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Before and After, Flowers, Plants, Seedlings

Divisions and Seed Starting

Oh, I think one of my absolute favorite parts of gardening is dividing my plants. That time in their development when they’re finally big enough to fill the space I put them in originally and look lovely… but awkward as well because they suddenly seem to stand all alone or in a strange arrangement compared to how I thought they would look. Take my two little island plantings, originally they were arranged like this:


Now the Ladybird poppies were gorgeous but as an annual inevitably does, it died away. That left me with two rather sad looking planting beds on either side of the pathway. But it’s fall and I’ve had quite a few plants for nearly a year now so a couple weeks ago I became possessed and divided half a dozen plants in one evening.

Now I’m in love with the arrangements on our little island again, even if they still need some growing in. The right side now looks like this:


The plant colors and texture mesh much better now. In the bottom left, there’s a large clump of lambs ears that I took out of the clump I started from seed last year (it does look like new leaves will have to grow in before it’s beautiful again but there are clearly new ones growing). Then in the middle is an Agastache ‘Purple Pygmy’ and the Aristea inequalis I had on the other side of the island earlier. Their blue and purple flowers will blend beautifully next year I think. Then, in the slightly bare space below them, is a hunk of the pink dianthus I bought a year and a half ago from Annies (they don’t carry it anymore and I’ve forgotten the name!) and some reseeded Nemophilia ‘Baby Five Spot’. Also for added texture the one clump of blue fescue that I had before is now two much prettier clumps and I also have a short bronze grass I never got the name of. Lastly, you can barely see the newly two clumps of Sisyrinchium hybrid ‘Devon Skies’ at the top corner. I’ll take another division of those and fill the very corner as well eventually.

Then on the other side:


As the plants aren’t in bloom at the moment, one has to imagine the effect but large and in the middle is a Cleveland Sage and around it I have put another division of Blue Fescue and lambs ears. Then, in the same place it has been all year, now hidden by the sage, is my Foothill Penstemon, one of my favorite california natives. Here’s a picture I took of it earlier:


But shortly before my division spree, I cut all the spent flower stalks off this one Penstemon and collected the seed. It was an amazing amount of seed! I thought after cutting the stalks that I would just lay them down on the porch and go back to the garden for a while but when I put them down a spray of seeds went flying out of them (apparently I was just in time to collect the seeds). So I swept what I could of those seeds into my hand and put the stalks in a large mixing bowl and by the time I was done, I had covered the bottom of the bowl completely with seeds, probably a thousand, maybe even two thousand seeds. And those from maybe four or five stalks. (by the by, the seedpods for Foothill Penstemon smell very much like dung)

Shortly after collecting them, I planted some into four small pots and put them out next to the lawn and in a couple weeks had this:


The two in the top row on the right, I had thought were Mask Flower seedlings but I was so happy to find out that they were baby Agastache Coronado. I knew when I finally touched them last week and smelled the strong mint scent. So last weekend I carefully split up these six pots into two full flats of baby plants.



With the Agastache, I was very happy to find, I had enough plants to fill 16 pots and even put two to a pot for a few of them. Then, even though I only had four pots, I split the Penstemon into 14 larger pots with a bunch of little plants in each one. God, I’m going to have more groundcover than I will know what to do with.

As if those aren’t enough seeds to be going on with, before splitting those, I planted a bunch of other seeds in this flat:


If you wanted to look at the plasticware I’ve written on with a permanent marker to make cheap plant tags (I quite like the look hehe), you would see I have: Dianthus (from before), Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’, Ladybird Poppies, Blue Flax, Lambs Ears, Catnip, Broccoli and two types of Lettuce. Other than the vegetables and Catnip, everything is from my own garden collected seeds. And I can confirm since about last week, every pot has some germinated seeds! So happy! Especially for the poppies because I wasn’t even sure if the powder that was in my seed bag with the seed heads was actually seed or dust.

Since last week, I’ve taken all my flats of seeds and added them to the top of the garden in my vegetable area.


As I don’t have anymore Sluggo and the weedy bulbs of onion and oxalis are coming out in droves, I put my flats on top of a weed suppressing blanket of cardboard.

Next time, I’ll hopefully be able to say the other two and half flats I have up there have also germinated.

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