Flowers & Seeds

Now that we’re past the half-way line of summer it’s time to get ready to start the wind-down.  Even though some plants have just gone in, a lot of others are now beginning to wrap up their yearly efforts and set seed.  Particularly of note are those plants which are normally biennials but which, if you make inroads now, could be flowering next year.  In my garden that means foxgloves – which I’m collecting the second the little conical seed pods start shading to brown.

I’ve marked all of my foxgloves and lupins, this year as to what colour the parent plant was.  They’re open pollinated, but given the information here and here I think I can safely say that my white with purple spots foxglove plants will majoritarily produce white seedlings due to being white-dominant (i.e. they have a gene which means that magenta colouration is ‘overwritten’) but the white with green spots could be much more variable as they are a recessive white form, shown when there is no information for magenta to start with.  I may be mixing that up, so any input would be more than welcome.  Next year I’ll likely attempt hand pollination as I’d like to increase my odds of getting more white foxgloves – especially those with green throat spots!  Some of these are earmarked for auntie Beth but if there’s anyone keen on having some, let me know as I suspect within the next month or so I’ll have rather a lot of seed.

Also likely to produce a lot of seed are my lupins – mixed dwarf and tall varieties varying from white to purple and various shades of pink  as well as bi-colours thereof which I’d be happy to share with anyone who wants – they’re a really good plant for bullying out other weeds if you’ve not got a lot of time to spend on weeding or if you have a rough patch of ground.  The big downside to lupins is that they’re herbaceous perennials so have nothing to show for themselves during winter!

Some other plants which tend to produce large amounts of seeds are also coming into flower at the moment:

The sunflower is a new type for me this year (‘Velvet Queen’) and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to harvest true to type seeds from it as my other sunflowers – a tall plain yellow variety – won’t bloom for a while yet.  The dill is from seed I saved myself last year and will hopefully give me more this year.  I really need to use more dill – it’s ended up as more of a decorative plant as I’m not used to using it in the kitchen.  Anyone got some good (non-pickle) recipes?

Another edible flower growing rather well at the moment is the purple sprouting broccoli.  I took the large main bud off of it a few days ago and the side shoots have exploded with growth – they seem to be one of the few plants doing really well in the new veg bed – along with the cabbaged and cauliflowers.  I suspect it may be that they enjoy the heavy soil a lot more than the other plants.  Either way, given I’d thought I wouldn’t have any sprouting broccoli this year, I’m rather looking forward to putting these on my plate!

Other flowers just coming into bloom are this lovely white dianthus – likely edible but I’d feel bad tearing apart that beautiful blossom head and a flower with an ‘edible name’ or sippable, anyway – Gladioli ‘Espresso’.  I’m really looking forward to those unfurling as their colour is already spectacular when the light catches the buds.

 Last but not least, this week I bagged a squash.  This poor thing had been in a pot for ages – the usual conundrum of having sown too many expecting more fatalities, thus ending up with spare plants.  When I removed a potato, though, I realised I could reuse the bag for my squash!  A quick clean and re-fill later and I now have a patio squash.  Hopefully it’ll take to its new home – at the very least it’s better than a tiny wee pot!


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