Rock Gardens forum: 2016 seed starting for Rock Garden

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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Jan 26, 2016 9:35 AM CST
Seeds came from the NARGS Seed Swap so I am busy sowing them.
Did the warm germinators yesterday, and going to do some jugs for those which are winter sowers. Also some need soaking etc.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Jan 26, 2016 10:03 AM CST
I'm collecting quite a few seeds for my sorta rock garden. The big one I'm hoping to get to grow this year is Pulsatilla. No luck last year. I'm going to try vermiculite sowing this year. But I'll wait until March for that. I'm also going to try Gentiana. My plan is to winter sow that. I grew some Saxifraga last year. I got two tiny clumps to grow. Hopefully they will make it through winter. I'm going to try and grow some more. And if I can find some Lewesia seeds I'll try that one again. I had good luck winter sowing that last year.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Jan 26, 2016 6:00 PM CST
Pulsatilla-good germination needs almost fresh seeds---I think.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Jan 26, 2016 6:03 PM CST
They sent a few seeds of a Lewisia, so I will be trying to germinate that one.
And I am attempting Gentiana lutea----the tall yellow one.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Jan 26, 2016 6:04 PM CST
Pulsatilla species are extremely easy if you plant fresh seed as soon as it is ripe. You will likely have seedlings the same season that will grow large enough to naturally overwinter. Pulsatilla germination from dried seed is more difficult.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Jan 26, 2016 6:12 PM CST
I am eyeballing a bed on a slight slope, very small only about 6' x 4' but seems like it would lend itself to a rock garden. Full sun. I have been paying close attention to the inventory in the Alaska Botanical Garden rock garden. What grows there should grow for me. I also sent for some plants from the Tree Farm in Tennessee. They seem to carry a lot of plants that do well here like Black Cohosh, Astilbe, Carpatica, etc. I have had pulsatilla twice now. One lasted three years and was really getting bigger then a few springs ago it simply died. No luck getting one to grow again. Will try in the new rock garden when I get the soil amended and rocks etc set out. I am thinking of just scraping the top 6" or so off, mixing up soil in the proper proportions and materials then replacing it.

I also got some meconopsis seeds and will try again to grow some new ones from seed. I have a couple of blue ones Lingholm and the other Betinicofolia (spelling) but wanted the purple and yellow also. The little Welsh poppies are also related and are so pretty. Seeds are in damp paper towels in baggies in the fridge for four weeks. Then pressed into damp soil in WS type containers. They can take up to 3 months to germinate.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Jan 26, 2016 6:18 PM CST
Meconopsis germinate in about 3 weeks indoors in peaty soil at about 60ºF.
I am doing a few of the Lingholm and a few Betoncifolia.
I had plants last summer, and am hoping some will bloom this year.

Meconopsis is another which is easier to germinate if seeds are fresh.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Jan 26, 2016 7:26 PM CST
Wish I could do blue poppies Thumbs up

I managed to get a grand total of three Pulsatilla seeds to germinate...and then they died Sad

What all else did you get Caroline?
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Jan 27, 2016 9:03 AM CST
There are 35 items---some only have a few seeds.

Anacyclus pyrethrum-also called Anacylus depressus-the Mount Atlas Daisy.
Reverse of petals are red.

Antirrhinum species which has cream flowers and creeping habit and forms a silver mat

Asperula orientalis ( Blue Woodruff) shade plant

Boykinia aconitifolia ( Allegheny Brookfoam) red eyed white flowers, moist shade plant

Bukiniczia cabulica Biennial with interesting foliage

to name a few
[Last edited by CarolineScott - Jan 27, 2016 9:07 AM (+)]
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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Jan 27, 2016 9:06 AM CST
I think that you should be able to do blue poppies in zone 5b.
I would recommend buying a plant first,
and then saving the seeds so that you know that you have fresh seeds.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Jan 27, 2016 9:11 AM CST
Mary Stella, I suppose it depends on the porosity of the native soil, but 6 inches really isn't deep enough for alpine plants.
This Phemeranthus calycinus is 2.5 months old.
The Erigeron compositus Mount Adams Dwarf is only 2 months old!
Thumb of 2016-01-27/Leftwood/cb33fa Thumb of 2016-01-27/Leftwood/bb05e5
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Oberon46
Jan 27, 2016 9:43 AM CST
Ookkaaayyyy! Rethink the depth thing. Sheesh. I have a rim of Shooting Star around the bottom of the slope that I didn't want to move, and some Anemone Sylvestris in the middle with fringed bleeding heart at one end. I guess I could dig them up and pot them while I redo the dirt. Ugh. Seems like I am constantly doing a major rebuild on beds.

I have about 30#'s of preen to spread early in spring, maybe even on top of the last of the snow. The chickweed is terrible and I just cannot keep ahead of it. I even spread grass clippings (not very deep) to try to inhibit it. Ha! It just came up through.

I will take a look at the inventory of rock garden plants I have from ABG and then remember who did well. Gentiana is really healthy here - or some form of that plant - beautiful vibrant blue flowers. And of course creeping phlox. Bear in mind that the bed is in full sun always but our sun is quite a bit cooler than yours. We don't pay much attention to "plant in shade" instructions here. Hosta, ligularia and such thrive in our sun.

Thanks for the input on the germination of the poppies. I do hope they don't take three months. I cannot have the seeds/soil in the house as it is too warm (69F) and while the garage would be good, no light. If I light up one of my rolling shelves would 55F be okay to germinate. I could turn up the heat from the stack robber a few degrees to make it around 60F if it would help.
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
[Last edited by Oberon46 - Jan 27, 2016 9:45 AM (+)]
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Image
Leftwood
Jan 27, 2016 3:25 PM CST
The three that you mention don't require the excellent drainage that mountain alpines do. You could work around them and not dig them up.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Jan 27, 2016 7:26 PM CST
I mentioned digging up my peony Border Charm and planting a piece in the tufa wall at ABG's rock garden but it got vetoed there. they said they wanted to keep the rock garden for rock garden plants. Aren't there some peonies that are rock gardenish. Border Charm has a lovely draping form. Mine needs to be higher up as it drapes over the saide of the 12" raised bed and the flowers sort of sit on the grass by summer's end.


"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Image
Leftwood
Jan 27, 2016 8:17 PM CST
We do have one peony in our Minnesota arboretum rock garden: 'Thumbellina'. Even this one gets too large to be in scale, and it is smaller than any intersectional peony hybrid, including Border Charm. I have to agree with the ABG; peonies just don't belong in rock gardens. I hope ours will come out as soon.
Name: Mary Stella
Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b)
Peonies Ponds Dahlias Canning and food preservation Lilies Permaculture
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
Oberon46
Jan 27, 2016 8:32 PM CST
Okay. I will accept your opinion. I am no authority and I guess a peony isn't the first thing I think of when I think of rock gardens. Hilarious!
"What a person needs in gardening is a cast iron back with a hinge in it" Charles Dudley Warner (spelling edited by Dinu lol)
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Jan 28, 2016 12:44 PM CST
There are a few peony available that are "Rock Garden" Peonies.

http://www.songsparrow.com/catalog/plantlist.cfm?type=ROCK,&...
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Image
Leftwood
Jan 28, 2016 6:16 PM CST
It would depend on your definition of "rock garden." An arboretum's interpretation would be its truest sense, meaning alpine terrain and/or the harsh conditions that accompany it. They might even go as far as disallowing hybrids.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dirtdorphins
Jan 28, 2016 8:00 PM CST
Ah yes...well, fortunately my definition of my rock garden is whatever I want it to be Hilarious! as long as it includes rocks and plants that please me, it qualifies as my rock garden(s)

Personally, I wish the truest sense of a rock garden wasn't limited to and defined as "alpine", by anybody--perhaps because I am in the freaking desert? yeah maybe--but seriously, we have some dang hash conditions here and many spectacular rock gardens sans alpines, even at the arboretums. I don't see why there can't be a modifier, if the general term is going to have a definition or a truest sense that it must stick to--like alpine rock garden vs desert rock garden. It would make a lot more sense to me that way, rather than defining a rock garden as strictly alpine and also forcing a small scale.

Words matter. Who is the Académie française of rock gardens? How do I join?

Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
Image
Leftwood
Jan 29, 2016 9:05 PM CST
Leftwood said:An arboretum's interpretation would be its truest sense, meaning alpine terrain and/or the harsh conditions that accompany it[alpine terrain].

That could certainly include the deserts of Utah, and many other ecosystems, too. And for instance, there are a lot of quintessential high alpine plants in the European Alps that grow in low elevations in Scandinavia, and sometimes the same plants that grow on the Appalachian mountain tops also grow at sea level in Labrador. I'm not sure what the problem is here. Why can't there be a "truest sense of a word" and a "more all-encompassing sense" of the same word?

No one said that the truest sense of any word "must be stuck to" in every case. But regarding an arboretum's view, what would be the point of not teaching what alpine garden is, and lumping it with any garden with rocks? Is it not their responsibility to teach what is correct, rather than to bow to what the general population seems think is right?

Example: Most everyone thinks that acorns, pecans, peaunts and almonds are nuts. Should the opportunity arise, is it not an arboretum's duty to point out that acorns and pecans are actually nuts, but peanuts and almonds are actually seeds and not nuts? Should we change the definition of what a true nut is? Certainly not! Does that mean that we must launch a campaign to thwart every instance of true nut misnomers? Also, certainly not. The multiple meanings coexist, along with the knowledge that there is a difference.

Example: I go to a Knitting Class to learn how to knit. However, I then find that the teacher is actually teaching how to crochet. She explains that her definition of "knitting" includes crocheting, and I should shut up and sit down. Who is right? It is true that most people don't realize the difference between knitting and crocheting, but should that have an influence on the true meaning of "knitting"? Does that mean the teacher is right?

People are free to call any evergreen tree a pine tree (most do), but we know there is a difference between pines and spruces, and firs, and arborvitae, etc. Technically, these people are wrong, but it's an acceptable misnomer in most cases, and no one makes a fuss. But it would be wrong for an arboretum to embrace such unclarity.

It is my contention that any teaching institution, like an arboretum, has an obligation to imbue definitive instruction, and not ambiguous nomenclature. This could still include the many forms that rock gardening embraces in a larger sense, but the distinction between them would need to be explained.

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