Friday, October 14, 2011

Making Babies

If you knew that you had weeks or even days to live, what would you do?

If you were in the plant world, you would get busy making babies! The survival of your kind would be your final purpose in life.

With this final mission clearly before you, as a plant you would devote your dwindling energies to making babies with gusto and finesse. 

To insure the survival of your progeny, you would get creative in the packaging of your seed. 

Like any good parent, you would want to protect your offspring. You would devise camouflage, a tough shell or maybe even some spiky barbs.

This imminent threat of death is however, is not the plant world's only motivator in reproducing. As with the animals, plants always take an interest in making babies.

 Let's face it, the main reason plants produce flowers is for reproduction. Flowers are temptresses all!

Beautiful enticements don't end with the flowers either. Seeds are often packaged in glowing berries that look good enough to eat (that is if you are a bird).

The multi-colored berries on a Porcelain Vine

Like all parents who send their children to school with a nutritious lunch, plants pack enough food into their berries and nuts to give their young a good start in life.

When they are ready, we humans send our children out to face the world. Plants 
do pretty much the same.

They reach out with extended arms...

and let their seeds fly on the wind.

White butterfly weed, asclepias incarnata 'Ice Ballet'

They even like to ensure that the young seeds have ample means to catch a free ride.

When it comes to making new plants, I have a whole host of self-seeding volunteers at work in my garden. I also collect seeds to both plant myself and to share with gardening friends.

In the last few weeks, I have been busy collecting last summers flower's seeds. 

These are black seed pods contain Baptistia or False Indigo seed. 

Here is quick a reminder of the pretty blue flower back in the early summer.

This year, I also decided to make my own seed packets. Appropriate envelopes were a challenge to find. Then, I came across these coin envelopes at Staples Canada (or Staples US). They are #3 Coin Envelopes 2.5" x 4.125" size.

To design my seed package labels, I decided to use a transparent Avery label that was also available at Staples (and many other business stores worldwide). The Easy Peel 18663 label was the perfect size at 4" x 2"inches. (It is important to note here that you want to choose a label that is appropriate to your home printer type. Most printers are Ink Jet or Laser.)

Avery has fairly easy to use label design templates that you can download in seconds on the internet. 

To create your own label design, you can use basic programs like Microsoft Word or other more advanced programs like Illustrator. I used Photoshop to crop my images to size and then Illustrator to create my label design.

Not computer savvy enough to attempt to design your own label? 

Try using a simple rubber stamp instead. 

1. Assemble an assortment of non-permant makers in a range of colors, a damp cloth, a colored pencil, a garden themed rubber stamp and an envelope. 

2. Turn the stamp over, and working quickly, so the ink does not dry, color in the raised part of the stamp with a your markers. Don't worry too much about accuracy, the process is fairly forgiving.

3. Flip the stamp over  again and press it firmly onto the face of the envelope. Use your damp cloth to clean off any remaining ink, so the stamp is ready for reuse.

4. Allow the stamped envelope to dry. Then use your colored pencil and in your very best handwriting to add your own text and the flower name. (Use a pen if you prefer. I liked the softer look of the pencil.)

Enclose the seed packets in a card homemade with a picture of your garden or the seed packet's flower in bloom. I am sure your friends will be thrilled to receive this little gift from your garden! 


  1. Love all the pictures of the seed heads. And, yes, it is amazing all plants do to make sure the species continues to survive. Your seed packages are pretty enough to sell! What a smart idea!

  2. Beautiful post and I love your words - amazing life of plants! :-)

  3. What an EXCELLENT post!!! Not only are your photographs stunning and your words both informative and extremely amusing, but it's a subject not many have covered. You've done it so eloquently, Jennifer! Such great powers of observation, such cleverly apt analogies! This is a real gem to be circling in the blog world!!!

  4. how beautiful!! :) thanks for visiting my blog today.

  5. I really enjoyed this poetical post with lovely shots, and the seed packets are an inspiration.

  6. Wow...I can start firstly by saying how impressed I am with the photos. My goodness you have a good eye, and the one of the porceline berry vine, framed against the sky...I must get down on my knees and do a better job of taking photographs ;-)

    As to the coin envelopes and your skill at making seed packets.. bravo! They are super and really, it is a great time to be thinking of doing this for gifts at anytime, but Christmas especially. Seed packets and other garden extras are appreciated.

    Very creative my dear...very lovely..all of it, blog, photos and packets.

  7. Jennifer, what a wonderful post! I usually do not collect seeds but you have made it look so special and creative. I have a Staples by my home so I could definitely see how easy this would be and such a great gift enclosed in a Birthday Card, etc.


  8. A beautiful post! I love all your photos! The multi-colored berries are still lingering in my mind. Thank you for sharing your creative ideas too.

  9. I loved your images, so beautiful. But those seed packets are really creative and well done. This was a really great idea and I like the stamped version too. They make nice gifts too.

  10. Some truely fasanating pictures here I enjoy looking at them and have to say the homemade seed packets look cool.......

  11. What a beautiful post and your photos are wonderful.The seed packet idea is very well thought out and engineered.Lucky friends....!
    I have never seen a porcelain vine or Baptistia...thank you.

  12. Such creative seed packets, almost prettier than the real flowers! I was all intrigued by the beginning of this post with the various reproduction strategies of all the plants you highlight --- and then got to the seed envelope making and it was a real bonus!

  13. Great idea, Jennifer! The seed packets would make such nice gifts.

    The Porcelain vine is stunning and so whimsical! I love it!

  14. Great shots- and great ideas to boot! I love the comment that flowers are temptresses after all hahahhaa Had to laugh, but it is so true.

  15. Has anyone ever told you that you have a remarkable eye and are a talented photographer? I especially like the milkweed shots.

  16. What beautiful seed packets! You have done very well!!!!!
    Love the post, well written and beautifully photographed.

  17. These are such great ideas thanks for the ideas..

  18. I'm definitely not computer savvy enough to do lovely labels like yours. They are fab! The stamper idea is a good one though. It been so wet here this year that a lot of the seed heads are going mouldy...very frustrating!


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