Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Going to Seed
I begged a friend to save me some seeds from his Phlox paniculata. His reaction was, “How do I do that?” Really? I found it rather hard to believe he didn’t know how to save seeds. It seems like such a no-brainer, but that could be because I’d been doing it since I was a kid.
I recall following my mother about the garden toward the end of the season. She used to carry used envelops from bills and other mail, and she would pluck off the dried up marigold and zinnia flowers. And there they were, the exact same seeds she had planted in the spring at the ends of the dried up petals. Talk about magic! Mom planted a seed got a flower that turned back into many seeds again. Yes, for a little kid that was magic. (I wonder, does that mean I’m not yet grown up? I still consider it magic, after all.)
So, my friend asks when he will know the seeds are ready. I told them when they are dry. In most cases they turn a dark color, darker than they started out, that is. For some, the seed collecting can be tricky. You have to get them at just the right moment or they will be gone with the wind, quite literally! Cosmos and Cleome will almost explode if touched at just the right time-or is that the wrong time? They really are fun, these ballistic ones are just the ones to show kids if you want them interested in gardening. Who wouldn’t like exploding plants?