Seedy Thursday

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Last year was going to be the year I ordered fewer seeds and dealt with the ones I already had. This year was going to be the year I started fewer seeds, accepting that I don’t have room for many more plants, without, say, tearing out a raspberry patch.

Yesterday, seeds arrived from both the American Primrose Society and the Alpine Garden Club of British Columbia. The AGCBC filled 28 of my 30 main requests and, for the other two, substituted a very generous number of packets from my alternative list. I’m going to need my own mountain. The APS included bonus packets of seeds for two big species — Primula sikkimensis and Primula japonica. So now I’m thinking.  A person could make small alpine troughs out of abandoned slow-cooker crock pots (common in junk shops for around $5). And isn’t a raspberry patch really a forest of short, thin trees — a moist, mulchy, lightly shaded woodland garden waiting to happen?

I was pleased to have the seeds arrive during a spell of warm weather. Most years, it’s -25 when I rescue them from the mailbox, and then when some don’t germinate, I wonder whether the extreme cold and sudden shift from -25 to +20 room temperature ruined them. This year, the seeds coming from the US will have been in transit during what the Americans called their Polar Vortex (what in Canada we boringly call winter). So they quite possibly spent a couple of days and nights in the back of an ice-covered truck. Maybe this is nothing to worry about. People in Russia and Finland and Scandinavia participate in seed exchanges, and if sitting in mailboxes in the dead of winter were bad for seeds, you’d hear about it, right?

So this is the year I am going to start more seeds than ever, take better care with my seeds and my seedlings, and succeed with all of them.

Gentiana septemfida

Gentiana septemfida

Primula sieboldii

Primula sieboldii

Saxifraga paniculata in the alpine pan

Saxifraga paniculata in the alpine pan

Primula munroi

Primula munroi

Saxifraga canis-dalmatica in the alpine bed

Saxifraga canis-dalmatica in the alpine bed

a small Sax canis-dalmatica in an alpine trough

a small Sax canis-dalmatica in an alpine trough

Primula polyneura

Primula polyneura

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