Now that fall has arrived ~ I see my garden still full of life. Well next years life that is…You can’t imagine what an amazing (& free) garden you can have if you carefully collect. harvest and plant your own seedlings. Years ago I learned to save the packets that came in shoe boxes to place in a paper bag along with my seeds I am harvesting to keep the moisture away – many shoe stores will give you some by the handfuls if you just ask…
Let’s first take this gorgeous Delphinium. Now wouldn’t you just love to have these gorgeous blooms pop up in your garden. The price of these beautiful plants can range from $5.99 – $19.99 in the nurseries – but if you collect your own seeds – they would be free! Let the flowers go to seed by awaiting for the blooms to fall off and then allowing the seed pods to develop! You can see in this one pod below there are almost seven to ten plants that could possibly develop from each one.You can leave them in the garden to fall and plant themselves or you can take the pods and put them in a paper bag to complete the drying process. I usually opt for the pod to dry in a paper bag. Once the seed has dried, place the seeds in the gardens about an inch under the soil. I usually place two or three seeds in the same hole to ensure that the plant will come up next summer. Sometimes the birdies scratch the dirt & then fly away with the seeds they can find in your garden beds
Can you see in the photo above that ever spike is actually a seed? If you pull off all of those spikes and put them in them about a quarter inch below the soil – they too will become gorgeous blooms for next years garden. Again, it’s okay to put a couple seedlings in the spot where you want a new plant, because the birds will sometimes carry them away!
Similar to the coneflower – the Scabiosa seeds can be collected the same way as the coneflower. Although – these gorgeous blooms can be carried by the wind or birds or by you by just scattering on the soil. No need to burry them. The seeds are found in the center of the flower which you will see after the blooms have faded by just bending the center in half – the seeds will just fall into your hands.
Scabiosa blooms are such a whimsical plant in the cottage garden!
Marigolds again, are a fabulous fall flower. In bloom when there is not much going on in the garden beds – a happy surprise for natures little miracles to see while scouting for food and nectar.
You can see the photo below that by just bending the spent flowers remains – the seeds will just fall apart – allowing you to spread in the garden where you hope to see a bloom next year.
Just scratch these seedlings into the soil allowing just a small amount of soil to cover them.
Commonly named as “Breadseed poppy”, but correctly named the “Opium Poppy” is one of my most favorite garden plants one could possibly have in a cottage garden. The color above is the only color I have – they are difficult to find – so if anyone out there wants to share seeds – please don’t hesitate to ask! I would love to introduce another color of this gorgeous plant into my garden! Allowing the flowers to fall off – and leaving the pods in the ground to develop from the gorgeous green to the fall colored brown will allow the top of the pod to eventually show the holes where the the seeds will eventually fall out by the wind. There are thousands of seeds in each pod – I love spreading these seeds everywhere in the garden because they are gorgeous in numbers. They only need to be spread on top of the soil – which allows a number of reasons why they fail to appear the following year. Reasons are the birds and wind will carry them off. I have many times come out to the garden to find the pods have been gone missing – culprits being people (yes people steal these), rats, mice, squirrels, deer and anything else looking for the full meal deal!
A few annual favorites that are necessary in the cottage gardens are petunia's – most people don’t know that they can collect these seeds for next planting in the spring next year and just throw the leggy plants out at the end of the season with all the other annuals. Not me, I love trying to start these garden gems in small pots in the spring and watch them develop into fantastic plants that I move to the gardens when ready!
Alyssum seed packets may range from $1.49 – $1.99, but why spend the money when you can spread your own? either collect the seeds and scatter in the fall or spring – up to you, it doesn’t matter! They are such a fabulous filler wherever they pop up! Scatter above ground and let the flower appear where they may. This gorgeous bloom – one can never have too many! I pull them out (root & all) at the end of the bloom season & just lay the plants all over the gardens for the seeds to replant themselves – once it looks like the seeds have all fallen off – I pick up an dispose of the remains.
Lavender is another cottage favorite for most gardens! Actually almost any garden adore the lavender in their garden beds. These too will spread by seed on their own. but I want to show you how to collect their seeds if you’d like. The gorgeous blooms will disappear – once they have disappeared you will see what to me looks like a skeleton of the bloom. If you catch them early enough right after the holes appear – you will be able to collect their seeds as well.
The gaillardia is exactly like the coneflower family – only difference I have found is you must allow it to loose it’s flowers and turn brown – if you peel the seeds off to early they will not work – These too should be scratched into the soil to help establish a root system.
My absolute favorite cottage flower is the snapdragon. These can come up individually, or in masses in my garden – regardless of the color – I love them all and cannot have enough. Very much like the delphinium – allowing the blooms to fall off and collect the pods is all you need to do – spread them atop of the soil is the only difference here! they can be put out in the fall or spring, but find spreading them in the spring is the better way to go in my area!
As you can see – most flowers can be started from seed. Although it takes time and energy and sometimes saving the seeds in a paper bag till next spring – it is definitely worth the time to do so come the following summer. Not only do you save money, but you can enjoy what becomes of the creation you have allowed because of your hard work and dedication.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post & hope you will become a follower of Fishtail Cottage! To see what I am linking to this week – please check my “Cottage Links” label…xoxo, tracie
PS ~ Cottage Flora Thursday’s Garden Party will be returning May 1st!