Monday, January 13, 2014

Gearing up for the 2014 ARHS Seed Exchange

It has been awhile since we have had a new Blog entry, so perhaps we can start 2014 with some information related to the upcoming ARHS Seed Exchange.
Preparing the Exchange information takes a part of winter's boredom away.
Some months ago I prepared a little over view into the activities associated with the Seed Exchange. The PDF version is available, called "Glimpses Into Your Seed Exchange".
The 2014 edition has been sent to ARHS members. Until February 10, 2014, the exchange is only open to members, but after that everyone may avail themselves. The online version is on our website. 
This little collage has some excerpts from a few seed lots. I have added many image links to the current list, but have not intended to have a link for every entry. We have to leave a little homework for the masses!

This list will ultimately get updated when certain seed lots become unavailable.
We have ended up with quite a sizable list this year with 178 entries. Magnolia fans should be happy with the sixteen different types.
We seem to have a bit of a bias for Magnolia seed and have been treating it quite carefully each year. All the seeds have been carefully cleaned and packed in moist moss to be stored in the fridge. This helps ensure that when the seed is planted in the spring that germination will be okay. Germination seems dependent upon many things, some of which we have no control over.
Some years there will be almost 100% germination, other times germination will be poor. Our only speculation is that some seed has been collected at a more judicious time wrt maturity.
We are hoping that lots of these get to good homes, so that Bill will not be tempted to plant all the leftovers and end up with MANY more little trees than we really need. This is one of the many seedlings grown last year, about July 4th

Last year we had close to one hundred little plants which needed to be dealt with at season's end. Bill heeled them into a spot below the garlic patch, so hopefully most will survive the winter

Magnolias are quite satisfying plants to grow and increase in size and vigor quickly. This is one which was in its second year.

Granted it does take some patience to wait the few years until a seedling magnolia flowers, but in the end seems worth it. This is a bloom from a plant grown from Magnolia "Spring Snow' OP. 

I can't recall how may years before it bloomed, but it is quite lovely and gets better each year.
Almost all the magnolias we have are seed grown. 'Butterflies' is the only exception.
There are still a few tasks to do to get all the seed lots ready for dispensing. The latest seems to be getting the data base complete so labels can be prepared. Every year we have new items which may require a bit of research for germination info. This example is typical. It has been a few years since Japanese Maple seeds were contributed. Just another example of a tree which is quite easy to grow from seed.

I fully expect the first seed orders to be in our mail in a few days. Some growers are very swift.