Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fall Colors

Just because there are no flowers in bloom right now doesn't mean there aren't colorful things to find in the garden. A few branches of red spirea brightened my living room this week. This is one of my favorite shrubs--it's low-cost, easy to grow, has pretty clusters of tiny blooms in spring, and in fall it turns such gorgeous colors. When the leaves fall off, its reddish branches make neat winter bouquets, or can be used in twig wreaths with great effect. The twigs also look cool tucked into the branches of a country Christmas tree.

More Fall color, but not as apparent as the spirea: packets of seeds I collected over the weekend to save for next year's garden. So often I forget or am just too burned out to collect seeds, but while the apple butter was cooking I took a few minutes (that's all it takes, really) to collect seeds.
What did I get? Tall Cosmos, dwarf marigolds, purple bergamot (or bee balm), sweet basil, Cleome (I call it Queen of the Garden, and it's also known as Spiderflower), copper fennel, annual hollyhock, and a few others I can't recall. It felt like riches as I sealed each envelope.
Saving them is easy: wait until the seeds have ripened and are falling from the plants; strip them off and put into an envelope, seal and save. I put mine under a warmish lamp for a bit just to be sure they were completely dry and won't mold on me.
I wish I'd gotten out earlier and saved a few more, but I'm happy with what I got. Are you a seed saver? What did you collect this year?


City Mouse said...

The Spirea is terrific looking. I love to bring in Fall plants also. You have a powerful bunch of seeds saved!

Anonymous said...

Inspired by one of the ladies that follow your blog, I went to the garden and made a fall bouquet. I used the pods from lilies, oak branches downed by the wind storm, and that fuzzy grass (don't know the name of it, looks like a tail). I had a lot of fun doing it and finding different things to use and once finished it is pretty in a different way.

I have rotten luck with seeds, so when I would cut the pods out, I started placing them in the garden where ever I wanted the flowers next season. I have bachelors buttons, cone flower, Lobelia (wild and hybrids), stokes aster, but unfortunately I did this with wild columbine...I have tons now! So good and bad results...but always pretty in some way.


Granny Sue said...

Julie, I love your idea of planting the seeds now for next year, rather than saving them over the winter. What a timesaver! Of course, I get a lot of volunteers from seeds anyway, especially lemon balm, coneflower, and cleome. but I do not have one columbine--isn't it funny what thrives in one place and not another?

Tiger Lady said...

I should have collected the cilantro because it is coming back up. So I'm trying to figure out if I need to scoop up the seedlings and bring in the plants. I have lavender growing in a pot inside right now. Not sure how that works when a plant doesn't get to 'sleep' over the winter.

I am collecting deep purple morning glory seeds and I need to go out and collect my lemon basil.

Good idea on the spirea branches. I can go outside and collect those now. I love the red. Remember we picked up my spirea plants for $1/each. They are cheap and beautiful plants. And so easy to grow.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry Sue, I have plenty of columbine to share...they are very rigorous down here...funny, my first one came from the wild along a WV roadside.
And Tiger Lady, may I suggest half and half? Bring half in to make sure you have plants for next year, and leave half out to see if they will over-winter...of course, this is how some of my plants got out of control, but better too many than not enough. Time-wise worth a try and the knowledge of knowing what will make it thru the winters at your house.

Granny Sue said...

Good suggestions, Julie. And you're right--too many is better than none!

Tiger Lady, you have good instincts and a bright green thumb. Trust yourself to do what's best for your plants. Lavender is Mediterranean, remember. I don't think winters there are very cold.

The Tile Lady said...

What treasure you have there! All to be reaped in the spring!

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