NARGS Seed Exchange!

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

I just got my seed list and am looking for ideas!!! Any NARGS folks out there excited about
things they see this year willing to share ideas?

Tam

west Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I'm a NARGS member too. Got my order off last week. I always look forward to the seeds and spend literally hours deciding what I want. =)
Debbie

Centennial, CO(Zone 5b)

I just joined last week, so I haven't seen the list yet.

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

But Debbie... what did you order????

ok ... I see you live in hot & humid Tx. Maybe our selections wouldn't be very
similar. LOL

Greenjay. Are you an experienced seed starter?
Tam

St. John's, NL(Zone 5b)

I used to get the NARGS seed exchange but it is a bit of a fuss getting seeds into Canada via the exchange. The ORGS seed exchange is nearly as good so I stick with them, although I have yet to get their list and others have :(

Plus the ORGS gives 60 packets for $10...excellent value!

Centennial, CO(Zone 5b)

I have mainly done ordinary garden flowers in the past because I detest buying them at the garden center, but last year I found that I was becoming more interested in the long term projects involving less common native plants (penstemons) and things that really take several years to mature (native columbines), so I joined up with NARGS this year in hopes that I would have access to more information about general care of those species. the seed exchange is a huge plus, but I may not fully take advantage of it until next year because I have most of my seed for this year's projects. I am fortunate that in many cases I can go have a look at the actual plant in the Denver Botanic Garden collection before I plant it in the ground. I have a good bit of room on my N. facing patio for the outdoor treatments now that I have a better light system indoors (3 tier, 3 fluorescents per tier) this year. Indoors I do mainly own-root roses, unusual lilies from seed, that sort of thing.

west Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

A lot of bulbs here and some scutellaria--you would be surprised Tammy. We can grow a lot over the winter down here. And they have a lot of different seed sources too. =)

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

greenjay - I just love the Denver Botanical Garden!!! Someday I'll get to see it in its spring glory.
I've only been there in July and Nov. Not exactly peak months. LOL

DMJ - I'm sure you can grow beautiful plants. Just not the same ones I'd be growing. :-)

Tam

Central, UT(Zone 5b)

I wasn't going to order this year. Still, I did go through the cataloge and highlight several choices. I'm trying to keep the amount of seed I start this year down to a more manageable number. I'm failing miserably so far. I'm finding that the bulbs are catching my eye more and more and my main passion, plants native to the rocky mountain area and Great Basin. I'm always interested in the various Astragalus and Oxytropis that are listed as well as the Castilleja, Eriogonum, Erigeron, Hymenoxys, etc., etc. Seed offerings from areas with similar climates to mine also peak my interest. Should I, or shouldn't I ...... still haven't decided. I also notice the Callianthemum, Douglasia and Houstonia as well as a couple of the Draba.

Greenjay, the seed list is on the NARGS website if you want to take a look.

Centennial, CO(Zone 5b)

I'm sure I will get around to it. Right now I am in the midst of sowing about 100 containers of penstemons that have to get the Full Monty on outdoor treatment. Talk about fiddly itsy bitsy seeds!

Has anyone here tried Penstemon Whippleanus? I would like to confer with someone else who has already grown it before buying it in quantity.

Central, UT(Zone 5b)

That's alot of Penstemon Greenjay. I have a few that need to go out in the next couple of days/week as well. I grew P. whippleanus from seed a couple of years ago. It has been one of the easier Penstemon to get started and does well in a shadier more regularly irriagted part of the garden.

Centennial, CO(Zone 5b)

See that's the kind of information I need. The small amount of information I have says "grows by the roadside", which I would interpret as Full Sun Hellstrip. Not shady & regularly irrigated. I have several hundred columbines that will almost fully occupy the few "shady & irrigated" spots available next year.

Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

P. whippleanus was on my NARGS list last year, but I didn't get it. But I did start a few others: hallii, paysoniorum, smallii, strictus, virens. And already have growing:
rupicola
caespitosus 'Claude Barr'
hirsutus var, pygmaea
pinifolius
pinifolius 'Mersea Yellow'
cobaea
grandiflorus
A big surprise last spring was how easily Phyteuma orbuculare and Peltoboykinia watanabei sprouted(winter sowed). But also how incredibly fussy the Peltoboykinia was when transplanting. Pelto seed from Gardens North sprouted wonderfully. Those from NARGS did nada.

So greenjay, you must know about Alplains, with their pages and pages, and pages of penstemon seed listings. What species are you trying?

I did get this year's NARGS seed list about 2 weeks after you, Debbie. And sent my order out last Friday. I went heavily into Iris and Lilium this year, and only a few "real" alpines. But hopefully I will get seed from Lilium formosanum 'Little Snow', a dwarf Iris setosa, Iris suaveolens, and Lilium oxypetalum. This is Lilium oxypetalum var. insigne:

Thumbnail by Leftwood
(Zone 5a)

greenjay - I grew P. whippleanus from seed a few years back and it was very easy. It´s actually one of few penstemons that do well here - it can take a lot of irrigation since it rains a lot here! lol If anyone wants seeds get in touch next fall - I got plenty but I think I'm out of them now......

I'm not a member of the NARGS, but I am a member of the Alpine Garden Society in the UK and they have a very good seed list as well. I ordered from it in November ..... I think I spent two whole days going through the list - it was so tough to choose! lol

Ally - I would grow all the Astragalus and Oxytropis I could get my hands on if I had your climate - they are so pretty! I bet you can grow a lot of penstemons too! I have to look up what I got from the AGS seed list - I'll get back to you! ;-)

Has anyone gotten their hands on Paraquilegia anemonoides?? I've ordered it twice but not gotten it yet ..... I think it's just about the prettiest plant there is ........

Centennial, CO(Zone 5b)

I try to concentrate on 2 or 3 really neat items each year. This year I will have (hopefully) several dozen Penstemon Digitalis 'Mystica' to put in a mass planting in the new Meadow Garden. This is a much more interesting variety of P. digitalis than "husker red". I will have examples of each ('mystica' vs. 'husker red') growing at opposite ends of the property , and a few outliers of the 'Mystica' in different planting zones to see what really suits it best. I think it has a lot of potential as a landscaping perennial.

I am also trying several different kinds of columbines, some for a mass planting under some pine trees, some for a long shady border that has both the moisture and the dappled light to be really spectacular.

My third "special" item this year is a few unusual varieties of poppies in addition to the usual paeniflorum and iceland poppies. P. Bracteatum and the Spanish Horned poppy will be the most unusual. I'm hoping to get a few more from various sources by march when I have to sow them.

(Zone 5a)

OK this is what I got this year - a few plants there I'm really excited about trying - wish I would have gotten some more of the primulas I requested - they're one of my favorites genus.

Acaena microphylla ‘Kupferteppich’
Acantholimon armenum
Androsace barbulata
Aquilegia jonesii x saximontana
Astrantia maxima
Campanula saxifraga
Dianthus erinaceus
Dianthus hematocalyx
Dodecatheon pulchellum ‘Red Wings’
Douglasia laevigata
Erythronium hendersonii
Gentiana bavarica
Geranium psilostemon
Glaucidium palmatum
Glaucidium palmatum leucanthum
Helleborus Picotee
Jeffersonia dubia
Lewisia longipetala
Lilium oxypetalum
Meconopsis grandis
Papaver orientale Patty’s Plum
Penstemon hirsutus pygmaeus
Platycodon grandiflorus Zwerg
Polemonium boreale
Primula japonica Apple Blossom
Primula secundiflora
Ramonda myconi
Saxifraga burseriana
Saxifraga dinnikii
Trillium grandiflorum

rannveig

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

That looks like a terrific selection!!! We can't grow the meconopsis here.
I've tried the ramonda several times and just can't get them beyond the
baby stage. Lets see... I did really well with the pensemon hirsutus - love 'em!
And I've got a few of your other selections going too.

Oh isn't seed starting fun ... so much promise! Thanks for sharing.
Tam

(Zone 5a)

Tammy - it is fun! :-) It's what get's me through these last dreary months of winter ;-) I have baby Ramonda plants in tha garage that haven't grown one bit since they germinated last spring. Does anyone have any pointers on how to get them going ...... or is it normal for them to be so slow???

Have you gotten your selection down yet?

rannveig

Central, UT(Zone 5b)

Well I got my order off to NARGS today. We'll see how many of my first choices I get this year.

Rannveig that's a great selection of seed. I had to look up Ramonda to see what it was, not familiar with that one. I wonder why it's so slow growing? Have you grown Hellebore from seed before? I tried once, but the seed didn't germinate.

Seed starting is what keeps me sane during the winter months and makes me insane during the spring... when it's time to start pricking out the seedling. I've vowed to be a bit more organized this year and have ample plant labels and pots ready as well as potting mix and fertilizer. In fact I'm going shopping tomorrow for some of the ingredients for my potting mix. Hope the roads aren't a mess in the morning.

(Zone 5a)

Ally - looking forward to hearing what you get! :-)

I've tried growing Hellebores many times without luck yet - I'm hoping I'll eventually luck out! I'm guessing the problem is getting the seed fresh enough since it's very short viable.

I love the going through the seedlists dreaming of new gems and making the selection - but come springtime and pricking out starts I'm in trouble! lol I hope I'll do better this year too ;-)

Speaking of pricking out, I was doing just that earlier today - the first time for me in January! I had some seed germinate too soon from this fall that I forgot to put in the fridge ..... amongst other things the Cyclamen Todd sent me! It germinated very well - I never thought it would so soon! lol Well, a few of the Mimulus luteus plants already have buds on them! Never seen that before in such small seedlings!

Here's a photo - is that a bud I see???

Thumbnail by rannveig
Santiago, Chile(Zone 9b)

Yep, that's a flower bud. Congratulations!

Ursula

(Zone 5a)

Thanks Ursula! :-D Calceolari arachnoidea is looking very good as well! :-)

Santiago, Chile(Zone 9b)

You have the Green Thumb, girl!

;o)

(Zone 5a)

Thanks Ursula :-)

Here's a question - does anyone know how to see if seed is viable or not? Is it an indication of viability whether a seed sinks or floats??

rannveig

Cincinnati, OH

Specific gravity varies with the genus. Coconuts float, beans sink. It is a good test for any seeds of a respectable size. Surface tension of the water will support dust-like seeds, good or bad, like Orchids and Rhododendrons.
Larry

(Zone 5a)

Thanks Larry :-)

west Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Got my seeds today--and I got almost everything I asked for, I'm really pleased with how it went this year.
=)

(Zone 5a)

dmj - how exciting! So what goodies did you get?? ;-)

west Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Rannveig--
They were probably only popular with me--I must be the only member who wanted all these bulb seeds because I got everything I asked for on my first string of picks. I can't believe no one wanted Rhodophiala mendocina. I got 3 Trigridia species, 1 Geissorhiza species, Freesia laxa 'Joan Evans' (3 pks), 2 Cypella species, 3 Lachnalia species, Veltheima bracteata, 3 Zephyranthes species I didn't have , 3 Habranthes species I didn't have, 3 Polianthes species, a Polyxena species, Freesia grandiflora and 6 scutellaria species. I'd say that was well worth $12.50--esp if I get more of what I want on the second string of picks.

I grow a lot of "obscure" bulbs, you might say.
=) Debbie

Sebastopol, CA(Zone 9a)

Debbie, your list is the list of my dreams. What treasures you're getting! More power to the gardener of "obscure" bulbs!

(Zone 5a)

Looking forward to photos of glorious flowers ...... in about 3 - 5 years! :-) lol Very interesting list ..... nothing that would grow here ofcourse - I'll have to do some reasearch ;-)

west Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks all--I can't wait for the second round of picks. I'm assuming I'm nearly the only one that wants these plants so hopefully I will get some more that I want.

Rannveig-- Tigridia's, Freesia laxa's will bloom first year from seeds down here; and all of the rain lilies plus several other of the species will bloom 2nd year from seed. We have a rather long growing season.
Debbie

(Zone 5a)

Wow - that is early - I thought all bulbs were so slow to flower from seed. I guess the long growing season would help there :-) Then I can look forward to photos earlier :-)

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Congratulations! I'm watching my mailbox. I ended up ordering mostly stuff to grow for our chapter's
plant sale. So I used Geoffrey Charlesworth (The Gardner Obsesessed) First One Hundred list of
plants to pick from and that's how I made my choices. I figured I'd keep a few of each type and donate
the rest. We aren't getting enough rock garden plants at the sale.

DMJ - if I put my zephyranthes & habranthus seedlings under lights over the winter to extend their
seaon, might I get them to bloom earlier? I exchanged a few posts with you in the bulbs forum. I have
some seedlings from '05 & '06 in my greenhouse. I have florescent lights in my basement - might they
bloom sooner if I put them under those lights? It'd be warmer (I heat the greenhouse to 50F so its cool
at night & on cloudy days) & they'd get longer days.

Tam

west Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I don't know about the plant lights part--but the warmer they are, the more they will grow, and the faster they will bloom. The plant lights won't hurt.

Generalizations here since I don't know the species. Habranthes are winter growers down here--and none of mine are dormant. Some Zeph's are winter some are summer dormant. Do they like moisture? Yes, as a rule they do. Pink blooming varieties more moisture and more shade tolerant (both species); White varieties middle of the road for both light and moisture requirements; Yellow varieties full sun less water. I'm assuming since you got those from mid-Atlantic states that you don't have any of the varieties that prefer it dry (those are mainly the Texas and northeastern Mexican species). Will they all tolerate bone dry conditions? Yes, but they will go dormant. Less growth, slower time to bloom. There are species exceptions to all of the above I stated except the lack of water=slower time to bloom. Believe it or not, a lot of mine are completely dormant in June-August; many of my Zeph's are dormant now (it does freeze down here you know); but none of my Hab's are (or at least the last time I was able to slog thru the mud to look at them up close they weren't--lol).

They also like to be fertilized while actively growing, despite the fact that most people ignore them. I don't use anything stronger than 8-8-8 on any of my bulbs and I'm organic. They take to repotting (and general abuse) real well so you might want to move them into a larger community pot. Bulbs love company...then you can split them apart later for your plant sale.

Here are some of mine. Habranthes species on the far right and a Zeph species on the far left. So you can see the differences in the leaves. All the others are 6 month to one year old seedlings. Notice none of them are completely dormant. Is this what I would suggest as a method for you to use? no is the answer.

Thumbnail by dmj1218
Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

Thanks. The '05 pots of zephranthes have species labels but the '06 don't.
So I'll check species and do a bit more research on those.

Thanks for the details!!!
Tam

west Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Those above I need to be able to clean up quick because I ship "in the green". What I would suggest for you is this shot. These are all pink blooming assorted Zephyranthes species I keep on the back porch for complete shade. These are seperated out into different areas of the property closer to blooming time; these are that I use for seed production and are sorta some of my personal collection.

Thumbnail by dmj1218
Cincinnati, OH

I received all of my choices mostly oddball Ericaceae, plus Trilliums and Begonias yesterday. Today I received my materials for fusion. I don't even have to wait for them to bloom. Trilliums seem easy, the others will be trial and error. Wish me luck.
Larry

west Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Good luck Larry!

I guess we all got mostly what we wanted to that's a good thing. Let's compare notes this summer. =)

Northeast, PA(Zone 6b)

I'm still waiting for mine. I guess that's what I get for putting off the decision of what to order.

DMJ - I did look up my '05 pots of Zephyranthes. They are Capricorn. I had notations that
they were pink w/striations. From a little googling I see its supposed to be more orange
and is zone 7 hardy.

Tam

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