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Author Topic: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere  (Read 6910 times)

Anthony Darby

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #30 on: July 23, 2014, 12:15:27 AM »
Lovely crocus Lesley. I have hopes for my Crocus vallicola you sent, the seedlings of which seem to be doing well. I have Narcissus "Polly's Pearl" just coming into bloom.
Anthony Darby, Auckland, New Zealand.
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Lesley Cox

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #31 on: July 23, 2014, 12:17:17 AM »
Lori, Marcus, my seedling is one of a quite large batch which I grew as C. cvijicii. I had just a single corm for 3 or 4 years (may have had it from Potterton's (and Martin) though I'm not sure now.) It never set seed in its trough but then, unthinking of any result, planted veluchensis in the same trough and following the next flowering cvijicii set seed. It didn't occur to me they wouldn't be true, I was thrilled to have some seed at last. But it has to be a hybrid between them and the others, about 30 altogether, are a little similar, some slightly this colour and some pale yellow while a few are almost entirely purple like veluchensis, so a good mix. I selected out the best (in my opinion) half dozen and planted each in a separate pot to increase true but they seem quite slow. Cvijicii, planted apart in a raised bed and increasing quite well, never set seed while isolated. (IUt's potted again now, for the 2013 move.) I have a dozen corms now but all of the same clone of course though I have been able to get a few seedlings from Pilous seed more recently so I hope my original will enjoy a fulfilling relationship with those in due course. :)
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Lesley Cox

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #32 on: July 23, 2014, 12:21:29 AM »
Lovely crocus Lesley. I have hopes for my Crocus vallicola you sent, the seedlings of which seem to be doing well. I have Narcissus "Polly's Pearl" just coming into bloom.

 Beat you there Anthony. Mine has been out for 3 weeks. It was from Bill in Tauranga as yours may have been too. It's very nice at this time of year. I recently learned of a man near Palmerston North who is doing well with onco irises. Don't know his name yet. I'm having to prize information out slowly from my local Iris Group convenor. But I believe he is in touch with Bill. I'm looking to buy some onco seed from the north when next available to see if my new found "cup of tea" method of germination works for them, as well as for just about every other iris. Trying it on Crocus, Erythronium and a few other hard bulb seeds too.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Hillview croconut

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #33 on: July 23, 2014, 12:27:08 AM »
Hi Lesley,

I have obviously missed something here ... what's the "Cup of Tea" method? :-\

Cheers, Marcus

Anthony Darby

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #34 on: July 23, 2014, 12:58:44 AM »
Beat you there Anthony. Mine has been out for 3 weeks.
Mine are just seedlings Marcus. I got them from Lesley in October 2012, so this is their second coming. I didn't think they would like Auckland, but we'll just have to see. Must visit Bill again to see if he still has it.
Anthony Darby, Auckland, New Zealand.
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Hillview croconut

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #35 on: July 23, 2014, 01:57:09 AM »
Hi Anthony,

Are we talking about Crocus vallicola or oncos? I think my comment may have been misconstrued. I was interested in Leslie's "Cup of Tea" method. Are you growing any oncos yet?

Cheers, Marcus

Anthony Darby

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #36 on: July 23, 2014, 02:13:11 AM »
Hi Marcus
In the quote you must have been referring to "Polly's Pearl", which did indeed come from Bill. Got my wires crossed again.  ::) We have had some cold weather for the past fortnight, including several grounds frosts. No, I don't have any oncos yet. Several of the pots of seeds from the lovely batch you sent are now miniature seas of "grass", which is very rewarding.  8)
Anthony Darby, Auckland, New Zealand.
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Lesley Cox

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #37 on: July 23, 2014, 09:34:22 AM »
The "cup of tea" method for germinating seeds is one devised by I don't know who but has been used extensively over a number of years by Laurol, the Convenor of Otago Iris Group of NZIS. She had it from one Jack Scott, a well known nurseryman in Dunedin for many years, specializing in alpines and small bulbs and who introduced many lovely alpine plants to NZ, from older, famous UK nurseries such as Will Ingwersen's, Broadwell Alpines, Reginald Kaye and others. Almost all or maybe all the Porophyllum saxifragas in NZ were originally from Jack's importations. A trip to Dunedin, for me, always included a very expensive visit to Jack's nursery.

A couple of weeks ago Laurol and I were having a cup of coffee in town and talking about our respective seed sowings. She asked me had I known Jack. "Oh yes," I said. "A grumpy old b.....d." He was my uncle" she replied. Just as well we're good friends and anyway she couldn't argue about Jack's general disposition. He was a good grower and propagator though.

I was outraged that in all his time on earth, so far as I knew, Jack never let out the secret of his tea method to anyone except to Laurol, when she was about 10 years old. Here it is. It works. It really does.

For iris seeds which take a long time to germinate, including old or ultra dried-out seed, or many known to be precocious or difficult to germinate, place the seed in a small fabric pouch, sown along 3 sides. Add a label with whatever information is required. When you have a handful or however many you wish to sow in a single session, Place the little pouches upright in a small basin or margarine pot and pour onto them, a full strength cup of regular tea, well cooled. Let the seed soak for 24 hours then drain and add a fresh, cooled cup of tea. Do this twice more so that the seeds have a soaking from 4 cups of fresh tea, each soaking for 24 hours. Then drain the pouches (I place them on a wrung out dish cloth which absorbs the majority of the remaining tea and makes it easy to extract the seeds from the pouches), and then sow the seeds in regular seed pots or however you normally would, covering lightly with whatever medium you would normally use for this, such as a thin layer of seed mix, grit or whatever. Place the pots in a cool, secure place and water thoroughly, then as required.

OK, so what's different except for this extra amount of work? Laurol finds, and so am I now too, that seed which may take 2-6 months to germinate or even a year or more, is starting to germinate in a fortnight. The process if often completed - say 50 seedlings from 50 seeds - within 3 weeks. At the very least, it can knock a whole season off the time a species may take from germination to blooming. This has been particularly important for our local group this year as we've had a lot of seed given us to grow on as fund-raising plants for next year's national Convention. Seed has been sent of brand new cultivars raised in USA for us to raise and flower here, for our Convention goers. It's great for local breeders too who are no longer able to import new plants but we can still import seed as Iris germanica. And I must give a word of great appreciation here to the many USA breeders such as Schreiner, Aitken, Keppel, Ghio, Black and others who for years have supported NZ growers and the Iris Soc in general, by supplying their material; plants at very low costs and now seeds, freely gifted in most cases, knowing as they do, the difficulties we have with obtaining new material.

So, the method works a treat for bearded species and cultivars in general cultivation and I am particularly interested in trying those other recalcitrant beardeds, the oncos and regelias. But we know it also works for any species so far tried. We haven't tried junos or reticulatas yet due to a lack of seed material. I'd really like to get some of Alan McMurtrie's seed as a trial. It works with sibiricas, spurias, ensatas, unguiculares, PCs and so on. As a trial, some of our members sowed some of all of these from the NZIS list sent out in May, the seed in June. From the same packets Laurol and I did the tea thing and already have strong seedlings up to 10cms (bearded cultivars) or 4 cms (species) while the other members have no germination at all yet. Seed Laurol sowed in April has already produced seedlings of 30cms so far.

The problems start though when 500 assorted seeds are suddenly 500 assorted plants all needing potting on or planting out in a hurry. It's really hard to keep up with the demands of the process but given the people to do it and the material to work with as well as the space to store them, it can be hugely successful.

I'll also be sowing tomorrow, batches of some other hard seed species such as crocuses, erythroniums, Tecophilaea and other odds and ends, to see if it works for those too. I'm not bothering with dwarf Narcissus as they germinate quite quickly if sown fresh anyway. But I wonder about unfresh seed of, e.g. Ranunculaceae such as Helleborus, Adonis, R. calandrinioides and so on but especially including Trillium. If THAT works, what a bonus that would be! There is much experimenting yet to be done, and most of all, notes to be kept, never my strong point.


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« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 10:28:56 AM by Maggi Young »
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #38 on: July 23, 2014, 10:09:19 AM »
That is really interesting Lesley! I wonder if the active principle might be the plant hormones gibberellins which can be so instrumental in stimulating germination of tricky seed like gentians, cacti and other plants? My scientific studies were on gibberellins and involved extracting them from young growing leaves (and following their metabolism) and so tea leaves are potentially an ideal source of the hormone, and much easier to use than the complexity of pure GA itself (which also leads to etiolation of seedlings and is extremely potent). This is definitely a technique to play with! What a great place this Forum is! :)


EDIT: This post and others relating to this discussion  have been copied to a new thread :

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« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 10:29:16 AM by Maggi Young »
Dr. Timothy John Ingram. Nurseryman & gardener with strong interest in plants of Mediterranean-type climates and dryland alpines. Garden in Kent, UK. www.coptonash.plus.com

arillady

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2014, 11:14:50 AM »
I will definitely use this method when i sow seed next.
Pat Toolan,
Keyneton,
South Australia

fleurbleue

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #40 on: July 23, 2014, 01:16:06 PM »
Thank you so much Lesley to share your interesting experiments with us  ;)
Nicole, Sud Est France  altitude 230 m Zone 8

David Nicholson

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2014, 06:24:33 PM »
Maggi,

I wondered if it might be possible please for Lesley's post above to be cross posted on the Growing from Seed thread perhaps with a sticky?
David Nicholson
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Maggi Young

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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2014, 06:54:39 PM »
Maggi,

I wondered if it might be possible please for Lesley's post above to be cross posted on the Growing from Seed thread perhaps with a sticky?


I've done that - don't say I'm not good to you....... ;D

http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=12088.0 Please continue this discussion on that thread
« Last Edit: July 27, 2014, 10:26:18 AM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2014, 07:18:13 PM »
Ta lots :-*
David Nicholson
in Devon, UK  Zone 9b
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Re: July 2014 in the Southern Hemisphere
« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2014, 08:32:38 PM »
thank you Maggi, too    ;)
Nicole, Sud Est France  altitude 230 m Zone 8

 

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