collecting seeds

I had purchased some flowers last year but didnt know about
saving seeds ( probably because I could never grow anything from seeds) Between the flowers I have ordered and the seeds I will be recieving I should have alot of things going on. I assume that the small plants that I ordered wont do too much this year as well as the seeds are concerned (correct?) but would like to know how and when to collect from my established flowers. Is it best to collect them around the time I would cut them down come fall? (should I be cutting them back then?) And after I collect them what do I do then.
I have some Autum Joys that have seeds on them ( assuming they are seeds) that have been outside that are still on the plant. Are these ruined because they have been out in the cold.
Any info would be great!
Thanks Janice

Westbrook, ME(Zone 5a)

I think the best advice to give is to observe your plants. Watch them & see how they disperse their seeds naturally. Mother nature is the best teacher and you should try to mimic her. Watch to see when the first few seeds fall or fly away. If you can jiggle that spent flower stalk and notice that there's a shower of tiny seeds...they're ready. You might loose a few seeds this way but what you do gather will be ready and you won't be wasting your time. You'll be able to see how the color the seeds plump long it takes....and how dry they are.

I think often people are too anxious to collect the seeds and harvest them too early. We all want to get those wonderful trades going and are anxious to be able to offer them. If you have to pry the seeds from the pods or seed heads...there's a good chance that you're jumping the gun and harvesting too soon. They might look ready...but there's a chance that they aren't fully developed yet and won't be viable. If seeds fall easily, or can be shaken from the pods, or the wind is blowing them away...then they're ready.

Your 'Autumn Joy' may have already dispersed their seeds. What's out there now is the seed head. The wind & rain has probably shaken all the seed out of it. Sedum seeds are really tiny ... almost like dust. This link has some good information about saving seeds -

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