Phavorite – Coleus/Raspberry Swizzle


I am a believer in pinching the tips of my coleus to facilitate a bushier plant. Yet, about mid-August I stop my constant nipping of the leaves. Why, you may ask. The reason is at this point I let my plants begin to bloom. Although coleus blooms are not very attractive, I covet the new crop of seeds they will leave behind. I’ve named the coleus above Raspberry Swizzle. I’ve grown it for years, first from a seed collected from my plants, and afterwards from cuttings I take every winter from the plants I’ve saved. Allowing my coleus cross-pollinate for years has resulted in some interesting plants. Tomorrow I’ll post a selection of my favorites of this year.

Plant and Planting – Primroses

sprouts and primrose 006

Each time I gaze upon this lovely primrose, peaking right now with three stalks of bloom, something in my heart goes “Zing!” Perhaps it is the soft pink of the petals, or the glowing of the green leaves within the rays of the sun. I’m so smitten by the primrose I have decided I must attempt to grow a few from seed to blooming size.


I’ve been having good luck with seeds purchased from a company called Swallowtail Garden seeds. Without fail, all of the seeds I have purchased from this source have quickly sprouted and are growing now beneath lights.

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Here is a link to Swallowtail Garden Seeds. I live on the other side of the country, and the seeds reached me very quickly. I was able to keep track of their progress because of the great communication and tracking number they sent me. The seeds were well-packed in a bubble envelope. I recommend this company for quality and amazing selection of seeds.

Click below to visit Swallowtail Website:

Swallowtail Garden Seeds

Projects – Saving Seeds

Vinca Seedpod and Seeds

I have seedpods and seeds strewn all over my house. It’s time to get serious about letting a few plants go to seed so that I will not have to buy the same seed packets again next year.

I’ve even collected a few wildflower pods. Milkweed attracts monarch butterflies so I collected a pod from a roadside plant.

I let my collected seeds dry out for several days, either on the windowsill, or inside a glass.

I then enclose the seeds in aluminum foil and store this packet inside a recycled tea bag wrapper.

Finally, I file these seed packets, and any leftover seeds from spring, inside a recycled plastic container. In the picture below I’ve used a baby wipes container. These are kept in my refrigerator until I begin to plant once again.


Planting – Winter Sowing Seeds

Winter Sowing is the process of planting hardy and half-hardy seeds in clear or transluscent containers (milk cartons, 2 liter soda bottles, juice containers.) The containers are then sealed with duct tape and placed outdoors in the winter weather. This method of sowing seeds has been attributed to Trudi Davidoff.

The above photograph is a record of my first attempts at this process. Over the next week or two I hope to Winter Sow more of my perennial seeds, and later in the season some of my vegetables, annuals and herbs.

A good source of information and discussion about Winter Sowing can be found on the Gardenweb Winter Sowing Forum.

I’ll update my success with this method as the season progresses.

Planting – Coleus Part II

The coleus seed plantings are emerging. At this point I am very glad I took the time to space them out rather than mass sowing. If one seedling develops any sign of damp-off or unexplained wilting I will be able to remove it before it contaminates its sister sprouts. The coleus seeds will continue to sprout for a few more weeks, maybe even another month. They now begin what I call “The Pouting Period.” The new plantlets seem to stand still. There is little growth and they usually take a few weeks to begin to leaf out. I am going to try and hasten the leafing out this year by applying bottom heat, but that is a whole other post.

Close-up view of a newly emerged sprout still holding onto it’s parent seed. The coleus plants below are two of last year’s crop. I really liked these coleus and actually named them and kept them going through the winter months by rooting cuttings taken in the Autumn. Some of the newly sprouted coleus could be their offspring.

Lemon-Lime Swizzle Stick

  Pink Lemonade with a Twist