Recently inspired by environmental issues and endangered plants, not to mention the Egmont Seeds sponsor at the Ellerslie Flower show, we have been saving and sowing our own seeds. Those seeds we saved last autumn have been rescued (what were they?) and sown in seed trays.
Seeds are often thought of as a thing of the past so why bother growing your own when punnets of plants are available so cheaply. Well, quite apart from the satisfaction of watching seedlings germinate and grow, sowing seeds saves money and makes a wider range of varieties available to the home gardener.
There are many seeds which are easy to grow for example beans, peas, pepper, tomatoes, lettuce, pansy, marigold, poppy, nigella,and cosmos.
Seeds which are slower to germinate and require more patience are nerines, trillium, fritallaries, and galtonia.
Some of our native plants are becoming endangered in the wild. The native KakabeakClianthus puniceus is one such plant and is easily grown from seed. So don't let those seeds go to waste - sow them and distribute amongst gardeners and local planting schemes.
Practical Gardening Saving Seeds
Collecting and saving seeds is easy. However there are some simple rules to follow to be successful. Seed should be collected when ripe, around midday, placed in a brown paper bag or old envelope (never in plastic) and well labeled (how often have we though we will remember what these seeds are). Then store in an airtight container in a cool place.
Then there is the sowing where good quality seed raising mix is important. Never sow too deeply, keep the moisture balance - not too dry/not too wet or the seeds will damp off, provide low light and plant in season to get correct temperatures.
There are many books available on the saving and sowing of plants. One book we reviewed, The Propagation of New Zealand Native Plants Lawrie Metcalfe (Random House, Sep. 2007) is useful for collecting and growing native plants. Check out your local library.
A garden seat can make a great focal point and there are many different styles. It can be as simple as plank on a few concrete blocks or as stylish as Lutyens seat. You can choose to suit your taste and budget. We think this one definitely is worth consideration especially if you have a handyman available.
Seed swapping has become very popular and a great way of accessing heritage and less available seeds. Seed exchanges can be organised at a local level where garden clubs exchange seed, or nationally across the internet (there are several in NZ) or as in the UK where the longest running annual community seed swaps in Brighton sees as many as 3,000 seed swapper visitors!.
A great resource on how to set up your own seed swap can be found on this website
Deepest maroon, double flowers emerge from elegant pointed buds. Flowering from early summer until the forsts, 'Rosarie' is a treasure, albeit a big one.
This lusty rose will easily pass 2.0m (6ft6in) in time and grow as wide. The bush is covered with the distinctive crinkled rugosa foliage, with rarely any disease. She thrives in most garden soils. Prune only to restrain growth or to remove old or damaged wood. A good hedge or good at the back of the border.
Cultivation: Plant in a sunny position, although tolerates some shade, add well-rotted compost to provide a good loamy soil. Stake if in a windy position, withstands some dryness and wind, good in coastal gardens.
Propagation: Cuttings, suckers (if planted on own roots will 'run' a little)
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bestgardening.com Especially for New Zealand gardeners - much, much more than a website.
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