! Nice post on the secrets of seed scattering. Or, at least, collecting.

  2. I'm not saving much of any seeds this year, I might scale back on sowing this winter too. I usually snap off that stringy thing that hangs from the Brug.

  3. I do not save seeds any more (meaning I used to), but a few annuals love to reseed themselves. I, like you, prefer to take cuttings of those annuals I invite back and that will easily root.

  4. I do not save seeds any more (meaning I used to), but a few annuals love to reseed themselves. I, like you, prefer to take cuttings of those annuals I invite back and that will easily root.

  5. I am a seed saver too. I love the photo of your zinnias on the newspaper, it really is a piece of art! I am now a follower of your blog, you have some great ideas!

  6. " Next summer I'll wonder where I stored them."
    Two years ago I saved two kinds of pole bean seeds....never did find them. I am trying again this year and vow to have better luck.

    I have finally lost all my vinca and must replant next year. I do love them.

  7. As my seeds dry,i bag them in a ziplock bag, write on the bag what it is and date,then drop all bags in a large paper bag to keep. Write on the paper bag what is in there.A large paper bad will be easy to find next spring.Really enjoy your blog,Jean. I look for it every day.Thanks,B


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