Rock Garden Quarterly Summer 2012 - (Page 214)

Rock Gardening from Scratch – Seeds Mike Bone In the last two issues I wrote about setting up a propagation facility, about soils, water and how it moves, and why that is so important; and about vegetative propagation, focusing on the cutting. This time I'm going to write about something that is very near and dear to me – seeds. Seeds are honestly the one aspect of horticulture that I spend the most energy on and give the most attention to. So I'm particularly pleased to share some of my thoughts and observations regarding their endless mysteries. So much influences seeds and their respective viability, from how you handle them, to the amount of precipitation, to the temperatures on a given day. Seeds are endlessly complex and wonderfully simple at the same time. They are the method of movement of plant populations. They are the time capsules of past eras. Seeds are the source of gardeners’ constant wonder and bewilderment. Yet when you stop and look at the many mechanisms programmed in and on the body of seeds, they follow very logical, environmentally based, protocols. SEED CATEGORIES As you may remember from the previous columns, I have this need to define and categorize everything. So here are some ways that seeds can be categorized. Firstly, they can be divided into two major groups: orthodox – meaning they tolerate, or require, dry storage – and recalcitrant – meaning they will not tolerate dry storage. Beyond that, I like to think about the mechanisms that prevent seed from germinating as another way to group and classify them. Dormancy typically comes in the form of either physical dormancy (in the form of a thickened seed coat), or physiological, or a complex combination of the two. Once you understand what these mechanisms are, you can start putting together some means to overcome each of them and be much more successful in your germination endeavors. ORThODOx & RECAlCITRAnT This is a very important distinction. Firstly, if you are buying or collecting seed, you have to know how to store it. For most propagators, long-term storage is not really a thing that you need to worry about. I know that almost as soon as I get a packet of 214 Rock Garden Quarterly Vol. 70 (3)

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rock Garden Quarterly Summer 2012

Digital Quarterly
Expanding Panayoti's Axioms
Photo Contest 2012
Photographing Alpine Plants: A Landscape Point of View
NARGS 2013 Election Timetable
Rock Gardening from Scratch - Seeds
Kim Blaxland and the Violets of North America
Viola pedata
Violas, Kim, and Us - A Celebration
Cooking Native Japanese Plants
Carl Gehenio Memorial Trough Show
Fire in the Hole: Phlox across Colorado
Rebuilding a Rock Garden in Pittsburgh
A Remarkable Garden: David Douglas and the Shrub-steppe of the Columbia Plateau
Bookshelf - Reviews
Swedish Dreams
Treasurer's Report
Bulletin Board
2012 - Eastern Study Weekend: October, Pittsburgh

Rock Garden Quarterly Summer 2012