Do You do It From Seed?

I’ve been cleaning out the back end of this site. So far, I’ve purged over 6G of extraneous files – which translates to a lot in website hosting dollars as well as a real sense of “fresh-start” satisfaction – 10+ years of blogging creates lots of digital junk.

As I’ve been moving through old posts and images, I came across these – my garden circa summer 2009.

In the summer of 2007 I had an 18 month old and an almost 5 year old. We had recently removed some big trees and the soil was crap – filled with raw sawdust from ground out stumps. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with the area (and I still don’t… how is that?) so I gave the kids some seeds – giving over the distribution entirely to toddlers.

There were a variety seeds, but Foxgloves were dominant.

And this is what happened.

It might be one of my favorite garden moments of all time.

The thing is, I stopped buying so many seeds a few years ago. I kind of hate starting seeds indoors. I know I would feel differently if my conditions were different. But given my low interior light, cold windows, dislike of awkward clutter-y lighting contraptions, and my incessant nibbly cats – It is too frustrating.

Maybe someday I’ll have a greenhouse…and it’ll feel as romantic as I always hope. (Day dreams)

But in not starting seeds indoors, I inadvertently gave up the old fashioned way to grow from seed. You know – where you grab seed heads off favorite plants in the fall, rub the husks away between your palms and then give it a toss. Or alternatively, where you take seed packets and hand them to toddlers and point them in a direction.

I love the wilder more mixed up results that can happen with this method of planting. Plus it feels like an adventure where you go hand in hand with whims of mother nature.

This season I’m reverting a few garden areas back to the wildness of scattered seeds. There is an uncontrolled and boundless beauty that comes from throwing caution to the wind and letting the chips (or seeds) fall where they may.

I can’t wait to see what happens.

For starters, I’m keeping it simple with hearty Foxgloves and giant Dill. I like dill’s feathery foliage and there is nothing better than how it smells in the garden. Both have proven themselves to be earnest, but not too eager self seeders in my garden – and I love both plants so am always happy to have them sprout wherever. Dianthus Black Adder has sustained itself over many years so I can’t argue adding more. I keep trying to get more nigella to take hold – but as yet, its splotchy at best. I’ll keep at it. I am thinking to try Joe Pye weed from seed as I want more of that in my garden and I may as well try the cheapest possible route.

I’m curious, what scatter seed plants have you grown and loved?

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About Rochelle Greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. Gwen on January 1, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    California poppies, calendula, & ground-hog radish are my current favorites for hand scattering. I first started broadcasting groundhog radish as an annual “ground-cover” in my perennial beds to break up the clay the builder used but came to love its flowers and creepy pea-like seed pods.

    • About Rochelle Greayer on January 2, 2019 at 8:04 am

      Gwen – I had to google groundhog radish…. and am now so intrigued. What an interesting cover crop that seems particularly magical when it comes to soil improvement. I’d love to know more. Did it help your soil? and what are the flowers and seed pods like? I love when readers introduce me to new things! Thank you!

  2. Gwen Erskine on January 2, 2019 at 9:31 am

    Well… I’m addicted to pulling up the radishes-which get quite large, like daikon- to see the wonder of it all !!! The small ones I do leave in and they rot over the winter. I’d like to “think” they improve my soil, at least that’s what I keep telling my husband who would prefer a more manicured look for the front of our house. The flowers are white with a touch of purple or pink and the size of a thumb-nail, but prolific. The pods are beautiful and magical looking- kinda like small podded peas with pointed tips. They are edible and good pickled. I sometimes dry them- this year I spray-painted them gold to add to wreaths.

  3. Ellen | Ask Away Blog on January 8, 2019 at 7:25 am

    OMG i LOVE foxgloves!

  4. Perfect Plants on January 10, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    Every year I always do some by seed and some by baby plants I buy at the store. It has always worked for me… sometimes seedlings don’t make it for various reasons so it’s always nice to have a backup

  5. Jake Turner on February 10, 2019 at 12:58 am

    Impressive blog. I am excited I came across it. I am excited for more. Thanks!

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