Last year I collected seed from ornamental grasses in my garden and saved them in small sealed brown envelopes which I have stored in my garage. Perhaps next spring I will try sowing some of these – as an exercise to see if they are viable after 18 months. It might be interesting to see if there is any difference in germination with seed collected this year. Although if you are familiar with growing ornamental grasses you may already know that there is another way of increasing your stock with very little effort at all.
Gravel mulches on paths and borders are a great way of cutting down on weeding but very occasionally weeds do still germinate but they are quite easily pulled out. I have ornamental grasses growing in areas mulched with gravel in my garden and as the seed is so fine it can sometimes germinate in the gravel. I always find these plants a bonus.
Top dressing pots with pebbles looks good but there will still be pockets where seed can get trapped. I have a large pot of alliums in my front garden but I am not disappointed at all at the young ornamental grass seedlings that have grown up and through the pebbles I have top dressed this pot with. I spotted them after the allium’s foliage died down and have waited until now before lifting and potting them up as sometimes lifting young self sown seedlings can be risky. It wasn’t until I lifted these seedlings today that I realised quite how many were in the pot!
Square pots rather than round ones for seedlings or cuttings work best for me as I have a very small, 6ft x 4ft, greenhouse and space is an issue. I place six pots in and tray so I can move them around more easily. I also tend to place cuttings in the four corners with one in the middle giving five per pot. With grass seedlings I tend to put only two per pot and in opposite corners. I also place the pots in the trays in the same way so that they all get enough light when they have grown into larger plants as you will see in the photo above. The white in the pots is vermiculite which I added to the compost to help drainage. I don’t imagine these seedlings really need over wintering in my greenhouse but I have done this for a number of years now.
A closer look around the garden could reveal more self sown seedlings and not all I will lift. Sometimes I will let plants grow where they land – well for a little while anyway. It is like a treasure hunt where I don’t always keep the treasure!
The photo above was taken in my garden on August 28th 2007.