In the Garden-Saving Seeds


Seeds from Black Eyed Susan


This time of year, in New York, the garden looks a bit sad.  A bit tattered. A bit worn.  It is an “in between” time  of year where the Fall Mums and Coleus have not yet made their bold appearance.  Yet, all the Summer flowers are fading.

This is a great time to collect seeds for next year.  I had the great fortune of having Black Eyed Susans make an appearance this year.  After doing some research, I learned that they were the cultivar Indian Summer.  The flowers grew abundantly and reached almost four feet high.  Because the flowers did so well, I wanted to collect the seeds to share them with friends and family members.  I also wanted to save the seeds so I can grow these flowers again next year.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I wandered into the garden and cut back these flowers.  I tied them into bundles using twine and then hung them upside down to dry.



Dried Black Eyed Susans, Cultivar “Indian Summer”



Once they were dry, I trimmed the stalks and partially pulled off the outer “ray” petals.  I quickly realized that with every petal I removed, about 50 seeds were released from the center of the dried flower.  So, I eventually decided just to leave the petals on the dried flowers.

Dried Bundle of Black Eyed Susans


I carefully put the seeds pods into clear bags and sealed them with a Sky Lark House label.  If you look closely, you can see the seeds already loose within the cellophane bags.


Seed packets

I did some research and learned that the seeds need to be subjected to freezing temperatures to germinate in the Spring.  This means that they need to be planted in the Fall so they can quietly sleep under a blanket of Winter snow -OR- the collected seeds need to be put in a freezer during the winter.

If time allows, I will plant them outside this Fall. I love giving gifts to people from the garden.  These gifts seem more meaningful than something you can purchase.  Audrey Hepburn said it best: “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”.

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