Gardening IQ

The Miracle of a Seed

by, Pam Patterson, Horticulture Committee

I am constantly in awe of a tiny seed – smaller than the head of a pin. To see it grow into a beautiful plant is an absolute miracle! An even bigger miracle is to see seedlings from my long dead Columbine, smothered by my Mexican Bush Sage last summer, surprise me with tons of new seedlings in it’s place. When I got a grow light, I suddenly felt like I had the means to create swathes of color; theoretically anyway. Suddenly I could plant a whole crop of Foxglove for my yard. Last year I planted some Bee Balm grown from seed that should flower this year, and Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco) is popping up everywhere from last year’s crop. I have already put out a flat of Verbena Bonariensis seedlings as well. I just sowed a flat of Coneflower (this is my 4th attempt at germinating the seeds). Whether or not you have a grow light you can have beautiful flowers in your yard. There are some seeds that are so prolific they grow easily with little effort.  About three years ago I planted some Cosmos in my pollinator garden. It returns every year. I leave them wherever I have a blank spot or just let them mix with others.  Another one that I used the 'Direct Sow' method this year is Nigella.  I planted the seeds last fall and they are coming up nicely now. My Larkspur has not done well, but I know it will grow here – if you can grow it in Jacksonville Florida it will grow here too. One of my  favorites is the Mexican Sunflower Torch. That grew into a HUGE plant and was covered with butterflies.

Growing vegetables is wonderful, and I keep thinking I will do that, but when you have veggies that are ripe you have to do something with them or just let them die. It’s definitely a commitment of your time. With flowers, you can just enjoy the pollinators on them. The anticipation of a bloom is always wonderful. If you are planting seeds in the ground, you just rake it so it is really clean. I like to work in some compost, and then smooth it out. (It reminds me of clay) Plant the seeds as directed on the seed packet, and keep them sort of damp. You do need to baby them at least until they germinate. Some of my favorite seed companies are listed below. You can easily find them online and order a catalogue if you like. Johnny’s Select Seeds, Prairie Moon Nursery, John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds, and Siskiyou Seeds.  I leave you with a quote that sums it all up.  

“The very act of planting a seed in the earth has in it to me something beautiful. I always do it with a joy that is largely mixed with awe.”

- Celia Thaxter

Native Aquilegia Columbine

Verbena Bonariensis

Mexican Sunflower Tithonia or Torch

Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco)

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