Monday, September 20, 2010

save the summer

about now, many of my perennial blooms are starting to fade, and seeds are coming on strong. As our home has a little bank of windows in the utility room, I plan to try propagating from seed next spring. If it works, I'll have a bunch of plants to put into the yard and more to give to friends.

Here's a simple way to collect the seeds and grow more of your favorite flowers next year:

cut rough circles of lightweight fabric. It should be thin, rather sheer, as this will allow light and air to continue to reach the flower where the seeds are developing. Just make sure it's not so delicate that it can't endure a bit of weather (I wouldn't use silk, for example). The sample circles above (a quarter is in the middle of one, for reference) were cut from polyester organza leftover from making that veil. These were actually too small for most of my echinacea blooms, and I had to cut larger ones.

Using a running stitch, stitch all around the edge of the circle, a scant 1/4" - 1/2" from the edge. Leave long ends, as this will give you something to tie off later.

Pull the long ends to gather up the fabric along the running stitch. Gently fit the little fabric cup over the seed-head of your flower. Tighten the fabric around the flower's stem and tie off the threads. You don't want to cut the threads into the stem (so as not to damage the flower), but do tie it quite tightly - if the seeds should start to fall off the seed-head, you want the fabric to gather them all together and keep them contained. I just tied the loose ends in a bow, but you could knot them as well.

When the heads have developed as much as they are going to and/or the seeds begin to fall, cut the flowers at their stems and bring them inside. Allow them to dry a bit (perhaps hang them upside down, to help the seeds fall out and be caught in your fabric. Then carefully cut the fabric off the seedheads, pick out any seeds still remaining in the head, and store them away until spring.


Jennifer said...

A very clever and easy way to save a bit of this summer for the next! Now if I only had a garden of any kind...

fleur_delicious said...

thanks, Jennifer! Well, let me know if you're in Seattle; if my seed-starts this spring are a success, perhaps I can hook you up with some baby coneflowers of your very own! What do you think? I'm sure you could grow them in pots for a year or two, so long as you have a bit of sun for them =)