Collecting Seeds

Blackberry Lily (Iris domestica) seeds

Seeing some of the fall seeds is a good reminder that it’s a good time to pack up all those seeds you’ve been carefully collecting all season long to share with the various seed exchanges.  You did remember to do that right?  If you didn’t it’s still not too late.  Many flowers hold their seeds well through the summer and into the fall.  They are not always so easy to see and harvest as the blackberry lily (which by the way is a bit too common for most seed exchanges).  Some of the species Peonies are still carrying their seeds right now.

Paonia obovata alba seeds

Generally, however, it takes a bit more effort to select and harvest seeds.

As an example I picked a few handfuls of Primula sieboldii back in June and put them in an uncovered plastic bowl.  This week I put these primula seeds through my seed strainers.  You don’t have to have seed strainers but it makes the process a lot easier.  Mine were designed for sifting for gold but the process is the same.  They stack one on top of the other and the gold (seed) sifts down to the bottom tray.  Here are a few pictures showing the process.

Screen 1

Primula sieboldii with seed pod highlighted

Screen 2

Screen 3

Screen 4

The resulting Primula sieboldii seeds from screen 4

As inspiration here are the original Primula sieboldii which I obtained the seeds from.

Primula sieboldii in April

As a word to the wise, which I wasn’t with some very nice Allium seeds, don’t put seeds that are still moist in a sealed container, or they will just rot over the summer.

In the end I sent off 22 packs of seeds to the Alpine Garden Society, the Scottish Rock Garden Society, and the North American Rock Garden Society.  Besides sharing with others this will give the donor first pick privileges when the seeds are distributed this winter.