When faced with moving house last year, I was utterly perplexed as to how I was to relocate some of my favourite plants. The shallow-rooted primroses wouldn’t be a problem, but the perennial sweet peas (Lathyrus latifolius), the blue false indigo (Baptisia australis) and the sea holly (Eryngium alpinum) all have roots that go to China. Not only that, what was I going to do with them when they arrived at the new place?
Then it came to me: Seeds! Eminently transportable and virtually foolproof.
There are several reasons gardeners collect seeds. For one, it preserves some strains from certain obscurity—Russell lupines (Lupinus polyphyllus) come to mind. In addition to being a terrific way to learn first-hand the various stages in a plant’s life, it’s a very inexpensive way to increase your stock.
Keep in mind that seeds collected from annual bedding plants (impatiens, petunias, snapdragons) or from complex cultivars (many peonies and daylilies) often produce offspring that don’t look anything like their parents—leading to either great excitement or acute disappointment. Fortunately, the majority of plants are exceedingly co-operative when it comes to securing the next generation, and if their seeds are collected and stored correctly, they will remain viable for one to two years.