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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
caespitosus 'Claude Barr'
hirsutus var, pygmaea
pinifolius 'Mersea Yellow'
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:
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 ...
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.
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.
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???
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Uh-oh, these are my first Trillium and Paris seeds. My first were T. gandiflora rhizomes. My exotic Trillium and Paris are rhizomes. I thought the only problem was waiting several years to bloom.
Tam congrats! It's always such fun when seed you've been waiting on for a long time germinates! I'm just sowed Anemone rivularis - sure hope it'll germinate for me too :-) I had a Hepatica nobilis I sowed last spring germinate a few days ago - it's supposed to have red or pink flowers so I'm very excited about that :-)
Larry - Good luck with the trillium seed. I'm still hoping I'll succeed one day. They're becoming like the Hellebores - a challenge that I really want to crack! lol I think it has double dormancy which means it needs two warm-cold cycles before it germinates. The directions I've found say just put the pot outside and wait until it germinates in a year or more ... hasn't worked for me yet. I think I read somewhere that it needs to start out warm for a few weeks before the first cold period so that might be where I'm going wrong - I've always put them straight in the fridge. The seed has very short viability so that might also be the problem it needs to be fresh. Anyone have luck with getting these to germinate??
If there are any NARGS folk out there that will not be orgering I could offer up some suggestions for myself!
I thoght I joined, but might only be an affiliate (Adirondack NARGS) so I'm not sure I can order. I would compesate for cost and shipping of course...
I did the same joining a member of NARGS, rather than NARGS. I think Adirondack would have to order seed. I am now a direct member of NARGS.
Thanks for letting me know that there is a difficulty. Being impatient I will scarify the seeds and treat them with gibberellic acid.
I finally got my order, and considering I sent it in late January, they were very generous in the substitutions. All you folks in z 7-9 may want to take a look at the items I have for trade that I can't grow here in Colorado: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/692811/
I have a question: It says on the 2nd round that there is a handling charge of $5.00 per 20 packets. Is this in addition to the cost of the packets? so if I get 20 for $5.00 I actually send them $10.00 ($5.00 for the handling)?
Well, I guess I am the last one to get the second list. But I am thrilled to find that one of the species I really, really wanted the first time but didn't get, is somehow available in the second round. Was it a mistake in the first round picking, or the second round listing, I don't know. And I am not the least bit miffed it it is the former. I know the monumental task that chapters take on for the success of the seed exchange. And I am very grateful.
Mobi - I just got mine yesterday too! And I got the same voucher. Now I'm kicking myself for not
just sending the $5 / 20 I originally had thought it was. Oh well... now I'll have incentive to go for the
second round next year. LOL