Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sharing Seeds

Look at all those seeds just waiting for a ride on a summer breeze!

It's ironic: what is a success story for a weed can be a bit of a horror story 
for the average gardener. 

All that progeny just looking for the smallest opening- 
that empty patch of soil in amongst all those fancy garden flowers!

Plants in the garden can sometimes seed prolifically too. 
Let it slip your mind to cut back your chives in June and you may live to regret it!

Even though I am fairly vigilant, it seems I am forever 
pulling out little chive seedlings.

Sunflowers seeds seem to work in league with backyard birds. I started with a few plants two 
summers ago and now sunflowers are popping up all over the place.

Sadly other garden plants never seem to self-seed. 

I'd be thrilled to find some Balloon flowers seedlings (Platycodon grandiflorus) sprouting along the white picket fence, but in all the years I have grown them, I haven't found a single one!

So this year I decided to collect the seeds and give them a helping hand. 
Maybe if I give them a perfect growing conditions, they'll be more successful.

Seeds can be amazingly beautiful. These floss on these wildflower seeds is as light as air. 
In amongst the wild yellow tansy, they sparkle in the sun.

On the other hand, these False Indigo (Baptisia) seeds come in rather 
sinister looking packaging.

And these clematis seed heads make me think of hairy spiders.

They're kinda creepy don't you think?

It seems to me that the appearance of some seeds must be a matter of survival.
It is hard to believe that something this pretty...

...could become something this ugly.

But actually, it's a really clever strategy.
Who would want to eat something that looks this unappetizing?

It's foxgloves that have got me hooked on growing flowers from seeds.
They're biennial so you have to grow them the first summer to have flowers in the second.

Canterbury Bells

I have also fallen in love with biennial Canterbury Bells, annual Lavatera,
and the delicate white and blue flowers of Love-in-the Mist (Nigella).

This fall I have been harvesting seeds to make more of my favourite plants. These Allium 'Millenium' were one of the most beautiful flowers in my garden in mid-August.

So I saved some seeds for myself and some to share with gardening friends.

I've dried them and now they are ready to go into my homemade seed packets.

I use small coin envelopes (# 3 coin envelopes available at Staples) for my seed packets. 

I even created my own seed labels using a 2" x 4" transparent Avery mailing label (Avery 18663). It is super easy to download a template and print up your labels on a home computer.

So friends will find in their Christmas cards a mix of seeds that might include 
some 'Baby Joe' Pye Weed and....

....seeds from Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium altissimum 'Prairie Jewel'. 

I know that the plants grown from my Helenium seeds will not be true to their fancy hybrid parents. (They will only come true when propagated from cuttings.)

But it could be interesting!

 Who knows what will pop up next spring: perhaps a through 
back to the hybrid's parents or grandparents?

Some plants I already have in such abundance there is no need to collect seed.

I am sharing these seeds too- this time with the birds and other creatures
that inhabit my garden each winter.


  1. Wow, and I can't even think of planting any kind of campanula because it self seeds here like the devil. Nigella has never self-seeded for me. Such a gorgeous plant too...

    I've had no success with the biennial foxglove but the perennial foxglove adores the conditions here. Love your seed packets, too. Great idea!

  2. oh wow , as usual your pictures are incredibly beautiful ! So pretty to look at , everything is looking pretty frozen and dead here ! I could do a great post on weed seeds that's for sure. We have a lot of rogue sunflowers too, the birds sure love them. I love your seed packets, thats brilliant!! and such a great , thoughtful and useful gift for your gardening buddies! Enjoy your festive week! Chris

  3. Such an outstanding way to look at seeds. So true that the wind will carry them and they will land wherever they see fit..... I find the different seedpods fascinating. What a beautiful gift to pass onto friends! My next door garden pal often hands me seeds as her garden is more mature than mine. No gift compares! Merry Christmas friend! Nicole xo

  4. Lots of seeds are very welcome to stay here, but there are a few that get given their marching orders as soon as I see them!
    Your seed packets are beautiful, a lovely idea to pass your seeds along to friends. Spread the love!

  5. What beautiful seed packets with your awesome photography on them! What a great idea! This year I saved some seeds for the first time this year. Next year more for sure. Love your post too!

  6. I love collecting seed every fall too, Jennifer. But I should make envelopes like yours instead of pieces of newspapers I used to.:((
    I wish you happy holidays and New Year!

  7. I have a whole paper bag full of seeds. LOL Mine are in plastic sandwich bags rather than beautiful seed packets like yours.

  8. That's a nice treat for your friends and family to receive with their Cristmas card, I can't think of anything better to get! I must admit I am a prolific deadheader, in my tiny garden I just have to, but a few things are left to seed, like hellebores, cyclamens and lilies, which I grow on.

  9. I simply love looking at seeds and seeing them here has me yearning for spring. How lovely to receive these as gifts! A friend has sent me some of the False Indigo, I was really impredded with the wonderful pods! A lovely post, I did enjoy

  10. A lovely present for your family and friends. :)
    Loved all your photos, they are so cheerful during these gray days.
    Happy Holiday Season, Jennifer!

  11. Chive seedlings are the bane of my existence.
    Your homemade seed packets are great, I'll have to remember that!

  12. I have always been fascinated with seed heads! I have a baptisia plant that bloomed for the first time this summer, and I was thrilled to see the seed pods. Sinister looking? They do look like they came from the dark side! I am hoping for more baptisia plants to sprout from those seeds, but I did not help them along, so we will see.

  13. Beautiful and so nice to see as my own garden is grey and boring right now. Have a fantastic Christmas!

  14. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and a bright and beautiful New Year, Jennifer.
    Thank you for al the beauty you post here all year long.

  15. Jennifer I love my seedheads as do the critters and I love that you package these so beautifully. It is always interesting how many start blooming in spring. I do try to deadhead a few but it is almost impossible to control nature.

  16. Lucky people on your Christmas card list Jennifer! I hope you have success with the balloon flowers. They are the coolest buds. I also adore canterbury bells and foxglove. Help them spread around all I can!! You captured some wonderful photos. Hope you had a good holiday and Happy New Year!!!

  17. I once read that if something grows well in your garden, to grow a lot of it, which is easy with self-seeding plants. They do half the work for me. But I've started collecting the seeds and scattering them to other parts of the garden to help fill in any gaps. Sometimes I let the seedlings grow and then in the fall I either give them to friends or use them in my own garden. But to get seeds from you would be a true gift. Those packets are beautiful!

  18. Wonderful post Jennifer. You know how fond I am of seeds :)) Funny, I have been thinking about making up my own seed envelopes recently. A project for the winter. I had similar thoughts on buying envelopes and labels but wasn't sure about what would go on the labels. You've given me an idea where to start. thank you and Happy New Year to you and your family!

  19. Happy New Year, Jennifer! Wishing you health, happiness and more wonderful photos for 2015!

  20. Every one of these photos is a work of art Jennifer. I really needed something garden today with the snow out my window. Thank you for this beautiful post!
    Have a wonderful 2015! and thank you for your lovely comment too :)


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