From Seeds to Seeds: Seed Harvesting and Happiness

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Happiness is not something I usually discuss publicly but today I am brimming with it. Sure, the world is currently a bit crazy—and I acknowledge and care about that—but right here at my house, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. I joke not, seriously, and I mean this both figuratively and literally.
For me, seed collecting currently feels like opening tiny gifts wrapped in crinkly sun-dried seed pod papers. Funny that after that is done, I wrap them up in cute little origami envelopes and store them until they are sold in my online store! As many of you know, Christmas shopping often begins early and as usual, I am seeing sales from early shoppers. When I hear that folks are buying seeds for someone for Christmas though it makes me so happy. These are gifts that will give back in return if properly cared for by a gardener—sometimes for years!
Milton’s Garden Menagerie (located on Etsy.com) has been a wonderful experience for a chronically ill woman who was terribly confused about how to take that next step in her life. At first I wasn’t really sure what I was doing with it and I doubted myself a great deal, but now that it has been almost 2 years and as it nears a viable business status, I think I can say I did it mostly—for the love of seeds! Saying that loud and proud makes me happy today too.
Each time I collect seeds it’s exciting no matter where I am. When I collect seeds from plants I’ve grown from seed it is even more exciting. This year, for the first time, my gardening friend down the street is letting me harvest from her garden too. Since she is 100% natural in her garden I have no problem collecting her seeds—especially when they are from plants I have sold to her at some point.
Here are plants I’ve grown from seed that I am collecting seeds from this year for my Milton’s Garden Menagerie harvest:
Tube Clematis, Clematis heracleifolia.
Variegated Honesty, Lunaria annua ‘Variegata’.
Heirloom White Single Hollyhock, Alcea rosea. 
Cardinalflower, Lobelia cardinalis.
Great Blue Lobelia, Lobelia siphilitica.
White Rose Campion, Lychnis coronaria ‘Alba’ or Silene coronaria ‘Alba’. 
Maximilian’s Sunflower, Helianthus maximilianii.
Sticky Monkey Flower, Mimulus cardinalis.
Bottlebrush Grass, Elymus hystrix.
Then there are the plants I did not grow, but from which I am able to harvest seeds from this year.
Sticky Phacelia, Phacelia viscida.
Smoke Tree, Cotinus coggygria.
Blue Love-in-a-Mist, Nigella damascena.
Tall Alumroot, Heuchera chlorantha.
Lewis Flax, Linum lewisii.
Pale Corydalis, Corydalis sempervirens.
Adding to all the hectic seed collecting there are the other things too. On my most recent trip to the Seattle area I came home with this gem. It, along with many others, will be planted in the coming weeks.
Blechnum chilense.

The fern is native to China and can grow up to 6′ tall in some places. It is evergreen in my climate so I am very curious to see what it will do. It spreads by underground runners and I’ve read that it can be invasive but no word on this yet in my area. I guess I will have to see what happens and in the meantime I’ll enjoy it as much as I can while it is still docile and not a screeching teen.

And during my copious amounts of free time I will begin working with my many Douglas fir cones. I need to make some new wreaths and holiday decorations because if I continue only using wine corks, someone is seriously going to think we have a drinking problem in our home.

More happy news to come in the following week so stay tuned!

City People’s Garden Store, Seattle (Washington)

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During the Seattle Garden Bloggers Fling last month I was unable to sneak over to City People’s Garden Store to go shopping. I really wanted to, but once I was told I’d be coming back in a few weeks with the husband for a wine pouring, I relaxed and vowed to return then—and I did!

I’ve only been here twice before and both of those visits took place during the wintertime when I was looking for houseplants. This time I shopped inside AND outside.

Reiger Begonias are a hybrid cross between tuberous and wax Begonias.

There were so many things I wanted to buy, but since our garden is currently unkempt, and with the impending threat of the serial casting process for two injured fingers on my right hand being planned, I was just looking and not shopping.

I would buy one of these for every girl who came through my door if I could because ever the cynical foster teens melt when anyone mentions fairies. It is nice to see that a door can still open to their inner child sometimes.

I don’t grow Kangaroo Paw plants, but the green blooms on this one were so tempting.

Having been the black sheep oftentimes during Lenten activities at my Catholic school makes some place deep inside of me want a black sheep for my garden. This one is not quite black, but it’s close!

The salmon was interesting in its rusticity. I liked that the artist got the hooked snout just right.

It was so pretty that day but I was so sad it was already August. With my birthday looming, I knew that fall was near. The nursery was already stocking mums, so that made the inevitability of the changing season that much clearer.

I am sure that others around me would have understood how I felt that day if they’d known so I continued to take in as much as I could along with the rest of them. Oh the lies we tell ourselves to justify the things that satisfy us!

Sometimes you really need to gawk.

The colors are like Valium for your eyes—at least in my case they are.

And even though I have seen these blooms many times before, I still always want to see them again.

Digitalis obscura.
Delphinium hybid.
Gentiana acaulis hybrid ‘Holzmann’.
Silene ‘Jack Flash’.
The native plant corner was where I rested my eyes for a minute or two.

When I turned around I saw the Aucuba on the right with the solid green leaf. I’ve wanted one of these for awhile, but I passed on it. Sometimes it is sooooo hard to say “No” though.

This year my Fuchsia plants do not look quite this happy.

I wanted to crawl into this seat to rest a spell because my finger injuries were really making my tired. Sometimes it is such hard work looking at plants but somebody has to do it.