While The Shovel Plunges

Cerinthe seedling
The mind wanders during garden work, especially during the most tedious tasks.  I pondered seed-growing while planting the new 'Bartzella' Peony.
Planting 'Bartzella' ended up involving the 'Disneyland' rose.    'Disneyland' has declined in recent years so I assumed root/crown gall, the disease to which I have lost so many roses. 
Why is there always one ridiculously long root?  
Digging it out revealed the roots healthy.  So, a move instead of a discard, complicating matters.  Move to where?  I stuck it near happily growing Leucadendron 'Mostly Silver'.  Too near, as it turned out.
 That happy look
 We shall see who wins the space battle.  'Disneyland' is a smallish rose and 'Mostly Silver' may lean away from it,  towards the sun.  (Yeah, yeah, rationalizing)  I dug a trench for 'Disneyland's long root rather than cutting it short.  
'Bartzella''s space gets full sun (6 hours) during spring and summer, followed by mostly shade in fall and winter.  This placement is intended to help the plant rest during its natural dormant period, as much as it is possible for it to rest during what passes for winter here.  
 Wow!  No shortage of roots there, either. 
 The Itoh Peony 'Misaka' I planted back in 2012 is doing its normal nearly-spring wake up.  Our mostly cool February slowed it down.  'Misaka' has bloomed every year since 2012, though it has grown no bigger than it was when I planted it).  

Yes indeedy
But regarding seedlings.  Many garden plants nowadays originate as divisions, offsets, rooted cuttings, or tissue culture, rather than seed. 
Giving you more succulents than you can manage
Even commercial grown-from-seed plants are often culled and selected for vigor and consistent performance, so popular
plants have an unnatural uniformity. 

When unnatural is good
 An exception are seedlings that come up accidentally in the garden, or return from seed every year, or are collected from favorite plants and grown as an experiment.  Those kinds of seedlings can be surprisingly various.   I am surprised that I am surprised by that.  Of course plants will vary.  Kittens do.

As does Aloe capitata var quartzicola
 A particular surprise has been the dramatic difference between the three Leucospermum seedlings.  One is nearly waist high, strong and vigorous.  The other two are six to eight inches tall and weak, just hanging on.  If I'd just grown those second two plants, I'd have thought growing Leucospermum from seed was a waste of time.  The first proves otherwise (if the flowers turns out to be attractive).

Weak
Weak
Holy moly!
 Another interesting seedling phenomenon: the Cerinthe seedlings that return every winter.  Last year I was disappointed by the coloration of seedlings--the flowering tips were almost all close to plain green.  I pulled out all the plain green plants before they could drop seed, leaving a couple that were deeply blue.  This year a pleasant surprise:  Cerinthe flowers that are all deeply gorgeously blue-purple again.  

      We're missing something by not at least trying to grow a few plants from seed.  We shouldn't be distanced from knowing how nature works, lest we forget her power.  

Comments

  1. And you finish with Nemesia. Some varieties have over-wintered, others seed themselves readily enough. I love the vanilla fragrance of the white 'Wisley Vanilla' and it seems the most hardy of a supposedly tender plant.

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    1. The Nemesia is a volunteer seedling descendant of one purchased circa 2001! Here they live several years and look good if the old flower stems are regularly nipped off.

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  2. A related insight from Larry Weaner's book Garden Revolution: Seed-grown Ilex glabra, the coastal native holly increasingly used in the east to replace blight-susceptible boxwood, has a completely different habit from the compact, rounded shape of the cutting-propagated selections in the nursery trade. In the wild, it's a low, rangy, reaching shrub that covers a lot of ground.

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    1. Interesting phenomenon! I know one of the Podocarpus is very different when grown from cuttings instead of from seed, so not unique. Biodiversity also an issue--what if the particular cutting grown succumbs to a disease, but the seed grown doesn't?

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  3. I can't wait to see what the blooms on your self-seeded Leucospermum look like. Meanwhile, I'm still waiting to see if 'Brandi' blooms for me this year - the buds are tiny but they're most definitely buds. So what's with the artfully stacked/staked pots?

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    1. I am so very anxious to see flowers on that seedling Leucospermum! Will be next year at the earliest--nothing yet. 'Sylvia' Protea has buds, maybe this autumn on that one.

      The pots are my somewhat inept attempt at "whimsical" pot storage.

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  4. You are much kinder with the rose digs--I use my loppers to chop the long roots. Though the last couple were discards so it didn't matter. I remember wanting to try D-land rose several years ago but I never followed through. I have only one I want now and that is lady Hillingdon.

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    1. D-land is somewhat disease prone. 'Easy Does It' in the same color range is much cleaner. 'Tuscan Sun', if you can find it, is even better. I had Lady H for a while--exquisite flowers that do not hold up to heat--the petals are thin to the point of translucency.

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  5. When one works in a garden you are constantly reminded how nature works. Your new peony looks so healthy. I planted one of those last year and it didn't make it. Our weather was so dry last summer I am surprised anything survived. I love that Cerinthe. The color and texture of the bloom is like velvet. I have never seen this plant before. Wow.

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    1. It's an important reminder, no? The reason I succumbed to the peony purchase was exactly that--it looked so spectacularly healthy.

      The Cerinthe is an annual--you might be able to grow it. Bees love the flowers. Renee's and Johnny's sell the seeds.

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  6. I envy gardening there as your media is easily done, even with that long root. I've always had difficulty getting a nice mixture of my own, always experimental on what is at hand. That cerinthe is so lovely with those deep colors. They really look very cold colors.

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  7. "Yes! It's a real peony!" :) Interesting what we take for granted in our climates as various as seedlings. Here one is more likely to see a sign reading, "Yes, it's a real agave." Happy digging!

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