Just the back yard!? Nah, I want the front and side yards landscaped in natives too.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Seeds...and Those Seedlings

For the past week or so, I've gone out to walk the yard and have begun to collect seeds. Today, I went out to collect more...but each time I do, I have to remind myself that I've yet to plant those seedlings that I grew from seed this spring. Maybe this post will get me motivated. :)

By letting the natives seed themselves (and helping them along by winter sowing them) I'm bending the competition in their favor. At the same time, I have tried to prevent the invasives from going to seed...and for the most part I keep after them. This year, however, I've let the chicory go to seed among some others. I'm hoping they've yet to disperse their seeds, so that I can prevent an influx of new plants to join the two or three I've spotted so far.

Then there are the goldenrods that don't seem to need any help from me. They are a great late season source of nectar (and beauty), but they are aggressive enough to seed themselves...and they have. By adding New England aster, other asters, native grasses, and other fall-blooming wildflowers among the goldenrod, I should be able to come up with a thing of beauty and substance.

I did, however,, collect seeds of lance leaf goldenrod (Solidago graminifolia) which is not as aggressive as some of the more common goldenrods. Lance leaf goldenrod was never a favorite of mine, but it has really grown on me over the past two years. There are several species of Solidago that have not yet appeared on their own that I'd like to add to the yard...however, I've yet to look for a source. One that I know I'd like to add is the zigzag goldenrod Solidago flexicaulis that seems to do well in the dappled shade of woodlands.

I've begun to get more and more into growing wildflowers from seed. I just have to get back into planting what I've grown! I've been wanting to add a mini-meadow nearer the house so I can see it (and what it attracts) from the window. Deciding on and preparing a site has been the main hold up...and perhaps a bit of laziness on my part.

I was surprised to see that a few of the first year seedlings actually bloomed--I have to wonder if I'd got them planted in the ground if they'd have done even better. Being perennials, I should have a much better show next year.


Ellen Honeycutt said...

I struggle with the same issues - always collecting, not always planting! My refrigerator has little pouches of this and that and there are envelopes of dry seed to be found in the garage where I was sure I'd get to it. Letting Mother Nature handle the distribution works best for me, but I'll keep trying to lend a hand.

Julie Stone said...

I love the picture of your seedlings, they look great! I've never tried collecting seed and trying to grow plants like that. I've only grown things like herbs and veggies from seed. I will have to try!

David said...

Ellen, I used to do that too--find baggies of seeds in fridge...but, now that I have land and have read posts on Wildlife Gardeners about winter sowing seeds, I've been pretty diligent about *sowing* the seeds. The first year I even planted the seedlings late summer or early fall.

This year, I've really put it off. I hope I get them in the ground before too long.

...And I fully expect to plant more mid-winter. :)

David said...

Thank you, Julie. I'm thrilled that they grew so well this year despite some neglect on my part--'though I did water them several times in the heat of summer when they were wilting.

I really hope you do give it a try. It can be very rewarding. So far, I' m mostly planting what I have growing in the yard. At least that way I will have a lot of free wildflowers to add to the meadow...and I can spend money on varieties I don't yet have--then plant and spread them each coming year.

...Oh, and Ellen, I do let nature sow seeds as well...I take only a fraction of the seeds that are produced. I can't wait to find some wildflowers growing where I didn't plant them. The problem is I think I'd have too few plants that way.