Class: Native Plant Propagation
I’ve been burned countless times after discovering cute new unfamiliar sprouts in our yard. At first, I would get hopeful that some lovely native wildflower had made its way to our land through the sheer force of nature. But these sprouts were never lovely wildflowers.
Once again I turned to Lifelong Learning to help me learn to distinguish native plants and to play mother nature. This time, our instructor Matthew and the Native Plant Propagation class provided the tools: carefully sourced seeds from known native flowers and plants that we would “attack” and plant ourselves.
Locally gathered native seeds don’t have the same easy germination rates as those in packages from the garden store. That can be disappointing but also part of the surprise. To germinate, seeds need a particular combination of environment, moisture, temperature, oxygen, and light. If it’s not happening out in the wild, then the process needs to be replicated by the gardener.
Most of our seeds had been through a simulated or real freezing winter season. A few of those, such as Blanket Flower (Galardia aristata) and Red Mexican Hat (Ratibia columnaris) were ready to be planted without any pre-treatment. Others, like Tail-cup Lupine (Lupinus caudatus) needed seed-coat scarification. That’s where we had to attack our seeds. We also planted some Baby Bee Balm and Wild Fire Chalice by using cuttings.
My seeds have required a lot of time to get going, although I have to confess that I haven’t really done anything to help them along.
BUT LOOK! I have sprouts! And they are clearly marked so I don’t mistake them for weeds. The lupine and penstemon are particularly happy to be growing. If I have success with these, I’m happy to pay it forward with seed harvesting of these identified native plants. Leave a message if you want me to save you some.