Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Fall ‘is the perfect time to start seeding’

Professional garden and landscape designer Dan Pearson has emphasised his belief that now is the perfect time to start seeding.

In an article for UK national newspaper the Guardian, he explained that being self-sufficient in this regard is one of the many thrills that can come from collecting seeds.

The expert underlined the fact that seeds can come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes – stating that he found a horse chestnut earlier this year with seeds that were larger than oranges.

However, on the same trip he was told that the bee orchids on a nearby hill were so small that they could disperse into a cloud that was actually invisible – relying on the wind to carry them to their new home.

Further examples of distinctive seeds the expert cited were varieties that can stick to animals – or even a person's clothing – in order to move out to new territories.

"Our plants are factories, storing up energy to put into their progeny and we are never more aware of their modus operandi than at this teetering point between seasons when the seeds have to find a home," Mr Pearson remarked.

He claimed that it is a wonderful feeling for green-fingered enthusiasts to be a part of nature's cycle, adding that he will be busy with tasks relating to this himself.

Indeed, the expert noted that some seeds have a long life and will last throughout the colder winter months without much difficulty, adding that others need to sown immediately.

However, there are some benefits to this, as Mr Pearson recently said that some plants flower late in the year – and this can ensure that gardens are kept colorful for longer periods of the year.

The angelica family and the buttercup family were cited as a great example of a plant that can tough it out in the ground – or even in a pot – in winter, provided that they are topped off with a protective layer of sharp grit to deter any slugs that might have designs on consuming them.

Mr Pearson added that: "The wild Helleborus viridis my neighbour has growing on her land [is another] fine example. Given some seeds from it last year, I sowed them as soon as I got home, filtering the poisonous shiny black seeds along the crease in the palm of my hand into a pot."

"Winter stratification is necessary for some seeds, which will simply go into a prolonged dormancy if they aren't exposed to the freeze [and] thaw," the expert continued.

Hellbores require this treatment, but if they are properly attended to, then they will be able to come up in March as soon as the weather starts to get warmer in the spring.

When it comes to growing, berries are unusual in that they need to be cleaned – but by immersing them in water for long enough, the fermentation process will be able to get underway.

The flesh should come away easily enough at this point – and the acids in the water will have emulated the process of going through the gut.