Buying Seeds

“Buying Seeds”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

It is seed buying time around here. Last year I didn’t order or grow anything from seed, so I was surprised at the shipping costs that my favorite seed company was charging. I was going to order eleven seed packets. The seeds came to about $25.00, but the shipping was over $9.00. I can’t believe that eleven packets of seed should be $9.00 to ship. I know that everything costs more these days, especially fuel, but I just couldn’t justify that much for such light weight items.

I decided buy locally, and I was able to get just about every thing I wanted, however, there were a few seeds I couldn’t get because they are exclusive to that company. I ended up saving money not only on the shipping, but also the seeds themselves were cheaper than online. I still am going to look for seeds at a nursery in New Orleans, and if I am unsuccessful there, I’ll try in the Baton Rouge area when my sister and I go on our next garden field trip.

 

 

Our warm, spring-like weather has disappeared, so I won’t be starting any of these seeds this week. Next week will be “seed planting” time, something I am looking forward to with great anticipation.

Have any of you ordered from seed or plant companies lately and found the shipping prices a little high or am I just being unrealistic?

A Jewel of a Seed

“A Jewel of a Seed”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

Seeds are amazing.  A tiny embryonic plant and some stored food covered by a seed coat is all that is in a seed, but this is enough to insure that life goes on.  It often puzzles me that we don’t pay more attention to seeds.  Of course, there are those who gather seeds and sow them, those that buy their seeds to sow, and those that never bother with seeds at all.  I belong to the first two groups, but today I wanted to show off a very particular seed.

 

Mag Seed on Holly Fern (redu)

 

The above photo is a Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) seed that just happened to fall and land on a holly fern.  The drop of red on the dark green leaves caught my eye last Saturday. The shiny, bright red seed is about half an inch long and looks like a varnished bead or a semi-precious opaque jewel.  I have often wondered if it would be possible to make jewelry out of these pretty seeds.  I don’t think so because the seed is really encased in what I guess would be the fruit, and I am sure that would dry out too fast to last for jewelry or crafts.

Magnolias must be pretty easy to grow from seed because with just two in our yard, there are always a magnolia seedling showing up here and there.  At this time of year, these bright red seeds peeking out from their seedpods can really brighten up a deary fall day.  Something we often take for granted deserves a second look.

Herb Seedling Update

“Herb Seedling Update”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

A few days back I wrote about an AreoGarden that we received as a gift.  It is designed to sprout and grow these little cups of preplanted seeds hydroponically.  As I said then, I want to use just the grow lights for my own seed plantings.  However, the herb seeds were set up when we brought it home, and here is an update.

 

The seeds are supposed to sprout in 3 to 14 days depending on the type of herb.  The parsley – nothing.  The cilantro – I can see the swollen seeds, but no growth showing.  The chives – a teeny, tiny bit of green showing.

 

The Italian basil has sprouted several plants which look good and healthy.

 

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The purple basil is looking good, too.

 

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The dill has sprouted one seed showing a thin, tiny plant.

 

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And, finally, the mint has produced several seedlings.

 

mint-redu

 

As you can see from these few, paltry seedlings there won’t be a Jan’s Herb Farm starting anytime soon.  Well, at least I know that seeds will sprout with the AeroGarden, and it does give me something green to look at and play with until I can get outside and work in my real garden.

Interesting Gift

 “Interesting Gift”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

Wednesday, our good neighbors who live across the street called us over because they said they wanted to give us something.  We were a little wary about this “gift” since they have a pregnant cat, and we really don’t need another kitten.  However, it wasn’t a kitten, but an AeroGarden they were asking us if we wanted.  You know one of those really expensive gadgets that lets you grow herbs, cherry tomatoes, or lettuce on your kitchen counter.  Of course, we said yes, and soon we were on our way with our new “garden”.  The neighbors had liked it but just didn’t want to fool with growing plants like this.

The seed inserts and nutrient tablets for growth are expensive, and I really don’t want to use it to grow plants that way.  I want it so that I can use the grow lights to start my own seedlings.  In fact, this give off so much light, I might try and just set my seed trays next to the unit and see if that doesn’t work until all the seeds that came with the unit are used up.  The neighbor set it up with the herb seeds, so I’ll have to wait until those start growing before I can use it like I want to.  I’ll probably take the herbs out once they get growing and plant them outside.

 

aerogarden-redu

 

We have had to place it in the laundry room because our little white cat eats plants.  There is no use letting her eat all the produce that is supposed to come from the little seed cups.  I’ve done a little research on the Internet and found out that you can use your own seeds in the little cups, but I think I will just use it for the light and put seed trays on the decking and not worry about trying to grow things hydroponically.

The unit and everything that goes with it is expensive, but there are people who have up to five of these things growing all kinds of plants.  I thought it would not be that popular when I saw it on TV, but evidently, I was wrong.  I could see where this might be fine for an apartment dweller, but if you have space for a garden, this is definitely not the way to go.

We will have to see how it works and if I can use it to keep my seedlings healthy and stocky.  Wish me luck.

Seed Pod Update

“Seed Pod Update”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

Back in November I wrote about the gardenia seed pod that was starting to ripen.  In that post, I showed the green pod as I first saw it in July and how it was ripening to a orange-gold.  Well, the seed pod has finally fallen off the gardenia bush after turning a bright red. 

 

ripe-gard-seed-pod-redu

 

I couldn’t wait any longer and decided to open the pod up and to see what was inside.  The pod was still fleshy inside after I opened it up.  I was surprised to find many little seeds.  I figured that there would have been one big seed, but that idea turned out to be wrong. 

 

opened-gard-seed-redu

 

After the pod dries up a little more, I will wash the seeds, and then plant them.  I still have been unable to find out any information on germinating gardenia seeds, so I may try a few different methods.  I don’t know if they need light to germinate or not, so I’ll try both ways.  It will be interesting to see if any sprout.  Wish me luck.

Tenacity

“Tenacity”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

I noticed this little sunflower was in bud over the weekend, and it has just opened today.

 

sunflower-redu

 

 

It was at the base of the bird feeder and is one of the black oil sunflowers.  It seems strange that with all the cold weather we have been having lately that this little seed would be able to germinate, the plant would survive three freezes, and still be able to bloom.  Nature certainly can be tenacious.

Gather Ye Rose Hips While Ye May…

“Gather Ye Rose Hips While Ye May…”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

The other day while strolling around the garden and neighborhood, I noticed the all the rose hips that had started to ripen.  I usually don’t pay much attention to them because they are mostly green and get snipped off so that more flowers will develop, but now that winter is coming many are starting to stand out.

 

The ones which caused me to notice the rose hips in the first place were the Cherokee rose’s hips.  These were so large they could not be ignored.  This rose is a huge rambling one, and, across the street, they have been allowed to grow wild at the back of the neighbors’ properties.  In springtime, it is a gorgeous sight with the white single roses clambering over everything.  But, now that cold weather is here, the rose hips are a standout.  This is the first time I have walked back there at this time of year and noticed them, but it is hard to believe that I never did notice such huge rose hips before this.  They are at least two inches long and about 5/8 of an inch wide.  There are so many on a branch that I am considering gathering some for holiday decorations.  They would look nice either natural or spray painted.  This is one time “big hips” would not be a negative.

 

 cherokee-rose-hip-redu1

 

 

After seeing the Cherokee rose hips, I started to look for others.  This one is a tiny ripe one on a pink climbing rose bush.  I don’t know the name of the rose because I received it as a rooted cutting from my mother who got hers from a friend, but it is fairly common as I see it growing in all the older neighborhoods.  This bright little jewel is a perfect example of what I think a rose hip is supposed to look like.

 

 pk-climb-rosehip-redu

 

Lastly, I found several rose hips on all of the Knockout roses, but they are still green.  I think I will leave them on to see if they will also change color.

 

 knockout-rosehip-redu

 

 

Some roses did not have any hips at all.  Iceberg is one that had none which I found a little surprising.  The Fairy, also, was “hipless”.

 

I knew that rose hips contain the rose seeds, are a great source of vitamin C, and that the birds love them, but there were unusual several facts that I learned from just a little research.  Did you know that rose hips are popular treats for pet chinchillas?  It seems that chinchillas can’t produce vitamin C and do not have the internal organs to digest a variety of foods, but rose hips are a safe way to increase their vitamin C.  Rose hips fed to horses help condition  their coats and new hoof growth.    Lastly, the fine hairs inside rose hips can be used as an itching powder.  Now, you have some wonderful new facts to throw around and surely impress the other guests at all the upcoming  holiday parties.

A Sign

“A Sign”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

Even though some tropicals are still blooming and some tender perennials are still unaffected by the cold temperatures, there is no denying that the growing season is behind us.  The autumn clematis seed head is a confirmation of that.  Blooming in late summer/early autumn, this vine is one of the last plants to start flowering, so when it goes to seed that makes it definite that winter is on its way.

 

autumn-clem-seedhead-crop-redu

 

With living just north of the Gulf Coast, we still will have many mild days ahead as well as an occasional freezing one.  This seed head is just a sign that it is time to pull out the garden books, magazines, and catalogues and start planning for next year’s garden.

Seed Pod

“Seed Pod”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

 

Today, while walking around the garden just checking things out, I noticed a bright orange “something” on the gardenia bush.  On looking closer, I discovered it was the seed pod I first saw back in the summer.  Being green and inconspicuous, I guess I forgot all about it until the bright color of the ripening pod caught my attention.

 

 

 

 2008-0712-gardenia-seed-redu-v2-007

 

 

Here it is nice and green in July.  The next photo shows it now.  It must be just about ripe.

 

 

ripe-gardenia-pod-redu

 

 

 

I am going to have to watch it closely now to make sure that it doesn’t pop open and spill the seeds.  I don’t know what I will do with the seeds.  I will plant them, but I can find no information on germinating gardenia seeds.  I have had gardenia bushes here for over thirty years and have never seen a seed pod before, so maybe it is rare for them to form seeds.  You would think with all the information out there on the world wide web, I could find something, but so far no luck.  Nothing in my garden books, either.

 

Well, I am not going to count on anything until I actually have the seeds in hand.  However, I think that if I could get some plants from the seeds that would be something worth writing about.

 

Hidden Potential

“Hidden Potential”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

At this time of year, when so much of the garden is dormant or going dormant, the hidden potential  of many plants become apparent.  As I walked around the garden this afternoon, I noticed many  latent signs that life is just waiting for the right time to burst open.

Flower buds at different stages

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Bleeding Heart Vine buds just about ready to open any day.

deb-bud-redu

Debutant Camellia bud will take more than a week to fully open.

camelia-bud-redu

This camellia bud will take much longer.

hydrangea-bud-redu

This hydrangea bud won’t open until spring.

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Not all hidden potential lies in flower buds, these toad lily seed pods hold future plants.

So, with winter often being associated with the dying back of vegetation, we see there are signs around that there is still life in the garden if we just take the time to notice.

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