Monday, 2 March 2015

New additions

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if I access to a glass house I will fill it with plants.  Strange and wonderful plants!  I have wrung out of ebay some its most exciting seeds, and many of them have even grown!

Liqurice and I have history.  I have heard that it is hard to get liqurice to germinate.  This is not the problem I have.  My problem is keeping it alive.  It rots off rather easily, even when you think you are past that danger.  I have had several attempts at growing it, but this year has been more successful than usual.  It germinted and kept going without suddenly dying.  Now that winter is upon us it has died back and I wait with bated breath to see if it will come back in the spring.

Carolina Allspice (calyanthus floridus) 
Another of the plants I became aware of through the book 'A Taste of the Unexpected'.  Parts of it can be used as a spice.  It sounds quite interesting but to be honest I only bought the seeds because I was buying some other seeds and saw it was available.  I was more interested in those seeds, but no progress was made.  These have got going quite well, and look a bit like the plant from little shop of horrors.
"Feed me Seymore!"

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Imagine the finest hair you can think of.  Then imagine that hair chopped into lengths of 1-2mm.  If the hair that you were thinking of was a sort of chestnut brown, then you pretty much have a description of tea tree seeds.  As you might imagine they are a bit tricky to handle and there is not a lot of stored oomph in a little seed like that.  So they are slow to germinate and quick to dry out.
This has to be one of the most challenging plants that I have managed to grow from seed.  Mainly because everything gets going faster, including moss and green stuff on the compost.

Manuka Tea Tree
The manuka seed is visually identical to tea tree, with all of its associated fun.  I bought the seeds later in the season and only a couple seeds made it to the seed leaf stage.  Then over winter the dog tried to eat the pot.  We will just have to see what is still going when the growing season starts again.

For completeness I also grew tea.  The real one.  As in a nice cuppa.  The seeds could not be more different from tea tree.  About the size of a small hazel nut.  The recieved wisdom was that it is quite difficult to grow, but not so far.  There was conflicting information about whether to crack shell off of the nut or not, so I tried both and both germinated easily enough.

Sea Buckthorn
I was faced with a choice when buying these seeds.  A small pack from a reputable source, or a large pack of wild collected seed.  I went for the large pack and planted half of them.  It seems they all germinated.  A few took a turn for the worse in a little mould incident, but it still looks like there will be quite a few to plant out this year.

I was given the rather lovely silkie bantams.  Sometimes we even get some eggs.

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