Do grandparents need a book to help them create memories with their grandchildren? That’s the first thing I thought of when I received my review copy of the book, Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars by Sharon Lovejoy. The book is written by a grandmother for grandmothers. So why is a 30 something guy reviewing the book? Simple, this book is awesome! There's lots of useful tips and ideas in this book for creating budding naturalists.
If you’re looking for perennials for your garden that are east to grow you can’t go wrong with columbine plants. Columbine flower colors come in a wide assortment due to hybridization and there is probably one suited to your garden’s color scheme. It is unfortunate, in my estimation at least, that columbine flowers are forever linked to the tragic events of 1999, I actually prefer to use the genus name Aquilegia because of this. The columbine flower’s meaning doesn’t make it any more appealing to me either. Columbine flowers are suppose to be symbols of ingratitude, faithlessness and representative of deceived lovers. If after reading all this you still want to grow columbine’s in your garden-you’re in luck. Once you know how to collect columbine flower seeds you’ll have more columbines that you know what to do with.
A recent visitor to this garden blog asked me what the benefit of saving seeds from the garden for next year. The answer can be a rather long one involving issues like income, consumerism, and even politics when we get into the area of genetically modified organisms and saving heirloom seeds. The biggest benefit for me of saving seeds for next year is that I create a backup of my garden should plants die or get stolen. While saving seeds from vegetables, flowers and fruits you're creating your own personal seed bank. Below are some seed saving tips and techniques I rely on to save seeds from plants in my garden. Hopefully they'll be of use to new gardeners who come across this.
Of all the edible plants people can grow in their gardens, or in containers, basil has to be the easiest of them all. No herb garden is complete without at least one basil plant growing. My only problem with growing basil is the price of basil seedlings and seeds of the nicer basil cultivars available. Growing basil from seeds is very easy and the most affordable way to grow many basil plants. Once you've grown a basil plant saving seeds from your basil plant is very easy, you just need to learn where to look on the plant so you know how to collect basil seeds.
While not all gardeners may enjoy or participate in the fall ritual of harvesting and saving seeds, it is probably my favorite gardening activity. After actually starting plants from seeds for my garden, seed saving is the gardening activity that makes me feel most like a gardener. I'm amazed that a plant can grow from something that is sometimes the size of the period at the end of a sentence. When harvesting and saving seeds in my garden, visiting other gardens or just walking around my city; I often find a seed or seed pod I collect by placing in my pocket. Seed savers or seed snatchers, if you will, know to carry plastic and paper bags this time of year for the dangling seeds and seed pods that beckon to be collected and saved. Here's how I create pocket seed banks recycling tin mint containers.
Ornamental sweet potato vine, Ipomoea batatas, are regular fixtures in many gardens and public plantings all over. Their drought tolerant nature make them ideal low-maintenance plants, perfect for container gardens, hanging baskets and mass planting in beds. Ornamental sweet potato vines are grown mostly for their foliage, but I really enjoy their flowers. Especially the flowers of sweet potato cultivars like 'Blackie.'
My ‘Chocolate Rose Silk’ Japanese morning glory came from a seed trade years ago. This spring I finally got around to sowing the morning glory seeds and growing out a couple of plants. My morning glory’s blooms most closely resemble the Ipomoea nil ‘Chocolate Rose Silk’ available for sale at a couple of different seed websites and that’s what I’ve chosen to identify my plant as.
Cardinal Climber , Ipomoea sloteri, is a hybrid of Ipomoea quamoclit, 'Cypress Vine,' and Ipomoea coccinea. A synonym for Ipomoea sloteri is Ipomoea x multifida. Cardinal Climber vine is a member of the morning glory family. The deeply cut leaves, deep red blooms festoon vines that can grow up to 15 feet in length.
When I planted my 'Spitfire' nasturtiums one plant produced a bloom that was quite different from the orange-red colored flowers of 'Spitfire.' The first bloom was very yellow which made me think it was 'Peach Melba,' but subsequent blooms have looked much different than that first one. The yellow color has turned out to be more pink and and the orange blush is more visible.