Jan 27, 2013

The Non-electric Non-kool-aid Gibberellic Acid Test of 2012

Last spring I used gibberelic acid, hereafter referred to as GA-3, as an aid to seed germination, for the first time. Though my notes were a far cry from what I had originally intended I did manage to jot down a few observations and have subsequently taken an oath on a very tall stack of Horticultural books to do a better job of record keeping this year.

In 2013, all information I can think of pertaining to each pot/pan of seed sown is being carefully entered into the 'Big" book of 'Seeds and Seedlings'. In addition, I have created a numbered file card for each initial planting. Sub cards, using one or more suffixes for each viable seedling propagated, are made when individual seedlings are 'pricked out' into their own containers or are otherwise modified. But already, with only a dozen or so packets of seed planted I find errors in my record keeping. In a few weeks I will begin planting dozens, if not hundreds, of different seeds representing dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of different species and I only hope I can manage to keep all data current.

As to the results of my GA-3 experiments from last year, I had varying results. Solution strength was 500ppm and seed was generally soaked for 18 - 24 hours. Control portions were soaked in distilled water for the same length of time. Germination medium, heat and light etc. were as identical for each pot of seeds of the same type as I could manage.

Seeds which seemed to exhibit a positive response to GA-3 were:

Aquilegia caerulea v. Ochroleuca (Columbine)
Campanula rotundifolia
Edrianthus serpyllifolius v. major
Lobelia cardinalis
Meconopsis cambrica (Welsh Poppy)

Seeds which seemed unaffected by GA-3 were:

Morina longifolia
Petunia, Blue Daddy
Primula florindae
Salvia splendens
Gomphrena globosa

Seeds which seemed to be adversely affected by GA-3 were:

Layia elegans (these germinated in a few days with or without GA-3)
Lobelia siphilitica
Gomphrena globosa
Salvia splendens

And this year, if I can remember, or steal the time, there may be pictures for comparison. If only Whinkla was here.

Jan 20, 2013

Art, by Accident, or Design

During the darkness of evening all the smaller maples (palmatum, circinatum etc.) burst into bloom; the bare twigs covered with exquisite gypsum-white, translucent flowers. I think I have identified the flowers as Aqua nebulas ssp. unum diem durantia var. delicata. With temperatures remaining in the mid twenties they survived until mid-morning, shedding petals one at a time until only the boney branches remained. But most of the truly glorious moments we experience are as fleeting as ghosts, and need to be enjoyed at every opportunity.

I had a very pleasant surprise yesterday, one that will be difficult to surpass. I received in the mail 240 back issues of the American Primrose Society journal. They date from 1945 to 2008. What an unparalleled delight. Now I find myself (almost) wishing the ice and snow will persist well into March or April. However, seeds have begun to arrive. Seeds from seed exchanges, little known catalogues in various parts of the world, and the occasional on-line source. I am anxious to begin planting. Well, I have begun, by stratifying some of those that require such treatment, planting others in pots and plunging them into deep snowbanks, some have been folded in damp paper towels and tucked into plastic bags and kept warm, but the majority are being kept dry and dark at 40 degrees F. or so. My fingers itch and I watch the calendar. Last year I had great success with Rhododendron, Iris, Lily, Primrose, Campanula, Meconopsis (alas not betonicfolia or Grandis) and a host of others. Cold frames and beds bulging with hundreds of Rhody's etc. etc. and it will be interesting to see how many survive the winter. It's not so much the cold, the beds and frames are semi-covered once the snow falls, but rodents are still active beneath the undulating white shawl possibly gnawing at roots, or making a salad of the vascular cambium of others. Then again, what am I going to do with several hundred Rhododendrons of unproven worth?

For those who keep track of such things I might add I haven't seen 'hide nor hair' of Whinkla for several months. I'm sure he's OK, just 'holed-up' somewhere warm trying to prove the Lindemann-Weierstrass theorem wrong by squaring the circle, or something like that I suppose.

Meanwhile, back to the journals.