November 18, 2017

Caroline’s Garden Diaries 4.06.13: Weeding the seedings

All very well leaving plants to sow themselves, but you need to know what their babies look like when you’re weeding; I’ve just realized I’ve been pulling up some seedlings of a very nice annual flax I grew last year and on which I’d left the seedpods to ripen, hoping I might get a crop this year. Only when about to take out a good-looking young plant did I remember this idea; also not sure what the flax looked like as a young thing – you need memory for this seeding game, not much hope for me then. Waiting to see if this nice plant turns into nice blue-flowered flax.

I do remember what Astrantia ‘Shaggy’ seedlings look like, currently growing them carefully in greenhouse; Shaggy’s a super plant, if with horrid name; has intricate flowers, longer petals in outer collar and lots of quivery long stamens in the middle, a great cut flower. Then yesterday, about to weed out yet more for-get-me-nots, two little seedlings looked different – ah! like those in greenhouse – and they’re near a grown-up Shaggy.

Of course, you also need to recognize the babies of plants you don’t want (weeds); last year, I carefully preserved an interesting-looking seedling, watched out for it and waited with great expectations for the flower, only to realize I had grown a monster – it was ragwort, which you’re not supposed to grow. Actually, I still think it’s a handsome plant. Just been reading the fascinating story of its evolution as an new species in this country; already knew about it spreading from Oxford Botanic Garden (where its parents had met) by getting to the railway station and being blown along railway lines, but didn’t know that it had a brief encounter with a groundsel near York railway station, and produced York groundsel.

Meanwhile, it’s time to sow Primula malacoides again, hope to have them flowering by the Saturday Social in December. I’ve been told of several from last year’s that are still flowering – another super plant.

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