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Propagation (seed, cuttings, etc): Seed collection

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Started by: Geoffrey Alderton

Seed collection from Sax longifolia.

Go to latest contribution by Tim Ingram, 13 September 2013, 21:28. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Geoffrey Alderton 12 June 2013, 10:53top / bottom of page

Seed collection from Sax longifolia.

Hi all.

Ever since I saw a b and w picture of Sax longifolia, growing in a wall in Scotland, I think, I have always wanted my own wall complete with Sax longifolia. I never did get my wall but I but I did manage to grow a couple of Sax longifolia plants. I bought the first plant in 2002 at the Chesterfield AGS show. I planted it in a piece of tufa rock, my kids refer to as The Matterhorn. It is now flowering after eleven years.

My second purchase was in May 2011 when I saw some very nice Sax longifolia advertised for sale at Slack Top nursery. I visited the nursery and bought ten plants, five longifolia and five longifolia X ??? I didn‚??t have a wall to plant them in so the plants sat in their small plastic pots for a couple of months before I decided on the strawberry pots on top of my low tufa area wall, a perfect cliff face.

The plants very obviously love it and have rewarded me, for the first time this year, with some super flower spikes. The longest at 20‚??

My question now is how do I collect the seed? I have read muslin bags are the way to go.

When do I put the bags on the spikes?

Do the flowers have to be pollinated with insects?

Any help will be appreciated.

Regards Geoff.

Contribution from Geoffrey Alderton 12 June 2013, 11:14top / bottom of page
Eleven years in tufa
Eleven years in tufa

Contribution from Geoffrey Alderton 22 June 2013, 11:37top / bottom of page

Hi all.

The spikes are starting to open fully. I will let them continue untill they fade and dry. Then put the bags on to try and catch some seed.

Regards Geoff.

Contribution from Geoffrey Alderton 22 June 2013, 11:48top / bottom of page
No insects good or bad?
No insects good or bad?

Contribution from Tim Ingram 18 July 2013, 15:00top / bottom of page
Jeffersonia diphylla seed

Magnificent plants of Sax. longifolia Geoffrey. Seed collecting time is gathering pace and this is an example of Jeffersonia diphylla from a friend's garden; one of those species that needs to be sown as fresh as possible. The way seeds are packaged in different plants never ceases to fascinate me, and these are particularly striking.

Jeffersonia diphylla seed

Contribution from Tim Ingram 22 July 2013, 07:01top / bottom of page
Onosma albo-roseum seed

This plant grows well in a friend's garden, on a high well drained ledge, and unlike many of the genus is a good perennial. I've never thought it set much seed, but this year I have gone through the seed-heads more closely and been able to get a good harvest. Unfortunately the seed is not easily released and onosmas are well armed with prickly hairs, so cleaning the seed is quite a slow process - but for such an interesting plant well worthwhile. The seed itself is rather beautiful (as all seed is when you look closely) and quite varied in colour. Some of them, those with a dull surface, are probably not viable, but those that are shiny will be. The background (paving slab) may not show up the seed well but does indicate how well camouflaged they are in Nature.

Onosma albo-roseum seed

Contribution from Tim Ingram 13 September 2013, 07:48top / bottom of page
Some details of seed collection 2013

Cleaning seed for the nursery and exchanges provides a good opportunity to also record photographic information in this age of the digital camera and websites. Margaret Young, on the SRGC website, has begun an initiative to record details of seed in this way as an adjunct to the seed exchanges, and helping to improve correct identification of seed. It also has the potential to link in with germination details, seed collection times and very much else, and seems an ideal resource for the alpine societies. For this, seed is probably better photographed more carefully against a scale. I am also personally fascinated by the way seed is packaged by plants and these photos are aimed at showing both. The detail of some of the smaller seed in particular would be improved with a proper macro lens and camera (a project for the future when resources allow) - but in the meantime this is a start. Seed has as great fascination as flowers, and fundamental value to the gardener, but rarely gets looked at in real detail.

Viola 'Molly Sanderson' with typical 'pear-shaped' seeds.

Anemone hybrid (seed from one of the early flowering hybrid strains available from bulb suppliers, which seeds around on our sand and gravel beds). Best sown quickly after collection - Ashwood Nursery supply some wonderful colour strains of these plants and some gardeners have established them in meadows to great effect). The second picture shows how individually beautiful seed can be when photographed closely, and the importance this has in seed dispersal.

Rhodiola rhodantha seed, again details emerge in close up not visible to the naked eye. An interesting and quite diverse genus close to sedum.

(... to be continued)

Contribution from Tim Ingram 13 September 2013, 15:57top / bottom of page

Fritillarias generally produce no shortage of seed and for a garden worthy species such as F. pallidiflora this gives the opportunity of raising many more plants for the garden.

Daphne retusa is the longest lived and most reliable species of this wonderful genus that we grow - having had it in the garden for over 30 years. It produces a good number of seed but naturally only self-sows very sparsely. Seed cleaned of the fleshy covering and sown in the autumn, though, germinates well the following spring, and it really is a plant for every garden, along with the winter D. odora.

Tiny seed like that of saxifrages and some campanulas can be more tricky to collect and sow. These three pictures show seed of S. 'Southside seedling', which of course will vary in progeny compared with vegetatively propagated clones, but still well worth sowing to maintain genetic diversity in cultivation and select out good forms. The second picture shows a lot of empty seed cases amongst the dark seed, and how minute this is. For cleaning this from chaff a pair of fine tweezers or small engineer's pliers are very useful.


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