Thursday, November 09, 2006

Seed Stratification: Cowslips and Bluebells

"Stratification is a technique designed to mimic nature by exposing seeds to the cold of at least one winter. You can stratify your seeds by mixing one part peat free compost, one part bark chips, sand or grit, and one part seeds in a pot, bucket or dustbin, then cover with mesh and place outside. Check the seeds regularly in spring to see if any have germinated and need potting on - some seeds can need two winters!" BBC Gardeners World website

Alternatively, if you have neither the time, the inclination nor the volume, sling a few seeds into the coldest part of the fridge and leave for 3-4 weeks.

Actually there is a bit more to it than that. Talk to your head gardener over a fag (hers) and cup of tea (yours). Listen to what she says. She knows more about this than Monty Don. Empty a packet of seeds you bought from a world famous organic garden (this season) into a small-size plastic sandwich bag from Sainsbury's, containing a small handful of perlite. Add a teaspoonful of water and jiggle about to dampen. Place in bottom of fridge for 3-4 weeks, then plant out as per instructions on back of seed packet. Pictures to follow. Here's the laundry list;

Bluebell (Endymion non-scriptus) Bell Bottle; Suffolk Herbs wild flower seeds,

Cowslip (Primula veris); John Chambers wild flower collection.