Second Seedling Surprise!

Three weeks later than planned, I have finally weeded and redressed the raised beds with Strulch, but only after lifting and potting-up 138 self-sown seedlings! I started labelling them to reference the location I found them, but soon realised this was futile as the parentage was indeterminate given that there were over 40 species and cultivars for the pollinators to visit in a relatively confined area, promoting their promiscuity and ability to cross with almost all and any of them.

However, according to ES Anderson, the botanist after whom the Andersoniana Group is named, this is how most of the hybrid selections were created, by open pollination in domestic gardens. There are rarely such a number of species and cultivars in close proximity so it is unlikely to happen in most domestic settings but, in my garden, the chances of nature producing a new hybrid are high, very high in fact. So, I will grow these 138 babies until they mature and flower, probably next year, and see if there is anything special to select and possibly introduce to the market after further trials.

Of course, there could be nothing new, nothing of any merit, nothing to reward me for the months of time spent, compost used, watering, feeding and molly-coddling. But then again, the next big thing could be in one of those pots!

These are just the self sown seedlings out of the Strulch mulched beds. The Strulch, I have found, doesn’t last the two years stated in the marketing hype, it is almost gone after a year. But it did a very good job of preventing most weed seeds from germinating, maintaining a moist soil beneath, deterring slugs and molluscs and providing an attractive dressing for the raised beds. So, £75 well spent in my opinion.

The next job is to locate and remove the self-sown seedlings in the pots, as these too are unlikely to be the same as the parent plant which produced the seed. If left in the pot, their roots will become tangled with the main plant and be difficult to remove. Best to get them out now as seedlings and maintain the integrity of the parent. In all likelihood, the parents will be the adjoining cultivars, but not necessarily. Better to separate them now, grow them on and see if there is a worthy new hybrid next year.