I have never been much of a hand at growing plants from seed. But starting last winter and continuing through recent weeks, I've tried again; and this time I have some promising plants to show for it. If you read this blog regularly, you have seen Helipterum roseum several times so I won't go on about it just now except to say it has been a very successful project. Annual Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) was started back in December (I think) and grown outdoors through the mild winter. More was sprouted indoors later. Some of the young plants are in the garden now and filling in lushly. The first set to be planted out took a good deal of shading and watering, while the second batch settled in more easily. I attribute this variously to the weather at the time (we had some fairly warm, sunny days for awhile) or possibly the fact that the second batch were still very small. Both sets are doing well now. I am waiting for buds...
Other seedlings include some tomatoes (growing well and beginning to bloom in their pots) as well as peppers and bronze fennel, both of which succumbed to two missed waterings and some rowdy sparrows! I have started a new batch from the seeds I had left but am not sure whether they will grow fast enough to beat the hot weather.
As well as seeds, there are the autumn-planted bulbs. Results are mixed. Iris reticulata "Harmony" has been the great disappointment, sending up one perfect flower and refusing to give any more. One more bud has appeared and withered, though there are a number of leaves above ground now. I have conflicting information on whether I. reticulata requires a cold period; but undoubtedly it might object to blooming during 80 degree heat, so perhaps I had better look elsewhere for bright blue in the desert garden. Dutch Iris "Blue Magic" appears to be much more easy-going about the temperatures, with one flower open and others on the way.
Right in with I. reticulata, I planted Narcissus canaliculatus. Now this is supposed to be a good choice for a hot, dry summer and, being a species tazetta, should not require a cold period for blooming. But so far I only have some leaves up; they are taking forever to do more. I have not given up yet though!
A somewhat similar situation exists with Iris bukharica: one green nose... This is supposed to be a late-bloomer, however, so we shall see.
On the other hand, Ornithogalum arabicum is thriving, almost in bloom, with clusters of buds inside curiously curled sepals.
My summer bulbs are expected in the mail any day now, so they will help to fill out the bulb presence in the garden.
In the meantime, having managed to grow on some promising young plants from seed, it's tempting to collect what the garden offers, isn't it? Obviously, I haven't been deadheading the violas too carefully!