I spent a lovely relaxing afternoon at the weekend sorting all the seeds that I have been collecting over the summer, I've gone a bit mad this year, but I figure they are a free resource so why not make the most of them. I always collect them on a dry day and store them in saved paper bags or old envelopes and actually I was quite good at labelling things this year only one mystery bag (I think they are poppy seeds).So I bought the paper bags down from the back bedroom where they have been drying and set to sorting them on my kitchen table. I either break them from pods, split them from their casing, lots of shaking and breaking up of dried material. When they are all on the paper, you blow gently to clear the seeds from all the other detritus. I then store them in small envelopes, in a cool dry place ready for sowing in the spring.
I find the variety in the different seeds amazing to look at. There are the fine, airy grass seeds, the seeds I'd collected from a Stipa gigantea plant growing at the allotments looked like little black grasshoppers! The sea creature-like seeds of Calendula, the bottle brush seeds of the cornflowers and the ball bearing seeds from sweet peas. Some are tiny, like those from the poppy and some are much bigger like those from Cerinthe major 'Purpurescens'.
The seed heads of the scabious looked so lovely I had to take a picture.
As a member of the RHS you can get to buy some seeds collected from the RHS gardens across the country and for the first time last year I did that. There were some unusual seeds, but the most successful was a variety of hardy annual pea (Lathyrus tingitanus) also known as the Tangier Pea. It was extremely vigorous and covered the wigwam very quickly in a year when my sweet peas were a bit slow. Unfortunately it is not scented but the flowers are a delicate pink and look great picked and amassed in a jar. I was picking them for weeks in the summer. I've collected loads of seed and will definitely grow it again next year.
Other seed collected include from herbs which I grow every year, like Bronze Fennel, Borage, Salad Burnet and Chives. Annuals which I also sow or let self sow each year like Nigella damascena, Ammi majus, Calendula, Sunflowers, Zinnia, cornflowers, cerinthe and poppies. Some plants that I've not collected seed from before like Datura, Nicotiana langsdorfii, Scabious, Catananche caerulea, Morning Glory, Thrift, Campanula persicifolia and Nicandra physaloides. We'll see how successful they are at germination in the spring. Oh the waiting....Here is the final collection and paper bags ready to start over again next year.