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Zipping through the holidays and the new year...


Time goes so fast when you are busy… I’m way behind in my blogging, and I’m going to cheat, to get caught up. I’ve posted little snippets in other social media, but have found it hard to get to the more detailed type of post I like to do in my blogs. Rather than re-formatting my photos to blog style, I going to re-use already posted graphics. I apologize to those that may have seen these on Facebook.

When you are addicted to growing from seed, there is no off season. The ground barely has snow on it when all the lists from the various specialty club seed schemes start to arrive in the mailbox. These schemes are wonderful, as it allows me to grow plants that I would never find here in the garden centres. Some of the plants offered are wild collected or from rarer species or specific variations found in the wild. I of course mainly go for the hardy geraniums and erodiums, but also choose other alpines and perennials.

When I’m choosing members of geraniaceae, I know the plants well… But when it comes to knowing the other alpine and rock garden plants, I’m a little lost, so must resort to the books to help me make my decisions.

I do grow many not-so-hardy geraniums and erodioms that may be hardy in the UK, but not here where -30C is common in the winter. These plants go in the heated portion of my garage which is set up as a plantroom with lights, or they get a bright window.

With all the clubs I belong to, it takes a while to write out all the name stakes to be ready for winter sowing. All the hardy ones are sown on pots and left in the cold part of the garage to get the required ‘cold treatment’.

A couple of the non-hardy erodiums continue to bloom in the plantroom all winter. Last winter I pollinated Erodium ‘William Bishop’ with pollen from E. trifolium. The resulting hybrid, ‘North Star’, is now blooming in the plantroom.

I am now in the process of sowing some of the geraniums and erodiums from warmer climates. I keep the pots in a bright window in the house, to keep a close watch on their progress. I am always amazed at how fast some seeds can germinate and sprout… A matter of days in some cases!

On a Hardy Geranium Group, I was asked why would I bother growing a weedy, non-garden worthy species. It was certainly a good question, of which I’m not sureI have a really good answer, other than for interest. That seed actually came from a seed scheme as something else, Geranium malviflorum, and it took me a while to figure out what it really was.

When I’m cleaning seed, I must be careful not to do it within seed flinging range of other pots… Geraniums can eject their seed up to around 15 feet! In this case, I think I must have pulled out the name stake and with it came a seed that dropped into the other pot.

Anyway, I will leave you with a cartoon… A good visual to explain hardy geraniums :)

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Brilliant blog John. Very uplifting as we wait for the cold
weather to come down on Wednesday, from the Arctic.

26 Jan, 2015


You certainly have plenty of energy and enthusiasm!
Great to see the seeds beginning to sprout!
Great blog!

26 Jan, 2015

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