Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

I can't believe someone hasn't beaten me to this! (Where is everyone? Hellooooo!)
So, what seeds are we all starting this year?

Indoors, among the more rock garden-ish types, the following have germinated recently:
Aethionema glaucescens
Gentiana punctata, purpurea, scabra
(Still waiting on G. pannonica.)
Gentianopsis critina
Gypsophila franzii, franzii 'nana'
Ligularia holmii
- one little sprout... the pressure's on not to kill this little guy!
Lychnis ajanensis
Penstemon smallii
Primula saxatilis
Pulsatilla turczaninovii
- 5 or 6 of them up now!
Serratula coronata - Thanks, June, for making me aware of this late bloomer!
Sideritis alpina
Silene saxifraga

And some others, just for fun...
Morina longifolia - it may sound like a long shot but I'm encouraged by an experience many years ago, when I started some, planted them out, and eventually put some winter mulch over them; they were alive in early spring, but then rotted under the mulch; swore off winter mulch on that very day, and have never used it since.
Syneilesis palmata, aconitifolia
Sabbatia kennedyana
Patrinia sibirica
- the love affair with patrinias continues.
Oenothera triloba - I love watching (literally) the flowers open on these.
Ligularia macrophylla
Dracocephalum nutans, palmatum

And, I may be out of my mind, but an order from Alplains is on the way... (At least I restrained myself and chose mostly easy warm germinators.)

What wonders are you folks growing this spring?

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

I haven't sown anything yet....most are still stratifying. In about 2 weeks I'll start the first crop. I have to got jot down the names as I can't remmeber what I got. Your list is impressive. I don't have that many 'high end' alpines!

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

Ok, you inspired me. I started my non-strat seeds today. Here is my list:
Saussurea riederi
Primula polyneura
Primula sikkimensis
Primula paxiana
Dianthus pavonis
Dianthus uralensis
Dianthus pyrenaicus
Dianthis graniticus
Arnica longifolia
Arnice sacchalinensis
Arnica foliosa
Celmisia holosericea
Penstemon euglaucus
Penstemon whippleanus
Leibnitzia nepalense
Leibnitzia anandria
Carlina acaulis
Delosperma basuticum
Incarvillea forrestii
Echium wildpretii
Hesperis kotchyi

I think I have 50 or so species in strat. at the moment. I'm glad I have access to a greenhouse!

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

Morina is fantastic! I planted 4 out four years ago. One bloomed two years ago, but skipped last year. The others still haven't bloomed but are getting larger. No mulch. Prefer a dry crown in winter so mine are in scree conditions. Here is the one from 2 years ago.

Thumbnail by Todd_Boland
Nelson, NH(Zone 5a)

I am not sure at this point what really qualifies a seed to be an alpine/rock garden! LOL! But these are seeds that I am or will be starting or have stratifying that I'm thinking fit into the right category. I have a few other dianthus I didn't list that I will be growing, But I think I officially overwhelmed myself by typing this up!

aquilegia flabellata
penstemon smallii
Geranium 'Jester's Jacket'
pulsatilla vulgaris
linaria alpina
penstemon angustifolius
campanula thyrsoides
ach'illea ptarmica 'nana compacta'
jasione montana
aurinia saxatilis
silene maritima
achillea huteri
Polemonium pulcherrimum
dianthus 'velvet and lace'
stachys minor
sedum spurium 'dragon's blood'
sedum auzoon
sedum spurium
sedum kamtschaticum
rhodiola rosea
saxifraga x arendsii
petrorhagia saxifraga
campanula cochlearifolia
campanula rigidipila
papaver alpinum
I think I missed the boat on these as they say they need 4-6 months at 21 F. Will they be OK to save until next year or can I start them now and overwinter them?
Gentiana acaulis
gentiana angustifolia 'frei hybrids'
I think I missed the boat on these as they say they need 4-6 months at 21 F. Will they be OK to save until next year?

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

Few seeds need that long...I never give more than 2 months and I get reasonable germination. However, the seeds could be left until next year in which case I'd sow in the fall and leave them outside all winter.

And yes, I would consider those species to be candidates for rock gardens!

Nelson, NH(Zone 5a)

Thanks Todd! I will try sowing them today and just give them 2 months at 21 F. I will save some to sow in the fall. The frei hybrids were a freebie from hardy plants,but they don't seem to be hardy in my zone from what I can tell. I am 5a, but with our wind we are in the fringe of what we can grow.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

If it's the gentians you're asking about, either sowing outdoors in fall (or cold treatment) or GA-3 are the usual recommendations for germination (but do look up the specifics for those species). If they're sown outdoors and there is no germination, then keeping them over for another year may do the trick.

If my experience here is of any value, I wouldn't worry at all about hardiness in zone 5 - the conditions there may be a factor (i.e. wetness) but I doubt, strictly speaking, that "cold hardiness" will be.

Me, I like instant (or at least short term!) gratification, so I used GA-3 on the gentians and gentianopsis.

This message was edited Feb 27, 2008 3:27 PM

Nelson, NH(Zone 5a)

Thanks, alta. It is the gentians. Yeah I wanted to WS them, but I was timid and thougt I waited too long, so I thought I would just use my freezer. I haev never used GA-3, is it readily available or do I need to order it? Yeah, I'm looking for instant gratification with those plants-others I am sowing I could take or not, but those babies I want!

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Errrr, no, not the freezer... You can stratify by putting seeds in moist medium (soil or just a dampened paper towel in a baggie) in a fridge or cold room, but the freezer is not recommended... and the seeds have to be in moist medium (not just dry seeds) to condition (Norm Deno's word) or stratify them. I highly recommend getting Dr. Deno's publications on seed germination, and also reading the NARGS articles on it (quite a few recently in the Rock Garden Quarterly).

No, GA-3 is not readily available - Gardens North in Canada, and J. L. Hudson in the US sell it; I am not sure of any others; it's rather a specialty item. For species other than gentians, do some research before using it - it is fatal or ineffective on many species.

Todd, l love the morina! Thanks for confirming my suspicion that they do really need very good drainage!

Nice seed lists, Todd and flowerhead!

This message was edited Feb 28, 2008 2:34 AM

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Todd, I think you will be delighted by the delosperma! Here's D. aff. congestum (started from Gardens North seed in 2003, when it was sold as D. nubigenum... since revised; not sure how different they are supposed to be).
Growing in regular soil but I have since moved a couple to a trough:

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

Delosperma have a hard time surviving outdoors here as they rot in all our snow and rain. In a cold frame they do lovely. Cold is not an issue, just the excess wet.

Here was my D. ashtonii from last summer.

Thumbnail by Todd_Boland
Nelson, NH(Zone 5a)

Thanks alta, I do have the Hudson catalogue. I know "instant gratification" still means a loooong wait, but sooner will be better than later.

Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

OMG Alta, that Delosperma aff. congestum is fabulous. I can't believe how tight it is growing in good garden soil. Definitely not nubigeum if mine is true. Remember this?
That was growing in lean alpine soil, albeit fresh. Never has had as good fall color as that year, though.

Nice lists, everone.

This season, I have procured seed of:

Allium wallichii 143
Anemone macrantha
Anemone rivularis (a nice clone)
Antennaria microphylla
Aquilegia flabellata
Aquilegia flabellata var. pumila kurilensis
Aquilegia kuhistanica
Aquilegia vulgaris(wh var. foliage)
Bukinczia cabulica 546 (Annual)
Calodendron capense
Campanula thyrsoides
Chaenomeles japonica var. alpina 'Pygmaeus' 694
Cyclamen coum
Cyclamen purpurescens 927
Delosperma bosseranum (houseplant)
Delphinium pylzowii 986
Dianthus myrtinervis
Digitalis ferruginea
Echinocereus reichenbachii ssp. bailey 1172
Echinocereus reichenbachii var. perbellus 1173
Eleutherococcus senticosis 1188
Eryngium bourgatii
Escobaria missouriensis
Geissorhiza heterostyla 1373
Gentiana algida
Gentiana cruciata
Gentiana puberulenta
Gentiana sino-ornata 1408
Globularia trichosantha
Hermodactylus tuberosus 07XX249
Hymenoxys scaposas
Iris aphylla
Iris chrysographes
Iris chrysographes x I. bulleyana x self
Iris delavayi x I. bulleyana seedling
Iris gracilipes 07CR031
Iris gracilipes col. Japan 4264
Iris japonica ex China 07CR032
Iris koreana 1677
Iris koreana OP 07CH046
Iris odaesanensis 07CH048
Iris odaesanensis 1687
Iris setosa 07TR204 clear pink
Iris setosa 07TR205 6 fall type
Iris setosa ex Sakhalin Island 07TR189
Iris suaveolens 07DB016
Iris suaveolens 1702
Iris tectorum Sun Moon Lake 07CR043
Iris unguiculares 07MS234
Layia glandulosa 176
Maihuenia poepegii 1946
Opuntia imbricata
Opuntia imbricata 2101
Pediocactus simpsonii (CO)
Penstemon cyaneus
Penstemon ovatus
Penstemon rupicola col. Oegon 4369
Phyteuma scheuzeri
Phyteuma spicatum var. nigrum
Polygonatum kingianum 2411
Pulsatilla pratensis col. Sweden 4560
Scutellaria baicalensis
Syneilesia aconitifolia 2905
Syneilesia aconitifolia 2906
Veronica schmidtiana

Anyone have experience with Campanula thyrsioides from seed?
A recently discovered a friend started them last year from seed, and for a Campanula, they are growing incredibly slow. She has them in a greenhouse. They are very healthy looking, but only an inch(2.5cm) high and 1.5inches(4cm) wide.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Yes, C. thyrsoides is an easy warm germinator. I've quite fond of it - started from seed about 3 years ago; no unusual slowness noted. So far, it seems some are acting as biennials, but other plants have bloomed in successive years, so we'll see. And the odd one is waiting more than 2 years to bloom... Seem to produce loads of seed - to be expected with the density of flowers, so I hope I see some seedlings from the first year of bloom and get that alternate-year cycle going. Had a particular plant last year that was quite striking due to the abundance of short side branches packed with blooms - it was quite a (long skinny) pyramid of flowers. A bit of space between the plants seems to benefit them.

Wow, the maritime climate is such a vast difference from here, Todd. Lovely delosperma! (It might be pushing it, but I planted a D. cooperi last year... hope to have some pink ones too!)

Leftwood, my D. aff. congestum (if that's what they are) has no tendency at all toward trailing stems. I read that D. nubigenum has white-centered flowers,hence my question.
Wow, lots of cacti in your list!

Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

Thanks for the info, Alta. I may have found one of those "Duh! secrets" last year with cactus seed. I think it was from a gardener in Europe, that said he plants his seed only in 80-90F(27-32C) temps, and with good results. No GA3, or other pretreatment.

I still had some old Echinocereus triglochidiatus and Pediocactus simpsonii seed from 2003. (Previous germination attempts with these lots had failed.) In mid July, I planted them during a heat wave when even our night barely dipped below 80F. Very unusual for my area, but fortuitous. Within a week I had germination in both lots. Unfortunately, continued survival was not as simple, and the neighbor's cat tipping one pot over didn't help either. I think I have two plants left. You'd never think there are as dainty as they are. Even moreso than Escobaria vivipara.

And the NARGS second round list just came today.

(Note to self: Gotta watch my spelling.)

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

Leftwood, are you a member of SIGNA? Some of those Iris I saw listed there. I should have gotten some of the setosa selections but I went for the wide-cross iris instead. BTW, that's an incredible list! I must get a list of my stratifying ones together...I can't recall what I've got in the fridge!

Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

I am a SIGNA member, and NARGS seemed to have more iris species than usual too. From the Species Iris Group, last season I sprouted some of the Iris setosa x I. ensata OP F3 seeds, milesii, types of setosa, but didn't have any germination from koreana, japonica or odaesanensis. Any help would be appreciated there.

Also have two reichenbachii seedlings from 2005, and bought two cute as a bug darlings of same from a place in Iowa. Hopefully, both lots will bloom this season.

Iris milesii

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

I have the same setosa X ensata but only got one to germinate. I've never tried the other species you noted (ie. koreana et al)

somewhere, PA

I missed this thread! Here's the NARGS seed.

That Delosperma aff. congestum is glorious Alta! I'll have to keep my
eyes open for that one. Whew!

Aster Alpinus "Dunkel Schone" dark purple - blue
Clematis Alplina blue-purple
Clematis Alpina 'Ruby"
Clematis Alpina ssp sibrica white
Cyclamen Persicum mix
Cyclamen Persicum pink
Edraianthus Dalmaticus albus - white
Edraianthus Graminifolius - Blue
Edraianthus Pumilio Blue w/Silver leaves
Erinus Alpinus mix
Hypoxis Herocallidea - yellow
Penstemon Smallii - purple/pink (20")
Penstemon Speciousus - blue (10")
Primula Alpicola alba - White (20")
Primula Alpicola v violacea (Violet/purple) (10-24")
Primula Sikkimensis - yellow/cream
Primula Veris - red
Saxifraga Cochlearis "Minor" White
Saxifraga Paniculata - white
Saxifraga Paniculata 'Minutifolia' white
Sedum glaucophyllum - white
Townsendia Parryi - violet

I also got some alpine/rock garden type seeds
from Hardy Plant Society
Aquilegia Alpina
Aquilegia Bertolonii
Arisaema Taiwanense
Dianthus superbus var longicalycinus
Draba Paysonii
Erinus Alpinus
Hosta Tiny Tears
Fritillaria Raddeana
Verbena Canadensis "Snowflurry"

And there are more that I had left over from previous years
or that I got from DG members here.

The penstemon germinated very quickly. I had looked them
up on the ORGS website and they recommended cold w/light.
I just put them under my lights in the basement and up they

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

I sort of miss the NARGS seed-ex but its such a fuss getting the seeds across the border that I haven't bothered in the last couple of years. The botanical garden where I work has access to seed-ex from other botanical gardens in Europe. Most of their plants are roadside weeds! However, once in a while they offer something interesting. The Iceland Bot. Garden has some great plants...all alpines! (not surprising). I grow them at the Bot. Garden, using some in our large rockery here and extras follow me home and/or are sold to our local rock garden club as fund raisers.

My Iceland order was placed about 2 weeks ago, so they should arrive in the next 2 or so (I hope!)

My order included:
Campanula grossheimii
C. collina
C. tatrae
Primula alpicola
P. chungensis
P. firmipes
P. sikkimensis
P. waltonii
P. latifolia
Anemone narcissiflora
Aquilegia brevistyla
A. bertolonii
A. glandulosa
A. laramiensis
A. viridiflora
A. einseliana
A. olympica
A. pyrenaica
A. skinneri
Pulsatilla campanella
P. pratensis var. nigricans
Potentilla arnavatensis
Iris tridentata
Leibnitzia nepalensis
Saussurea pygmaea
Silene compacta
Trollius farreri

If all goes well my Columbine collection will grow in leaps and bounds!

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

Just checked the strat seeds. That list includes:

Anemone trifolia
Potentilla clusiana
Potentilla nevadensis
Potentilla pyrenaica
Potentilla caulescens
Campanula cespitosa
Campanula pyramidalis
Campanula tianselianica
Campanula grosseckii
Campanula incurva
Silene alpestre
Silene hayeckiana
Geum magellanicum
Geum pyrenaicum
Codonopsis dicentrifolia
Penstemon azureus
Penstemon fruticosus var. serrulatus
Penstemon humilus
Penstemon alpinus
Penstemon canescens
Saxifraga hirsuta
Saxifraga granulata
Allium nutans
Allium obliquum
Trollius yunnanensis
Pulsatilla halleri
Delphinium alpinum
papaver nordhagianum

Holy Toledo...where am I going to put them all!

Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

Wow! Wonderful lists!

I have never gotten true Aquilegia viridiflorus seed. They alway turn out to be some mutt. I finally broke down and bought an actual plant.

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

I have one which came true, but never got around to saving seed, so I will try with these since our BG doesn't have this one. I seem to recall that the true viridiflora seeds are dull, compared to all the rest which are shiny.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

I have been rendered speechless by these seed lists ;)

Todd, even considering that many of these will be smallish plants, you must have a heck of a lot of room! Do you have an acreage... or lots of soon-to-be-extirpated lawn? Or do you cull ruthlessly?

Penstemon smallii seems to be enjoying sudden popularity... curious.

Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

I grew P. smallii a few years back. They did not seem to be as winter hardy as others I have grown (grandiflorus, lyallii, rupicola, virens, strictus, hallii). Although maybe it is just that they may be more susceptible to winter wet (or a combination of factors).

Todd, Interesting that you mention that viridis seed is dull. My two plants became infested with aphids, and when I collected seed, I assumed they were dull because of aphid exudate covering them. Maybe not!

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

I bought 2 or 3 Penstemon smallii a couple of years ago; absolutely gorgeous but did not winter... so must try again. Penstemons, in general, seem to favor the conditions here. (I have been growing about 25 species and cultivars but heck, that's not even scratching the surface!)
I had a very strange experience a couple of years ago... grew P. whippleanus from seed and set them out, where they grew very nicely through the summer, and appeared to winter over in perfect condition (by the way, the foliage takes on beautiful purple tones through fall/winter). Then, well into spring, they started to decline and soon died... no obvious symptoms that I could describe (though admittedly, I don't have much of any experience with plant disease... fortunately). Very puzzling. (Didn't even get to see if they were a good color.... sigh.)

somewhere, PA

I got p. smallii from someone here at DG a couple years ago. I started
them but didn't get them planted out 'til fall. One bloomed last summer
and was glorious. I wanted to start more to be sure I had some. I don't
think I gave the ones I planted out enough time to settle in before the cold
weather set in.

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

I grow all these seeds at our Botanical Garden. I take one or two home and the rest are either used at the Garden or are sold at public plant sales as a fund raiser for our NARGS chapter (I am the chair of that chapter).

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

BTW Alta I hear CRAGS is hosting the AGM next year. I'll be there for that for sure (since I can viist my brother at the same time). Are you going to the Ottawa meeting?

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Hmm, I'm intrigued by the Ottawa Valley field trips, though honestly, I find it very hard to drag myself away from here in any part of the blooming season!

Yes, the NARGS AGM is here in 2009. Believe it or not, I attended a CRAGS meeting a while back in which I volunteered myself as general dogsbody to committees taking care of various tasks... haven't heard anything further as yet.
By the way, to anyone who is planning on attending the AGM in Calgary in 2009, don't be fooled by the statement on the CRAGS website about "hot" summers occurring here. Hogwash. (Calgarians start complaining about hot weather when it reaches 70 deg F... seeings how most of them come from somewhere else, where there quite likely are hot summers, it's really quite mystifying... some sort of brainwashing, I think.) Anyway, don't be fooled - bring jackets! (And rain gear.)

This message was edited Mar 16, 2008 8:24 PM

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

I am not going to the Ottawa meeting..the trip sare only so-so and the speakers are not really tlaking about alpine topics...personally I'm a bit disappointed by their offering. I'll save my aeroplan points for calgary in 2009....and speaking of hot vs. cold, I attended the CRAGS meeting in 1999 and on the three days of the meeting it snowed!....June 26-29. And I though I lived in a crappy climate! (although as a rule, Calgary does have nice fairness, it was sunny in calgary throughout that meeting, just snowy in Banff where the meetings took place)

Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

A little off track here, but I am still reading old NARGS bulletins. Plus an old chapter member just gave me her set dating from the early 1970's.

I have just discovered the are Alta Mountains in Utah. What prompted you to pick that user name?

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Leftwood, "Alta" is an outdated abbreviation for "Alberta"; it seems to have been replaced by "AB".

Well, I know people who would argue the statement that Calgary has nice weather, LOL! (I would at times!) It certainly does has much warmer winters than the rest of the prairies, but those cool summers and cold nights were a shock when we moved here...
It's hard to say what hikes will be open (i.e. not snow-bound) at the time of the AGM (across the July 1st long weekend)... certainly the low-elevation ones will be accessible, but it will be nice if spring is a little on the early side next year, in case some higher-elevation ones are possible.
When I said, "Bring jackets", I really meant winter gear!

Calgary, AB(Zone 3b)

Speaking of crappy weather, how are you faring through the blizzard, Todd? Hope all is well.

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

We have had 58 cm of snow (nearly 2 feet) in 3 days, followed by freezing rain (currently) and winds in the range of 50-90 km, with an even bigger storm heading our way next week! To think my front lawn was bare a week ago! Very late spring in store for me (not that we ever get an early one).

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