Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The last rose of summer

It was just going dark when I took this picture of a single remaining flower of Louise Odier, a lovely old bourbon rose, which flowers properly in midsummer, but I deadheaded it after it finished flowering, and she rewarded me with a few late blooms, and this is the last. There are still flowers on the ground cover roses that I grow under the trees, but I don't really count those, they are roses, but this is proper.

There are still quite a few sunflowers - I always grow Velvet Queen, which is still my favourite, but this one I tried for the first time this year, and it's a lovely dark chocolate colour.  It's called Black Magic, - it's an F1 hybrid though so you can't save the seed for next year.

I've been saving quite a bit of seed lately, it's well worth doing with the price of some flower seeds. Easy things like sunflowers, calendulas, poppies, nigellas, french marigolds, cosmeas, verbena bonariensis, and lots of others - you get so many seeds from just a few plants, you'll have enough to give away as presents to other gardeners. And there's good evidence to show that  when you save your own seed, the process of natural selection encourages the best varieties for your own particular soil and climate to be developed.  Just collect ripe seedheads, and store them in paper envelopes, in a cool dry place. After a few weeks when the drying process is complete, you can remove the seed pods and other chaff, and put the seeds away ready for next year. And a little collection of home saved seeds in decorated packets would be a welcome and meaningful gift for any gardener.( I didn't say anything about Christmas did I?)


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