Friday, November 23, 2012

A Disquieting Metamorphosis

November is the stormiest and wettest month in Seattle.  This November has been no exception...we've already surpassed our average of 5 1/2 inches of rain for the month and experienced a few good doses of wind - hurricane-force in some areas.  Although it is still mid-fall, November can easily bring lowland snow and prolonged subfreezing temps.  But luckily there's been none of that so far!

As warm, dry, and sunny gives way to cold, wet, and cloudy, there is still much to look forward to in the garden...collecting and germinating seeds, testing winter propagation techniques, winter bloomers, frost-sweetened brassicas, and a chance to stand back and re-imagine different areas of the garden.

The Cardiocrinum giganteum (Giant Himalayan lily) I planted a few years ago went to seed and I am going to try my best to raise a cardiocrinum family.

Cardiocrinum giganteum seed pods
Here is what it looked like when it was in bloom:

Cardiocrinum giganteum flowering
Each seed pod contained hundreds of flat, paper-thin seeds.

Look at all those seeds!
To germinate the seeds, I took a plastic-mesh tray and lined it with some left over row crop cover to keep the bugs away and filled it with some potting mix.  Then I sprinkled some of the fresh seeds right on top.

I read that it takes a while for Cardiocrinum seeds to germinate, so it is a good idea to cover the seeds with gravel in order to prevent a film of green slime from growing over the top. 

 Here is the end result: 

It's going to stay outside all winter and will probably be forgotten until sometime in the springtime...


  1. I visited a garden a few years ago that had over a dozen Cardiocrinum giganteum scattered around their (VERY LARGE) garden...they were all blooming at the time and not only were they beautiful...the scent was seemed to waft through the entire garden. Am I a horrible person...I really want snow this winter :-D

    1. Snow is OK, but an arctic frost or ice storm is EVIL!

  2. Germination can be erratic and slow, but give it time. It requires these cold and warm cycles to get them to grow, but yeah, pretty much forget about them and eventually, you'll have a few thin blades that look like grass. Then small bulbs begin to form and it's just a matter of getting them large enough to bloom once again.