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Perennials: winter 2018, 1 by DonnaMack

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In reply to: winter 2018

Forum: Perennials

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Photo of winter 2018
DonnaMack wrote:
My hellebores remained green all winter, much to my surprise.

Seeds are a piece of cake if you have a good lighting system and set up timers. I have already germinated dozens like abulitons and south american foxgloves, salvia verticilata in white (almost impossible to find), blue borage (grew white two years ago and it comes back from seed), polemonium caeruleum, ivy leaved geraniums. Heck, I was buying abulitons, and wow if they didn\'t germinate in less than a week. Right now I am concentrating on perennials, although I have germinated about half a dozen lily types.I got the seeds from the North American Lily Society for a dollar a pack. Some of them are out of commerce. I love to grow them for myself and clients. I had a client who wanted a dozen white platycodon but freaked at the cost. I presented her with them last fall. I always germinate my own heuchera because I have a favorite and it costs a fortune. That\'s \'Firefly\' at the bottom. I probably have ten.

Some stuff is so easy you can actually just throw it on the ground, like nicotiana alata, cynoglossum and verbena bonariensis.

The real trick is to learn how hard it is to germinate them. I prefer plants that have surface germination and about 72 degrees. You can get the information from a lot of sources, but my favorite is JL Hudson\'s website. If a seed takes all kinds of fluctuating temps or requires an artificial substance to germinate it I give it a pass. I found that thalictrum rochebrunianaum is difficult to germinate - so I bought it instead. Growing is really great for plants that only last two or three years but are expensive to buy. Digitalis mertonensis is a good example. I commonly see them for $12 or so each. If I spent $36 on these and they lasted two years I would be very unhappy. Instead, I start them every couple of years, because they have to be overwintered to bloom.

I spend the big money on shrubs. I then buy them larger, but not from garden centers. And roses.


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