Thursday, May 16, 2013

More Garden Geekery

Did something today I haven't done in a long time. I cut flowers for my table.

Also, I was very bad and bought a tree peony, Golden Experience. They say I can hybridize using the pollen from this plant. I'm not sure if the other peonies I have are able to do this, but hey, it's worth a try, right? I have two other tree peonies that I'd love love love to cross with this beautiful plant. And who knows? I might help create an incredible new peony. That would really be something. Of course I won't find out what the offspring will look like for ten years or more after planting the seeds ....

Which makes me want to play with roses, which have a similar seed-to-flower span.

Yes, it's a long time for payoff. But people who do this sort of stuff don't think like that. They don't think about payoff so much as love. I didn't raise my children for a payoff. There's no time at which point I'll feel like I've gotten something in return for my time and effort.

I can plant a seed, and help it grow. I can appreciate what it becomes. The pollen, seeds, plants--they do the actual work. I provide a nurturing environment and occasional guidance. That's it.

So, maybe if I remember, this year it'll be roses. Next year, peonies. It'll be a whole new adventure.

If you would like to give it a go, do some reading first to save yourself some trouble. First of all, not all blossoms have viable pollen and seed production capacity. Second, to control pollination, bag the blossoms before they open (careful to make sure there aren't any bugs first) and then mingle the pollens after the stamens after the flower has opened into full bloom. To prevent fungal issues do this only in dry weather and use paper bags. To figure out when the buds have opened into full bloom, mark buds on the same bush that are at the same stage as the ones you're using. Mark on the bag who the daddy is. And keep records someplace easy to find--on your computer is okay, but it's actually better to have a easy-to-find gardening book that you make entries into on a regular basis.

Of all the gardening things I do, it sounds easy-peasy compared to digging out new beds or weeding!

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