Mystery Solved

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Last year we spent a fabulous week in the wonderfully secluded Tottergill Farm. From here, we were able to travel around the Lakes, Hadrian’s Wall and Northumberland. It was while during a visit to Hadrian’s Wall on a beautiful sunny day, we were inspired to join the National Trust.

The very next day we decided to put our new membership to good use and set off for Cragside. We drove through thick fog for about an hour and a half only to be greeted with the announcement that Cragside was closed on Mondays! Unbeaten, we retraced our journey and discovered Wallington.

rhodochitonWhilst exploring the walled garden, this beautiful specimen caught my eye but I didn’t have a clue what it was. I took a photo of it with the intention of looking it up once I returned home and promptly forgot all about it. That is, until it turned up in the Gardener’s World magazine. So, I now know it is a rhodochiton or purple bell vine and it will climb or trail. My 10 very expensive seeds are now languishing under the bubble wrap in the conservatory. Mystery solved!

Seedaholic!

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I was thrilled to receive a free gift from my  Gardener’s World Magazine; a packet of Cosmos Purity seeds. I was reminded that tucked away in my new seed tin (a Christmas present from my lovely sister) in the garage,  were the seeds I had collected last year. I must admit, I wasn’t as diligent as I have been in previous years in carefully drying  and separating seeds from flower heads then labelling and dating. It was more a case of stuffing the complete flowers into envelopes, hurriedly scribbling some identification on the front with every intention of sorting them out later and not getting round to it. Part of me was thinking, ‘why am I bothering with all this fuss? Surely, if left to their own devices, the seeds will be dispersed and germinate without any help from me and probably more successfully’. However, the ‘control freak’ in me decided that this important task could not be left to chance.

Anyway, it gave me an excuse to go out into the garden on a cold, damp and miserable day, fill some seed trays with compost and open my treasure chest. It was then that I wished I’d taken the time to separate the seeds. I knew at the time of gathering, but didn’t seem to be able to stop myself from collecting dozens of seed heads, each in themselves containing dozens of seeds.  The problem is, I just can’t bring myself to throw them away and I end up with far too many plants which I end up giving or throwing away.

I started with the Cosmos Purity as they came conveniently packaged. Next, I opened my own collected Cosmos mixture which I had grown from seed last year with seeds collected from the previous year. Once the seeds are ripe, they are so easy to identify as they are contained in little ‘pockets’ and are hard and slightly crescent shaped.

centaurea_cyanus_snowmanHaving sewn as many Cosmos seeds as I dared, my attention turned to an envelope marked Centaurea Snowman. A lovely upright, airy cornflower with fluffy white flowers, I grew these for the first time last year. Again, I was greeted by a jumble of brown seed heads to sort through. These were a little more tricky as, although the seeds have a little beard, they are hidden amongst lots of other fluffy stuff.

The final envelope was Coreopsis. Either I collected these at the wrong time, or the seeds are so small they are impossible to pick out from the rest of the debris. I had no option but to sew the debris as well!

Still hundreds of seeds left if anyone wants some?

All are now safely tucked up under a layer of bubble wrap in the conservatory – time will tell.