Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Flowers are just what comes before seeds

I'm all into propagation, as those who have visited my posts before will know, and sometimes I get impatient for the flowers to be all done already! Of course, I check this tendency because - well, of course I also like to stop and smell the flowers. But still...

Here are some seeds I'm gathering, or preparing to gather, after the spring blooming.




The beautiful blossom of Mimulus guttatus, seep monkey flower, is but the precursor of...



...These wonderful little paper lanterns, that hold capsules of powder-small brown seeds.




And the delicate blooms of Iris fernaldii, Fernald's Iris give way to...



... Plump pods of big fat seeds!



In order to get seeds of the wart leaf ceanothus, Ceanothus papillosus, I have to ... 


...Bag them! Last year I worked way hard to get the seeds out of the nutlets, before I realized they come out all by themselves and you just have to catch them! These will require stratification in the fridge for a couple months in fall.



While I was down there I admired the nearby flannel bush flowers that are going to seed, but I don't want to propagate this plant - it's not a local native but a garden ornamental I planted far from our house, for fire safety reasons. Well for fire safety I shouldn't have planted it but then it's lovely.

Also in that lower chaparral area of our south facing slope is this venerable and crusty old brittle leaf manzanita, Arctostaphylos tomentosa crustacea




I love the manzanitas, the "little apples," but I'm probably not going to have the patience to grow these from seed. They sprout only after fire. I've had limited success with cuttings though.




Above, soap plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum, has delicate flowers that open in the afternoon - I have got some of these growing from seed in a bulb box. Need patience for this task! I'm in my third year of the process... and gathered a few more seeds this year.



In the pool garden, nutlets of an undesirable sort - this is a sour grass, Oxalis pes-caprae, that I missed on my rounds of weeding earlier - look at all the little nutlets on that beggar!


I was in the pool garden to gather seeds of this lovely little annual grass and I'm going to have to come back to you on the name. It's a local native that a botanist pointed out to me, so I propagated it. Little and just a bit showy with its reddened seeds. Good for wildlife though I'll bet.


And last but not least, a seedling of coffee berry, Rhamnus californica, sprouting unexpectedly - with its seed cap still on! Encouragement for the next season of seed sowing to come!

3 comments:

Brent said...

Good work! If only I were as diligent a gardener. I ended up purchasing nursery starts this year because I was so behind schedule.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Well, if you ever run short of Iris fernaldii seeds, I have oodles! I collected them for 2 years running, but then filled the greenhouse with other starts! I might try this year though. My big 'score' for the season on seed has been our native Cynoglossum. They set a lot seed in the orchard this year, where the deer couldn't reach them. I'm looking forward to growing some and planting them somewhere intentional. I love the seep monkeyflower lanterns. Much more impressive than the sticky monkeyflower pods!

Country Mouse said...

Oh, Brent - I am so far behind in so many other ways!
Clare - thanks for your offer - also I'd love to hear any tips you have on propagating hound's tongue - I have not yet managed to get seeds to germinate and would LOVE to get them going. I have collected a few. Nicki of gold rush nursery gave me a tip that I also forgot to mention in this post: that is to nourish the mother plant so you get more viable seeds.

I missed out a few other lovely seed pods - Calochortus alba is the most lovely, and I didn't get that picture in time for this post.