Monday, July 24, 2006

Holly Snappleseed

Last summer I transplanted a bunch of sorry looking about-to-die snapdragons from a container plant that came with my house to a new, permanent spot by the back fence. They had already bloomed but after dead-heading them, a few stalks produced one or two more flowers. As it turns out, with a lot of regular watering and some fertilizer, this is a very good spot for them. To my surprise, this spring the snapdragons produced a ton of flowers. They tripled in size, maybe even quadrupled and spread way out. All of the flowers are in the pink range. Some tend toward orange while another variety is paler and has hints of white. They make excellent cut flower arrangements to bring some garden color indoors. I like snapdragons so much that I bought two more this spring - white and deep wine with yellow. Now that they are finished with their spectacular blow-out blooming season I have started gathering the seeds from their pods. I plan to start them indoors in March and plant them in profusion when the time is right.

Early his morning I was rudely awakened by Old Man barfing in my bedroom and after getting up to clean his present up I realized that I was too awake to go back to bed. So, I used my Alessi tea strainer to remove the leaves and other debris that got mixed in when I gathered the seeds. With a bit of shaking as if sifting flour, the seeds fell right through the little holes and left the junk behind. I snapped this photo of to separate the snapdragon seeds from the riff-raff of dried stems and leaves my haul of this year's crop. I could gather more, but honestly, where would I plant them all?

On a visit to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Florida many years ago, I bought some really neat handmade paper cards. Embedded in the paper were seeds for herbs like parsley and basil. The idea was to soak the card and then plant it. I ended up sending them off to green thumb friends and family while I saved the idea for myself. My guess is that no one actually planted those cards.

Perhaps now that I have some time on my hands and a big enough place, I can get back into the paper making thing again; except this time, I'll make them with snapdragon seeds inside. I always used junk paper. Sometimes I would use perfumed magazine sample inserts to add fragrance to the paper. Some of the sheets I have saved (from more than 7 years ago) still smell. I also occasionally added rose petals to the pulp. When the sheets dried the paper turned green around the petals. This happened most dramatically for the deep burgundy ones. Alas, I think I have many, many other projects I would rather do than make more paper, even if they would have snappy seeds in them, so I'll just keep that idea on the back burner.

3 comments:

Nutbuk Ug Bulpin said...

Are those tiny seeds of snap dragons? They sure look like an alien-looking skulls on the ground, huh!:-)

Alasdair said...

I knew that tea strainer would be good for something eventually!

Those seed pods look like creepy little skulls, you know...

Speaking of which, the carnation-like plant in the front yard (with the pretty little pink flowers and the green-blue, grass-like leaves) has a zillion seed pods on it now. I crumbled two while watering it to see if there were seeds inside and jackpot! Maybe I will try to foster more of that blue-green plant around the rhododendron, which I'm sure would like the company...

Holly said...

Yes! That's exactly what I thought of those seed pods. When shaken tiny black seeds fall out of the "eyes" and "mouth."

I love seeds.

I wish I knew before the jasmine plant finished blooming that it too would go to seed if I just left the flowers on long enough. If it ever blooms again, which may not happen as it is reputed to be a "difficult" plant, I will gather those seeds and attempt to grow more jasmine plants. If that succeeds, I will plant one of them outside and see if I can get it to grow in our sometimes harsh climate! You never know...

Speaking of that harsh climate, it was over 100ยบ three days in a row this weekend! I hope it cools off to below 90 early this summer, i.e. before October!!!