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Posts Tagged ‘Seed sowing’

The end of April is nearly upon us, and I am already behind in the garden. Late season snows and a book deadline eliminated most of my gardening time this month. As it always does, spring weather finally arrived and eliminated the snowy weather, but the most important change in my schedule results from turning in the manuscript, photographs, and photo captions for Chesapeake Gardening & Landscaping. It has been a labor of love, and although I still have pages to read and an index to write, I am happy the worst is behind me. I am still very excited about the book, and think that it will be a great resource for anyone who wants to garden in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  Readers of Eastern Shore Gardener will be among the first to know when the publisher, University of North Carolina Press, gives us a publication date!

Uvularia-grandiflora

Above: Great merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) a native woodland wildflower.

For me, playing catch-up in spring means weeding. I am trying to keep hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) and ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) from taking over.  I am also lifting and dividing a few perennials and teasing self-sown seedlings out of the ground for potting up to give as gifts or donate to local plant sales. (You know who you are, shoot me an e-mail!) My favorites this year are seedlings of great merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora). My original plant came from my mother’s garden, and it has spread nicely. In addition to enlarging by politely spreading rhizomes, seedlings appear around the original clump. I also have spring beauties (Claytonia virginica) everywhere. These are trickier to dig because their corms are deep in the soil and it is easy to miss them with a spade.

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Sowing seeds is one of my favorite activities this time of year—especially since it’s still too cool and wet to plant much outside. Hardy perennials are easy. I sow the seeds as soon as I get them, mulch pots with gravel, and set them outside in a protected spot to germinate when they will. I get nice, tough, sturdy seedlings this way with a minimum of fuss. Plus, I’ve grown a wide variety of really fun plants this way, from hardy cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) and ornamental onions (Allium spp.) to Devil’s walking stick (Aralia spinosa) this way.

Frost-Dates-Bing

ABOVE: Bing supervising sown pots of hardy perennials.

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