Eight Utterly Un-Ordinary Gems

Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com

Last month, I started the “Don’t Be Ordinary” series to explore the many excellent reasons to consider growing from seed. This time, let’s look at one of the most tempting, for many of us: the opportunity to grow truly uncommon plants that we can’t easily buy (or sometimes, even buy at all) as plants.

You’ve probably heard it said that there’s a good reason common plants are common: they are easy to find and easy to grow, thriving in a wide range of conditions with minimal care. Though uncommon plants are hard are find, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are hard to grow, or that they are merely botanical curiosities with little garden value; it may just indicate that few gardeners have had the opportunity to give them a try. I’ve had good luck with all eight of these oddities in my Zone 6/7 Pennsylvania garden, most of them for several to many years, without providing any particular soil preparation or specialized care. And, it just so happens that I have seeds of all of these currently available in my Etsy shop, so if any of them strike your fancy, you have a chance to grow them for yourself. Some are also available from other sources, which you can investigate through an online search.

 

A Dainty Daisy

Pink hawksbeard (Crepis rubra) is a charming addition to the cool-season garden. Its layered, pink-petaled blooms appear mainly in late spring to early or midsummer atop stems that typically reach about 1 foot tall, over a low rosette of slender, green leaves.

Pink hawksbeard (Crepis rubra) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Deadheading pink hawksbeard (Crepis rubra) can help to prolong to bloom season a bit, but hot weather will bring it to an end in fairly short order. If the plants survive the main part of the summer, they may produce more flowers later in the season, when temperatures cool. The flowers mature into tufts of silky white hairs atop very thin, dark seeds.

Pink hawksbeard (Crepis rubra) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Though the flowering season isn’t very long in most areas, pink hawksbeard (Crepis rubra) is a lovely choice for its “something different” factor. It also attracts a variety of beneficial insects.

This Mediterranean native is reportedly right at home in poor, dry soil, but it also performs well for me in well-prepared, evenly moist garden soil. It grows in full sun to light shade. Pink hawksbeard is usually grown as an annual, though it can apparently act as a perennial in certain conditions.

Seeds of pink hawksbeard (Crepis rubra) available at Hayefield on Etsy [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Seeds of pink hawksbeard (Crepis rubra) [Hayefield on Etsy]

Pink hawksbeard plants are rather delicate when young and seem to dislike being disturbed, so it’s usually advised to sow the seeds directly where you’d like them to grow, spaced a few inches apart and just barely covered with soil. (Keep the area moist until seedlings appear, which can take a few weeks.)

I have also had luck starting pink hawksbeard indoors in early to mid-spring, under lights, sowing 3 to 5 seeds in a 4-inch pot of moist growing medium and then transplanting the seedlings in those groups as soon as danger of frost has passed, taking care to disturb the roots as little as possible. That approach worked well for me, as it gave the plants a head start and allowed them to make a nice show before summer heat arrived.

 

An Elegant Perennial

Seldom seen in gardens, but certainly garden-worthy, branched St Bernard’s lily (Anthericum ramosum) produces clumps of slender green leaves that send up sparsely branched, 24- to 30-inch-tall stems.

Branched St Bernard's lily (Anthericum ramosum) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Branched St Bernard’s lily (Anthericum ramosum) blooms through most of the summer, with small, white flowers.

Branched St Bernard's lily (Anthericum ramosum) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

If you’ve ever seen a spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) in bloom, you might notice it is very similar in appearance to Anthericum ramosum. Well, that’s not surprising: Chlorophytum comosum is also known as Anthericum comosum, and the two genera are closely related.  Anthericum ramosum is much hardier, though.

Branched St Bernard's lily (Anthericum ramosum) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Branched St Bernard’s lily (Anthericum ramosum) can easily get crowded out by rambunctious companions, so consider pairing it with well-behaved partners, such as hardy salvias (Salvia), lavenders (Lavandula), and pinks (Dianthus).

This pretty perennial is a quietly charming thing for a special spot where you can appreciate it at fairly close range, in full sun to light shade. It is generally hardy in Zones 5 to 8.

Branched St Bernard's lily (Anthericum ramosum) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Seeds of branched St Bernard’s lily (Anthericum ramosum) [Hayefield on Etsy]

The easiest approach to starting branched St Bernard’s lily is to sow the seeds in fall to late winter, setting them outdoors in a spot protected from mice so they can get a chilling period and then germinate when conditions are right in spring.

If you sow after February, set the pot in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for about a month before moving it to a cool, bright place for germination. (Remove the bag if the pot will be exposed to any direct sun.) The seeds generally sprout best in cool conditions (50 to 60F), so don’t give them supplemental heat.

 

A Fun Faux Nettle

Here’s something that’s pretty sure to stump garden visitors!

False nettle (Boehmeria tricuspis) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

False nettle (Boehmeria tricuspis) in bloom

The story behind the seeds: I bought seeds labeled as Boehmeria tricuspis and grew them out in 2018. The photograph above shows how they turned out–with mostly unlobed leaves on the stems and looking a bit more like plants identified as Boehmeria tricuspis var. unicuspis, which is apparently synonymous with B. spicata, and matching some, but not all, of the photos associated with those names. I do trust the original source, however, so I am calling these plants Boehmeria tricuspis.

False nettle (Boehmeria tricuspis) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

False nettle (Boehmeria tricuspis) plants grow about 2 feet tall, with red stems and bright green, toothed leaves that look rather like those of stinging nettle but lack the sting.

False nettle (Boehmeria tricuspis) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

The slender, upright-then-arching wands of tiny pink flowers start appearing on false nettle (Boehmeria tricuspis) in the leaf axils in mid- to late summer and continue into fall.

My plants have performed well in light, all-day shade (light filtered through an overhanging rose cane) and evenly moist soil. I’ve seen references give the hardiness zone range as 4 to 9, but I don’t know about that for sure; I do know that plants survived the 2018-19 winter unprotected in my Pennsylvania (Zone 6/7) garden.

False nettle (Boehmeria tricuspis) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Seeds of false nettle (Boehmeria tricuspis) [Hayefield on Etsy]

I started my original plants indoors from surface-sown seed, under lights and on a heat mat, in early spring, then set out the seedlings after the last frost date. You may have success with other approaches, if you want to experiment.

 

An August-Blooming Bulb

Japanese jacinth (Barnardia japonica; also known as Barnardia scilloides and Scilla scilloides) belongs to that special group of bulbs that bloom in late summer, like surprise lilies (Lycoris squamigera).

Japanese jacinth (Barnardia japonica) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

I have read reports of Japanese jacinth (Barnardia japonica) foliage appearing in spring and then disappearing before bloom time. Here in my Pennsylvania garden, however, its leaves pop up in late July to early August, followed quickly by leafless, upright stems.

Japanese jacinth (Barnardia japonica) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Japanese jacinth (Barnardia japonica) starts out with dense, tapering clusters of small, tightly packed, pink blooms.

Japanese jacinth (Barnardia japonica) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

As the new flowers of Japanese jacinth (Barnardia japonica) continue to open through the month, the stems continue to elongate, eventually topping out at about 10 inches tall. Its seeds mature in September as the leaves die back, with all aboveground presence gone again by October.

Japanese jacinth performs well in full sun to light shade. Reportedly cold-hardy to at least Zones 6, it may tolerate colder areas but hasn’t been widely grown yet, so there isn’t much data on its performance in those areas.

Japanese jacinth (Barnardia japonica) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Seeds of Japanese jacinth (Barnardia japonica) [Hayefield on Etsy]

There isn’t a great deal of information about germinating Japanese jacinth, but I’ve had good results by sowing 1/4 inch deep in fall to early winter and setting the pot outside, in a spot protected from mice, to germinate when conditions were right in spring. I planted the whole pot of seedlings into a holding bed and left them there for a couple of years before moving them to the garden.

That being said…I have also read that the seeds will germinate (over a period of weeks to months) if started in warm conditions. I leave it to you to decide which route you want to try.

 

Don’t Be Fooled

False hemp, also known as bastard hemp, Cretan hemp, or acalbir, looks very much like a shrub in size and form, or like some exotic tender perennial in bloom, but it is a hardy garden perennial.

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

The sturdy stems of false hemp (Datisca cannabina) shoot up from ground level in spring to 6 to 8 (or even 10) feet in summer.

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

The rich green, pinnate leaves of false hemp (Datisca cannabina) are handsome in their own right. They also make a good backdrop for bright-flowered partners.

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) is dioecious, meaning that it produces male and female flowers on separate plants. This is a male plant just coming into bloom.

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Closeup of the male flowers of false hemp (Datisca cannabina)

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

A male plant of false hemp (Datisca cannabina) in full flower

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Closeup of the female flowers of false hemp (Datisca cannabina)

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

The female flowers of false hemp (Datisca cannabina) are held in long chains.

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Generally speaking, when you are dealing with dioecious plants, you need to have both male (staminate) and female (pistillate) plants to get seeds. I have, however, found some references to female plants of false hemp (Datisca cannabina) producing seeds without male plants. I have both staminate and pistillate plants in my garden, so I can’t speak to that from personal experience.

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Here is a staminate stem next to a pistillate stem of false hemp (Datisca cannabina): the male on the left and the female on the right. Both start out quite upright, but as the seedpods develop on the females, the stems arch more dramatically.

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) is a handsome addition to the back of a large perennial or mixed border. This staminate false hemp is growing with blackberry lily (Iris domestica), New York ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis), viburnums, and three-flowered maple (Acer triflorum).

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Female false hemp (Datisca cannabina) plants are even more elegant than the males, as their lacy chains and gracefully arching stems sway in the breeze.

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

The chains of dried seedpods give female false hemp (Datisca cannabina) plants more winter presence than male plants.

False hemp thrives in full sun but takes light shade too. You can cut the stems close to the ground in late fall or early spring. They’re much tougher than those of most herbaceous perennials, though, so you’ll probably need loppers rather than handheld pruners. This superbly cool plant is reportedly hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

I sowed this pot with false hemp (Datisca cannabina) seeds on August 9. New seedlings were still appearing in late October, as evident in this October 30th shot.

The seeds of this substantial perennial are surprisingly tiny–practically dust-like, in fact–and germination is irregular, meaning that seedlings in one pot can appear over a period of months from a spring or summer sowing. Still, you probably don’t need many of them unless you have a gigantic garden, so you could separate the seedlings as soon as there are as many as you need and move them to individual pots or a holding bed to grow on.

False hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Seeds of false hemp (Datisca cannabina) [Hayefield on Etsy]

Surface-sow (do not cover) the tiny seeds as evenly as possible over growing medium, gently press them into the surface, and keep them moist in a warm, bright place for germination. If no seedlings appear after a month or so of warmth, you could wait longer or consider placing the pot in a plastic bag and refrigerating it for about a month before moving it back to warmth and light. I occasionally find seedlings of this plant in my garden, so it’s possible for them to self-sow in less than ideal conditions. But in general, I advise giving the tiny seeds close attention and good care so they don’t dry out or get washed away by careless watering or heavy rain.

 

A Lacy Look-Alike

Resembling a fancy Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) in leaf and a Russian sage (Perovskia) in bloom, this deciduous shrub or small tree has a beauty all of its own.

Cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo 'Heterophylla') [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Cut-leaved chaste tree is known botanically as Vitex negundo ‘Heterophylla’, V. negundo var. heterophylla, or V. negundo Incisa Group, among other names.

Cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo 'Heterophylla') [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

The bright green, compound foliage of cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo ‘Heterophylla’) has deeply toothed leaflets, giving the entire plant a soft, fine-textured appearance.

Cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo 'Heterophylla') [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Spiky clusters of light purple-blue flowers appear on cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo ‘Heterophylla’) from mid- or late summer into fall. They are always buzzing with various bees, and butterflies frequent them too.

Cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo 'Heterophylla') [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Left alone, cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo ‘Heterophylla’) generally grows as a multi-stemmed tree to about 15 feet tall. I prefer to use it as a cut-back shrub, taking all of the stems back to about 1 foot above the ground in spring, before new growth begins.

Cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo 'Heterophylla') [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

This is the same plant of cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo ‘Heterophylla’) in full bloom in early August, flowering at 6 to 7 feet tall from the 1-foot April framework.

Cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo 'Heterophylla') [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

After the months-long bloom season, cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo ‘Heterophylla’) puts on another good show in fall, when its leaves turn shades of yellow often blushed with red or purple. At least, they do that here; some references say that the plant has little or no fall color.

Cut-leaved chaste tree grows in full sun or light shade and is reportedly hardy in Zones 6 to 10.

Cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo 'Heterophylla') [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Seeds of cut-leaved chaste tree (Vitex negundo ‘Heterophylla’) [Hayefield on Etsy]

The easiest approach to growing cut-leaved chaste tree from seeds is to sow about 1/4″ deep in fall to early winter, setting them outdoors in a spot protected from mice so they can get a chilling period and then germinate when conditions are right in spring.

If you sow after December, set the pot in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for about 3 months before moving it to a warm, bright place for germination. (Remove the bag if the pot will be exposed to any direct sun.)

It is also possible that these seeds could germinate if you start them in warm, moist, bright conditions. But if you try that and no seedlings appear within 3 weeks or so, then try the refrigerator-chilling approach above before moving them back to warmth and light.

 

A Tough Little Tree

Growing trees from seed is admittedly a test of faith, as it can take them many years to mature and develop their best features. But if you have the patience, it’s a good way–sometimes the only way–to get your hands on something really special.

Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis) is a relatively slow-growing deciduous tree with pinnately compound leaves.

Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Left to develop as it wishes, Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis) grows as a multi-stemmed, low-branched tree, eventually reaching 20 to 30 feet tall with an overall rounded form. I planted this one as a seedling about 8 inches tall around 15 years ago.

Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

You don’t need to wait long to enjoy what I consider to be the very best feature of Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis): its silvery new shoots. As they expand, they turn silvery green, then a rich olive green by summer.

Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

In summer, this member of the pea family produces short, upright clusters of small, white flowers appear at the shoot tips, followed by flattened seedpods. My 15-year-old tree flowered for the first time this summer, but I missed getting a picture of it in bloom, unfortunately.

Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

The bark of Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis) is very handsome: a deep coppery brown that is somewhat shiny at first, eventually exfoliating in interesting patterns.

This very uncommon but easy to grow tree is reported to be very adaptable, tolerating a wide range of growing conditions in Zones 3 or 4 to 7 or 8.

Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis) [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Seeds of Amur maackia (Maackia amurensis) [Hayefield on Etsy]

One approach to starting Amur maackia is to sow the seeds about 1/4″ deep in fall or winter, setting them outdoors in a spot protected from mice so they can germinate when conditions are right.

It is also possible that these seeds could germinate if you start them in warm, moist conditions, particularly if you carefully nick the seedcoats, pour hot water over the seeds, and let them soak for about 24 hours before sowing.

 

For Something Completely Different

This deciduous shrub is so uncommon in gardens that it doesn’t really have an English common name, apart from “fountain hardhack,” which is used by a few references. It does have a variety of botanical names, though, including Securinega suffruticosa, Securinega ramiflora, and Flueggea suffruticosa, among others.

Securinega suffruticosa [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Securinega suffruticosa was long classified as part of the euphorbia family but is now included in Phyllanthaceae.

Securinega suffruticosa [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

I’ve been growing Securinega suffruticosa for only a few years, originally starting from seed shared with me by a nursery in Italy (many thanks, Rox!)

Securinega suffruticosa [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

The overall appearance of this shrub is airy and elegant, with small, greenish yellow or greenish white flowers in summer. Some Securinega sufruticosa plants are male and some are female. This is a male.

Securinega suffruticosa [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Male plants of Securinega suffruticosa produce their flowers in clusters, so they tend to be a little bit showier in bloom. (Here, there’s a female growing in front of a couple of males.) This isn’t really a shrub you grow for a big flowering display, obviously.

Securinega suffruticosa [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

As a dioecious species, Securinega suffruticosa generally needs both male and female plants to set seed. According to some sources, though, some female plants can produce seed even without a male nearby. The seedpods look very much like those of snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata) to me. I collect them when the dark outer cases start to split like this, then store them in a paper bag. They may snap open and release the seeds on their own, or you can break them apart with your fingers.

Securinega suffruticosa [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

One of the best features of Securinega suffruticosa is the arching habit it develops as it matures. My plants are rather dense and bushy right now, because I cut them back to about 1 foot when I moved them out of their holding bed this past spring.

Securinega suffruticosa [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

My Securinega suffruticosa plants are showing one of the species’ other great traits here: bright yellow fall color.

If you enjoy growing rare and quirky plants, reading this article by Gary Koller may influence you in favor of Securinega suffruticosa, as it did me: A Habit to Cultivate.

There is little information about the hardiness range of Securinega suffruticosa in North America, but it has been fully hardy in my Zone 6/7, southeastern Pennsylvania garden.

Securinega suffruticosa [Nancy J. Ondra/Hayefield.com]

Seeds of Securinega suffruticosa [Hayefield on Etsy]

The easiest approach to starting Securinega suffruticosa is to sow the seeds (just barely covered with growing medium) in fall to late winter, setting their pot outdoors in a spot protected from mice so they can get a chilling period and then germinate when conditions are right in spring.

If you sow after February, set the pot in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for about 3 months before moving it to a warm, bright place for germination. (Remove the bag if the pot will be exposed to any direct sun.)

Some of the resulting plants will be male and some will be female, but you won’t be able to tell them apart until they reach flowering size (it took mine to the fourth year for all to flower). If you don’t care about getting seed, then it doesn’t matter whether you have males or females. If you want to be able to collect seed, I suggest growing out the seedlings in a holding area until you can tell them apart, then keep at least one male and one female. (When I moved my seedlings to my garden, I planted a male-female pair in the same hole to save space, and that has worked out well for me.)

Oh, there are so many more neat plants I could tell you about, but this is probably enough to get excited about for now. I plan to be back next month with another batch of botanical gems worth growing from seed. In the meantime, I’d better return to getting the rest of this year’s harvest cleaned and packed. Thanks so much for reading!

13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Carol on November 17, 2019 at 6:43 am

    I love hearing about plants in general but un-common plants in particular. Thanks so much.

    My pleasure, truly. I too get a thrill reading abut new plants to try!
    -Nan

    Reply

  2. Posted by robertclydeanderson on November 17, 2019 at 8:19 am

    Nan,

    Great to see a post from you in the inbox again! And what a good idea to dole out really enticing and comprehensive info on plants we’ll probably never see for sale, even at a good specialty nursery. I find myself growing certain favorite varieties of common plants from seeds too, just to make sure I have them every year. Other things I once had to grow myself, like heirloom tomatoes, have become much more common, which frees up growing space for trying something new. Looking forward to placing an order with you this year and trying a couple of things completely new to me!

    Terrific to hear from you! I get what you’re saying about having to raise some common plants from seed at home. There is so much emphasis on the new releases each year that growers don’t have much incentive to stick with the old favorites. Even if you have a source where you can dependably find certain plants each year, there’s no guarantee that they will stay in business. We have lost so many independent growers over the last few decades. Most places around here just sell Proven Winners stuff (which are fine plants, certainly, but you don’t the thrill of finding something really unusual). Thank goodness seeds give us the ability to grow new goodies for ourselves!
    -Nan

    Reply

  3. Posted by Mel Donat on November 17, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Nan,
    Love all the cool plants you show us. Always something new to learn.

    Thanks for checking in, Mel! Thanks too (if I haven’t already expressed my gratitude) for sharing the Aristolochia fimbriata seeds with me this year. I was so happy to grow it again, and I was able to get a nice seed harvest from the offspring.
    -Nan

    Reply

  4. This is a fun blog entry, thanks!

    It was easy for me to recognize your Boehmeria plant because I am growing the Smallspike False Nettle given to me as Boehmeria cylindrica. I love the shiny leaves and try to gather the seeds so as not to spread it all over my garden. I will collect seeds and send some to you.

    You may want to communicate and exchange seeds with this fellow in Poland who grows several types of Boehmeria:
    http://unusualediblesandtheirwildrelatives.blogspot.com/2018/04/false-nettles-ramie-cousins-boehmeria.html

    I’ll head over to your seed store now. Thanks for sharing your garden.

    Hi Mary! Yes, once you have grown one Boehmeria, it’s easy to recognize other species. I see yours is native; that’s cool. I’ll check out the post you recommended; thanks!
    -Nan

    Reply

  5. Posted by Nick on November 17, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Nan, lovely post. As an incorrigible plant nerd, I always love finding out about new things, although I have had my eye on Datisca cannabina for a few years.

    Thanks, Nick

    Hey there, Nick! If you’re considering giving the Datisca a try, you may want to acquire one soon. I’d say mine took at least 5 years to start looking really good. Now that they are well established, they keep getting better every year. The decision between male and female is a challenge, though, if you don’t have enough space for both. I can’t remember how long it took mine to produce their first flowers (and thus reveal their…um, orientation) from seed.
    -Nan

    Reply

  6. Posted by Rox on November 17, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Dear Nan, you are NOT so ordinary! Just loved this post.
    Thanks, Rox

    Nor are you, Rox! Without you, there would have been only seven un-ordinary gems in this post.
    -Nan

    Reply

  7. Posted by Barbara Dashwood on November 18, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Hi Nan! Thanks for the good read and inspiration. I am intrigued by the cut leaved chaste tree. I have a spot in my garden which needs something like that. I was thinking of a potato Glasnevin and keeping it under control as a shrub. This may be a better alternative. Anyway, it’s gorgeous and thanks again for sharing.
    Barbara
    Victoria, BC

    Thank *you* for reading, Barbara. I’m thrilled that you found something that might work for you–if not the cut-leaved form, than maybe the straight species.
    -Nan

    Reply

  8. Posted by wenvic2014 on November 18, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    I love that you pictured the seeds! There’s such a fascinating variety in them. I appreciate the seed images not just for ID purposes, but also for the way they make me marvel at how from *this* (a seed) you get *that* (a plant).
    —Vicki

    Thanks, Vicki! Once of my major projects this fall has been taking pictures of all the seeds I clean before I pack them. I’m so happy that you found them of interest. Of all, the Datisca are the most amazing to me–that those tiny things can produce such a substantial, shrub-sized perennial. Truly amazing!
    -Nan

    Reply

  9. Posted by kat on November 19, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing your gardens; I’ve been looking them over for inspiration. Love the Barnardia japonica and the Anthericum ramosum.

    I appreciate your comment, Kat. It’s great that you found some of the plants of particular interest!
    -Nan

    Reply

    • ps I forgot to thank you for your rare seed offerings. I previously purchased some seeds from you and look forward to doing so again.

      I truly appreciate that, Kat. Working with seeds is a big part of my gardening year, and each step is a joy for me, but it would all be pointless if not for people who were interested in trying them, like you!
      -Nan

      Reply

  10. Posted by Shay on November 20, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    Yes! Growing plants from seeds is what I prefer. Seeds are good available in the Internet so we can grow whatever we want – from typical carrots to kiwano (which is a phenomenon in my country, it is very unusual fruit). What I like about plants grown from seeds is the fact that I kind of test myself. I always don’t know if I will manage to keep the plant so it is a bit challenging. Recently I bought some ornamental cucumber seeds from https://gardenseedmarket.com/ornamental-cucumber-mixed-seeds-cucumis-dipsaceus.html and I was a bit sad because they weren’t sprouting. It took them a few weeks to sprout but finally I could enjoy how they bloomed!

    Hi Shay! Great to hear from another seed lover. You are right: raising plants from seed is such an interesting challenge to one’s skills. It’s particularly exciting to be able to then save seeds from those plants to complete the cycle!
    -Nan

    Reply

  11. It is rare to see so many unfamiliar pictures in one article. I could not identify a single one here. The false nettle looks like big stinging nettle. I still could not identify it though.

    Thank you so much, Tony; that means I met my goal. It’s such a thrill to meet new plants, isn’t it?
    -Nan

    Reply

  12. Posted by Mary Mills on December 1, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    I got some seeds from you a few years ago. My seed ability, or patience, is not like yours but I managed to get rattlesnake master, false quinine (I think it came from you) and some asters to grow. I put them through the winter seeding routine with jugs. Thank you very much and a good winter to you. They are all in my local park.

    That is excellent news, Mary–thanks so much for sharing it! I wish you a good winter too. Just think: a month from now, the days will already be getting longer!
    -Nan

    Reply

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